Review: From Dead to Worse – Charlaine Harris

from dead to worse

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #8

Sookie Stackhouse is a local Bon Temps barmaid and telepath, who is again involved with all sorts of things. After saving many vampires from a bombing by the Fellowship of the Sun, an anti-vampire cult “church” group, Sookie is back home, wondering where in the world her missing weretiger boyfriend Quinn is. He killed the Queen of Louisiana’s right hand man, Andre, to free Sookie of any future connections between them, but this has created a strong blood bond between Eric, Sheriff of Area 5, and Sookie. Eric comes for Sookie one night, and takes her to meet her great-grandfather, Niall Brigant, a fairy prince who tells her that her grandmother, Adele, conceived children with his son, Fintan. Sookie is lost and confused by this news, but it seems that Niall genuinely wants a relationship with her.

Amelia Broadway, a witch who had lived in New Orleans but stays with Sookie since she changed her lover, Bob, into a cat, is still with her. Sookie gets involved with the Shreveport werepack when some Weres she knows are killed and an attempt is made on her life. Initially the thoughts run rampant that Patrick Furnan, the new packmaster, is behind the drama, but Sookie soon learns that he has nothing to do with it, and that someone else is behind it. Furnan has his followers, and Alcide Herveaux, son of the Were Furnan killed to take his packmaster place, has his own, and neither side trusts the other. Uncovering the guilty party to bring the Weres together again is a rough job, meaning Sookie’s boss and best friend Sam Merlotte joins in to protect her and help out. Ultimately they are successful though. Quinn is still missing, and Sookie is fluctuating between being worried and being hurt at his intent of ignoring her.

As if there is not enough warring, Filipe de Castro kills Sophie-Anne Leclerq, the Queen of Louisiana. He intends to take over, and naturally Sookie is dragged in because of her connection to Eric. It seems that Quinn has  not only been laying low, but dealing with some serious family issues, among them the escape of his mother from the sanatorium. He has once again become embroiled and indebted to the vampires, something that makes Sookie deeply unhappy. To cap matters, Tanya Grissom, a woman who had been hired by the Pelt family to look into Debbie’s disappearance, reappears on the scene, and she has found a way to get involved all around Sookie and making people’s lives miserable. Octavia Fant, Amelia’s mentor, comes to see her from New Orleans and decides to be of some assistance in the matter with Tanya. Sookie’s brother Jason seems to be having some serious issues with his new werepanther wife, Crystal, who is pregnant. Jason manages to stage it that Calvin Norris, the leader of the Hotshot werepanther community and Crystal’s uncle, and Sookie both arrive to check on Crystal at the same time to find that she has been unfaithful to him. Seeing as Calvin stood up for Crystal at their wedding, he will have to pay the price. Through all of this, it seems that Eric has recovered the memories he lost when he was cursed a few months ago.

What will the price be that Calvin will pay for Crystal’s cheating? Why would Jason be so terrible as to bring Calvin and Sookie to the scene? Will Octavia and Amelia be able to help Sookie with her problem with Tanya? Will Quinn be able to make things right with Sookie? What will come of Sookie’s new relationship with Niall? What does it mean for Sookie now that she knows she is descended from fairy royalty? What will Sookie do now that Eric has recovered his memories?

GRADE 6This one was a little bland, to be honest. Maybe I just fell a little out of touch with it because I haven’t read one in a while or what, but I was just not as enamoured with this one. For one, the plot was a little all over the show. Sookie meeting Niall was a lot better than the series portrayed, and reading more about her family history was alright. There was a lot of lull in the plot though. The warring Were packs was something, too, that had the potential to be more but fell flat instead. The little vampire war just seemed another war stuck into the book to fill up some more pages, though I was thrilled to have Eric around again. The uncertainty of Quinn’s whereabouts got old soon, as I was sick of hearing about him all the time when it was remembered to add him, though he doesn’t feel like he belongs in the book, either. Quinn started as an interesting character, but then his constant use of “babe” and all that just got overbearing, and he became an irritating character. Not terribly so, but enough that I just wanted to move on and beyond him. I was pretty happy when they broke up. This relationship almost felt as though it was an avenue Harris was exploring and soon fell out of love with. Sam and Sookie are growing closer, too, and she is back to uhming and ahing about Eric. As you can see, I actually don’t have much to say about this book, it was just another one to add to the series. However, I am still having fun reading these.

