I've been a fan of Sookie Stackhouse since 2001, long before there was a "True Blood" on HBO. I read the first novel in the series, Dead Until Dark, and immediately fell in love. Since then, I've always pre-ordered the novels from Amazon whenever I found there would be a new one published.
I got my copy of Dead Ever After, the final Sookie Stackhouse novel...and I devoured it in one sitting. That's usual for me with this series. Charlaine Harris has given us a wry, small-town, southern look at vampires and other "supes" living among us.
She hooked me in the beginning with the love story of Sookie, a telepath, and Bill, a vampire turned at the end of the Civil War. The attraction for Sookie is that unlike every human mind around her, Bill's mind doesn't contribute to the cacophony of noise in her head. Of course the fact that he's dark, brooding, and an old-school southern gentleman (except when he bites) doesn't hurt, either.
Unfortunately, she meets Eric Northman, a 1,000 year-old viking vampire and Bill's superior in the hierarchy of the vampire world. He is tall, blond, rugged, and seductive (aren't they all!!!) Eventually, they are together, after she has a traumatic experience with Bill and Eric rats him out on his true motive for getting to know her.
Then there's Sam, her boss at Merlotte's, whom she learns is a shape-shifter, the first she's ever known. After that, we come to Alcide, a gorgeous werewolf (have you seen Joe Manganiello on "True Blood"? WOOF!!!) They are close for a while, but pack politics interfere.
After Alcide, she meets Quinn, a rugged burly guy, who happens to shift to a Bengal tiger, a big one...Family issues get between Sookie and Quinn. Calvin Norris, a local werepanther, and the leader of the werepanthers from the tiny town of Hotshot is interested in Sookie, but it goes nowhere.
Always in the background there is Bill, truly repentant and filled with love for her. Eric, however, is much more assertive than Bill and tricks her into a vampire style marriage. He probably loves her, too - at least as well as an old vampire can love anyone. But the vamps have an issue with always saying, "but what's in it for ME?!" That's what got Bill kicked to the curb in the first place.
Poor Sookie. What's a girl to do? Here she is with major guy problems and Fae relatives who are not all nice folks. NONE of them are little Tinkerbelles. These are the Celtic brand of Fae on steroids, not all of them "amore'd" with their Fae/human halfbreed relatives.
Plus she runs into vampire haters who have their own church and propaganda machine, wiccans, witches (the dark kind), elves, brownies, demons, and a maenad, bent on causing chaos.
Geez what a life she has!! Just when she decides to settle on a guy, something always happens. Anytime she's come to a relatively peaceful place, something always pops up to create more havoc. Whether it's vampire politics, death threats, ticked off witches, a Fae war with humankind, it's always something!!!
But, you know what? That's what keeps us reading and buying these great books by a wonderful author. The series is imaginative, vivid, colorful, rich with the southern traditions, and laugh-out-loud funny in places. As a lifelong southerner, I recognize some of the humans who live in the mythical town of Bon Temps, La. I've met them along the way...
In the final novel of the series, Dead Ever After, Ms. Harris manages to draw the reader into the action once more. It is a lively finish for this wonderful series that has thrilled me for the last twelve years.
I won't spoil it for you by revealing the plot. Read it yourself. It is a fitting end that manages to tie up most of the loose ends and bring Sookie her own happy ending...At least that's the way I see it.
If you've never read the books, only watched "True Blood", you need to read the books...The series is good, yes. I am a devotee, usually watch each episode twice on the Sunday night it airs.
BUT, and it's a big one for me, the television show deviated from the first season forward with some key plot lines. That's okay. It makes it exciting. Even the most devoted fans of the books don't know what's coming in the series. Certainly not all of the changes are irritating for us readers. I for one am delighted to see Lafayette continue on the show, well after he was killed in the books, for example. And I did love Russell Edgington, the Vamp King of Louisiana as portrayed on the show.
I will continue to watch "True Blood" as an avid fan. However, it does not take the place of the books in my mind. They are separate entities.
I have this series of books in print books, all but the first two in hardback. Usually, I only buy digital books these days to read on my Kindle. But Ms. Harris is one of two exceptions I always make to that rule.
Ms. Harris has one more book coming out in September about the Sookie Stackhouse universe. I believe it will be a wrap-up or resolution of some of the plot elements and characters in the series. I've already gotten my pre-order in with Amazon...
Thank you, Charlaine Harris, for giving us a universe filled with memorable, wonderful, scary, kinky, funny people, and supes. You have entertained and thrilled us since 2001. Thank you and thank your wonderful characters for enriching our pop culture.
And for my friend also a Sookie fan, who said, "gah! Why didn't you read a chapter at a time to make it last longer?!" I couldn't. I swept through it, hungry for it. Don't worry, I'll read it again...
Take care, Sookie!