Saturday, November 14, 2009

book review: Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Dead to the World is the fourth book in successful Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.

This book will contain some minor spoilers if you haven't read the first three books in the series.

Dead to the World picks up where Club Dead left off. Only a few days have passed, and it's the turn of a new year. Once again, Bill is about to leave, this time for Peru. Sookie's New Year's resolution is not getting beat up. Naturally, trouble finds dear Sookie as she's conscientiously driving home from work. She spots Eric running barefoot and half naked. When she stops, he has no idea who she is or who he is. What luck Sookie was driving by! Soon, dear Sookie has yet another new type of magical creature to deal with: witches who drink vampire blood, and many of them are also weres or shifters, so they're REALLY powerful. Ugh.

I found the plot of this book rather ridiculous. Eric isn't too much fun when he's not Eric. He's also not nearly as fun when he's not competing with Bill. Mostly, I'm tired of Sookie, and I want to smack some sense into her. She has some sense of feminism, but mostly, she hides from it. She spends so much time resenting that people assume she's dumb because she's an uneducated barmaid, yet every time she uses a word more than seven letters long, she must mention to the reader she read it on her word of the day calendar. Sookie's word of the day calendar is almost as annoying as Robert Langdon's Mickey Mouse watch.

Also, Sookie's sex drive and moral relativism are beyond annoying. Her pride about money is annoying. I haven't enjoyed the last two books, and I'm starting to think it's not a coincidence Bill hasn't been around. For some reason, Bill mellows Sookie out enough for me. When she's left to her own devices, I'm not a fan.

I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. I loved the ways Harris imagined an entire society where vampires had politically figured out a way to enter. The last two books, however, have veered into the absurd. Yes, it was always fantasy, but it was initially heavily rooted in reality. It's official: I'm taking a break from Sookie. I won't say I won't read the next book, but I need a break. I can't handle spending time with a character I don't like. I wish Bill would take Sookie away to one of his far off locales soon so she could see the world outside Bon Temps, Louisiana and get some more perspective that her definition of a woman is far too narrow.

Recently, I watched the first two episodes of True Blood, and I really like it. For me, it's true to my feelings of the first two books. Like Buffy, one of my favorite shows ever, it's grounded in reality, or at least the illusion of it. Although I'm taking a break from the books, I'm eager to watch more of the tv show.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Pages: 291
Publication date: May 2004
Source: my local public library

1 comment:

  1. I'm a fan of the books and of True Blood, but I find that I did not like season two. Also I can't stand Bill, personally once he was not the center of Sookie's world I was happy and I thought the books improved.


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