Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Return of Sookie: Dead in the Family

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris (F HAR Main; CD F HAR Main)
Reviewed by Doris

Many of the books I read are parts of series. I take a lot of satisfaction in the familiar characters and their nuances. Over time they become like dear friends—I know all the crazy stuff about them, but I like them anyway. Some authors add layer upon layer to their lead character with each new book. Some authors never change their character, which means I get bored with them at a certain point. That’s never a problem with Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books. From Sookie’s first book Dead until Dark to this newest one, Dead in the Family, she has been undergoing changes almost faster than I can keep up. How can you get bored when dealing with lusty and gorgeous vampires, deadly fairies in a civil war, weres who have any number of issues dealing with the public, and a USA government not sure what to do with all these “others”? And, you thought our illegal immigration questions were hard to answer!

Sookie has been dealing with the “others” and their outrageous, dangerous situations in which she constantly finds herself for years. Of course Sookie is a telepath and has been dealing with the complications that causes since early childhood. Then, there’s her lover Eric, a centuries old vampire caught up in a power struggle with another vampire.Sookie who was horribly tortured and injured in Dead and Gone during the Fae War which caused her fairy great-grandfather to lock the portal between the fairy world and our world, has not healed physically or emotionally. Her favorite fairy cousin Claudine was pregnant and killed saving Sookie which tears at Sookie’s heart. Claude, Claudine’s twin, moves into Sookie’s house ostensibly because he is grief-stricken and cannot live by himself. There is great tension building in the supernatural communities as Congress puts forth a plan to require all “others” to be registered and tracked. Finally, just to top things off, someone is trying to implicate Sookie in a murder, and she is not sure who is friend or foe. Changes come fast and furiously almost to the point Sookie is overwhelmed. Most noticeable is the hardening Sookie feels in her soul when she decides the vampire challenging Eric needs to die. Static character, Sookie is not. Harris’ story-telling is always dynamic with her characters all bringing something tangible to the story. For that reason alone, I never miss a new Sookie Stackhouse book.

I don’t read other vampire books.The whole Twilight thingy just annoys me.I did not read Ann Rice’s vampire books. I really don’t like vampires much (except for Frank Langella’s "Dracula" and George Hamilton’s Dracula in “Love at First Bite” which tells you how old I am!). In fact I am not into the whole paranormal scene much at all except for Sookie Stackhouse.Even though lots of people have told me I have to watch True Blood which is based on the books, I don’t. Even though I am sure the series is very well done, I prefer the weight of the book in my hands and my own imagination to the glare of the television screen. Dead in the Family continues Harris’ fine story-telling and highly enjoyable cast of characters. “How long until the next one?” she asks in a whiny voice.

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