Thursday, 18 July 2013

Sookie Stackhouse Series/ Southern Vampire Mysteries

Level: Explicit Lite
Genre: Fantasy > Urban Fantasy > Vampire
Reviewed by: Nic Echo

About the Series:
It's the modern world as we know it except with one major difference: the preternatural exist. In fact, the vampires have only recently made themselves known to the general public. Enter our protagonist, Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie was born with an unusual gift; she is able to read people's thought. Although this can have its advantages, it is definitely a curse when it comes to being social and dating so  when Sookie finds out that she can't hear Bill's, a local vampire, thoughts she becomes intrigued and sucked up into the preternatural world. Soon, she finds out that not only do vampires exist but so do shapeshifters, witches, and fairies. She also comes to find out that the preternatural world is a dangerous place to be.

Rating: 6/10
I originally found this series through HBO's True Blood. I remember falling in love with the show and wanting to read the source material. Now, I knew that the books were drastically different from the show, but that also excited me. I was told that it was a wonderful mix of mystery and romance, possibly a replacement for the Anita Blake books. Sadly, I did not get sucked into Sookie as much as Anita, but I hadn't found them to be bad either. All in all, they were just there. I would say that the earlier books were definitely stronger but still nothing to write home about. The world started off interesting but soon grew stale, especially when the books started focusing more on the romance. Now, I have said in other reviews that I am not anti-romance, but neither was I the type to get lost in romance and Harlequin novels. Still, I have been known to oooo and giggle and hope for certain pairings. Yes, I will get with friends and discuss which pairings would work and why. Sookie never really got this reaction out of me. I never longed to talk about the series. Sure I have discussed who was best suited for our heroine, but I never hoped that a certain someone would win (though I did drastically pray to the literary gods that Quinn wouldn't stay with Sookie). Granted, I still seem to be in the minority here. Here is the thing though. Just because I am not in a tornado of feels doesn't mean that I can't enjoy a series. After all, I was highly invested in de la Cruz's Blue Bloods series and most of the romance there had me rolling my eyes!

The plot in  the Sookie Stackhouse books was merely okay most of the time. Of course, good characters can make a mediocre plot much more enjoyable, but I didn't even really find myself liking any of the characters (with the exception of Claude and early Eric). With the exceptions listed, I simply did not find myself getting too invested (and even then, barely) except a smile here and there. I wouldn't go so far to say that the characters were cardboard; I can see why many people like the ones they do. For me though, I simply didn't care a lot of the times. Still, I was easily able to put Harris' characters into scenarios and have an idea of what they would do. I could hear a song and think, "Yeah, this could pertain to Amelia," or "I can picture Claude dancing to this." They just didn't spark enough in me to enjoy the story. Now, I have a friend that says one of the reasons the books and the show are so different is because one is a mystery while the other is the drama. A lot of mystery novels focus more on the plot than the characters (makes sense), but the Sookie novels aren't exactly brain teasers, which means you need something more for support.

Overall, I would simply say that this was an okay series. The mysteries were simple (I actually ended up overthinking about the plots and creating lots of potential paths) and the characters didn't really interest me. As I noted earlier, I didn't find them flat and interchangeable (except some of the female werewolves), but they didn't really come alive for me either. I will say that Harris did create an interesting world and showed how dangerous it could be, but after a while, it was no longer new and no longer interesting. The romance was also a bore, but since I wasn't really invested in the tone or the characters, that makes sense. It does seem that a lot of people enjoyed the romance though so if that is something you like, I would say check it out, especially if you like your romance to be more than just girl meets boy and they get together. The End. In general, I would say that if you like urban fantasy with female protagonists, I would suggest checking out a book or two and deciding from there.

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