Friday, August 5, 2011

Dead Reckoning Makes me a Touch More Southern and a Whole Lot More Stupid

So we come to book eleven of the almighty Southern Vampire series – i.e. the True Blood books. And it occurs to me that this series probably won’t end. I mean sure, Harris might stop writing them (she’d be mad, but you know) but there isn’t really an overarching story anymore. Each book has become an episodic little adventure instead of a series of events driving towards one final battle/conflict.

SPOILERS IF YOU’RE STILL IN THE EARLY BOOKS: (start reading again when the writing is black…)
Sookie Stackhouse is still banging Eric and is technically his wife through some vampiric loophole that he tricked her into in order to save her life. She has mixed feeling about this, but he’s good in bed so whatevs. Sandra Pelt (who tried to kill her a while back) has left prison and is out to kill her. Meanwhile Eric is clashing with his Vampiric superior Victor and Sookie has two handsome fairies at her house hangin out because they’re related or something (actual fairies, who in this case are human looking but very hot. Of course). And there’s a vampiric Elvis. And Sookie’s organizing a baby shower for a friend.

So if that all sounds a little disjointed – it’s not just my writing. It really is. And I’m in two minds about it, because on one hand – the two parallel stories (Sookie the southern gal, waitressing, cleaning out the attic, making iced tea and Sookie the psychic, killing vampires, banging other vampires, getting macked on by werewolf alphas) are both interesting to me for different reasons. On the other hand, they really do feel like two separate novels that have been squidged together.

I really enjoy southern-gal Sookie. As mundane as it sounds, I’m so entranced by the notion of The Deep South that Sookie floating around her house, making sandwiches for guests, bringing cups of tea out for the brawny fellas working on her lawn, making poundcake for elderly neighbours etc. is really dreamy and lovely to me. The picture painted of this little town is so vivid. And the little bursts of realism when they appear are surprisingly comical – the crossover point between the vampiric underworld and Sookie’s little Queendom of Fairies and baby showers and little cousins always delivers.

Sookie herself is a bit of a bone of contention. I go back and forth on her. On one hand, she’s endearingly straightforward, traditionally mannered, very southern and a nice contrast from the ass-kicking wisecracking take-no-prisoner heroines that usually appear in urban fantasy (cough cough Anita Blake cough) but on the other hand she’s so frustrating, probably for all the above reasons. She’s not particularly educated, and it shows. I didn’t think I’d be a snob about this, but I kind of am. Even the way she talks is so young, and by the stage she refers to her vagina as her “yahoo palace” (I snorted. Aloud) I’m mentally roll-eyesing so much that I’m motion-sick. You’d think if you hung around with thousand year old dudes you might learn a bit.

If you haven’t read this series but have enjoyed True Blood, you do need to be warned that the books are not the sexromp that the series is. There’s about one sex scene in each book. And since everything seen through the eyes of Sookie (it’s told in 1st person) and she’s a proper Southern gal, she’s a bit elusive about details. It never occurs to you more than at these moments that these are being written by a 60 year old flaming redhead from Mississippi.

Literary merit: 2 out of 5, Guilty pleasure: 5 out of 5.

1 comment: