This blog is basically about how good books are nice and bad books are the pits. And then I get grumpy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Who knew? Sookie Stackhouse books are (based on the first one) enjoyable.

Mass market paperbacks that advertise vampires are generally not something I gravitate toward. Nothing against mass markets - I have come to have an affinity for them. It's the vampire thing. Boy, was I prejudiced against the Twilight series for the longest time. But then I pretty much loved the first three. (Haven't read the last yet.)

Then I picked up Insatiable in the store. And then I put it back down. But, eventually, that, too, got read. My comments about that book are here.

Now, for some reason, I thought I'd explore the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. I don't know...maybe it was the whole True Blood tv show that so many people are abuzz about. I don't watch it, but it looks gory and and seems like it's hopped onboard the vampire-fad bandwagon, but for a more "sophisticated" audience (read: individuals who enjoy gratuitious sexuality and blood).

None of that is really a recommendation for the books. My expectations before I began were pretty much on the lower end of the spectrum, but I finished the first, Dead Until Dark, and actually enjoyed it. We'll see about the others.

Sookie, the telepathic southern waitress, is a likeable character. The point is made that she is "uneducated" but smart. If you have egalitarian tendencies, this will probably endear her and the book to you. I really liked it. Sookie is sweet and caring and funny.

Her love interest is a vampire with the unassuming name of Bill. Bill the vampire. That's right.

Anyway, Bill is an interesting character and pulling apart his ethics would be an intriguing exercise. He's not the squeaky clean - and very likeable, if possessive - Edward Cullen of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Bill you wonder about. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

There are elements to the first Sookie book that bear great (suspicious?) similarity to Twilight, which was actually published four years after Dead Until Dark. I wonder if Meyer read any Sookie books. Just curious, not casting aspersions.... What similarities? There's a furry rival for Sookie's love, for example. There's her innocence. There is Bill's old-fashioned, protective nature. There is also the fact he kind of glows or shines sometimes.

But, in many ways, the books are very different. Sexual content is completely on another level, for instance. The book is NOT for youngsters. There can't be an argument there. It's very explicit. And it's very violent, though mostly in references to crimes. But that's enough. Language is vulgar, though it arguably serves the characters at times. At other times, it doesn't and it's annoying. Sookie is different, too, than Twilight's heroine, Bella. She perhaps has a spunk in her southern manners that strengthens her; Bella seems fairly 'damsel in distress-y' in contrast. Bill, again, is not a white knight of a vampire.

I was annoyed at times by the writing. First of all, and this is kind of petty, it's two "pairs" of shoes, socks, jeans, etc; it's not two "pair" of shoes, socks, jeans, etc. That's just like nails on a chalkboard. EEEEEEEE! Then, again I'm picky here,  I think I spotted the word 'simile' misused which for some reason irritated me. Another time some kind of editing or grammar error which I have now forgotten - so, you know, again picky - interrupted my reading for about 2 minutes.

But, these are not major impediments to the enjoyment of an entertaining yarn. Even the three or four times I was confused by writing (sentence/paragraph construction is what I remember) were not prohibitive to understanding the story, even if they were a bit frustrating.

So, all in all, not a bad read. And, tomorrow, I am attempting to find book two at a time when libraries seem out of them. That, perhaps, tells you something.

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