Review: All Together Dead – Charlaine Harris

all together dead

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #7

Bon Temps barmaid and telepath Sookie Stackhouse attends the vampire summit with Sophie-Anne Leclerq, Queen of Louisiana. The summit has been shifted due to the catastrophic events of Hurricane Katrina, and Eric Northman, vampire sheriff of Area 5, is unhappy that Sookie is going as a part of the queen’s party. Pam, Eric’s “child”, shares with Sookie that she has messed with his head in some way, and that he does not think properly anymore. At the summit, vampire trials will be held, and Sophie-Anne stands accused of killing her husband, Peter Threadgill, king of Arkansas. Sookie is now not only part of the entourage, but also as a witness, and will have to testify at the trial. Sookie has multiple jobs to do, and at the same time she is desperately attempting to purge her life of Bill Compton, her vampire ex that broke her heart. Sophie-Anne, however, is looking to use Sookie’s telepathic abilities to make sure that the people that are investing in her campaign after her displacement from New Orleans are genuine, and does not really want her distracted.

Arriving at the convention, Sookie meets with Barry “Bellboy” Horowitz, the only other telepath she has ever met in her life, who used to be bellhop at the Silent Shore Hotel in Dallas. It appears that Barry is now a part of Stan’s entourage. Stan is the king of Texas. Sookie is relieved that she has a sort of friend with her. Sookie’s weretiger boyfriend, Quinn, runs the events company that is hosting the convention, and Sookie sees him on and off while he is there. It seems that Quinn is as popular as ever in the vampire community, and she would love to know why. Sadly for her, she soon learns his deep and dark secret, and it changes things a little for them. Sophie-Anne wishes to broker a deal with Jennifer Cater, who has made the allegations against the queen. When going to meet with her, Sophie-Anne’s party discovers that the Arkansas party has been butchered. Upon leaving the scene, Sookie suggests that Sophie-Anne appoint her progeny Andre to step up as a the new king of Arkansas, a suggestion they all take seriously.

Things are not going well when more corpses turn up, and Sookie discovers a bomb near the queen’s room. Just when it looks like Sophie-Anne’s trial is off, an Arkansas survivor steps forward and keeps the trial going, which Sookie promptly has thrown out, and a would-be assassin is staked at the trial. She is very unhappy, too, when Andre approaches her to make her drink his blood, to bind them, and she is terrified and refuses. When things start looking really bad for her there, Eric steps in to save the day, much to Sookie’s chagrin, and she is forced to drink his blood instead. Quinn discovers this, and is furious with her and the vampires. No matter that, Sookie is now irrevocably tied to Eric, and will never be free of him. The king of Kentucky seems overly paranoid of something and has two Britlingers protecting him. The Fellowship of the Sun members are vehemently protesting outside the hotel that vampires are evil. Sookie and Barry band together to look into the deceased assassin to find some answers during the day, as answers need to be provided about whose life is in danger, who knows what, and what is coming.

Does someone want Sophie-Anne dead in particular? Does someone just want to kill all vampires? What is the conspiracy? Who murdered the Arkansas party? Who planted the bomb near the queen’s room? Will Sookie ever accept how closely linked she and Eric are? When will Sookie successfully move on from the hurt that Bill caused her? Will Sookie and Quinn work through their issues? Can they make their relationship work? What is it about Quinn’s past that Sookie does not know, but that has the powers to change everything? Will Eric ever work out his feelings for Sookie?

GRADE 7I had a great time with this one again. Things were definitely picking up. Still little Bill, which is fine by me, he is a bit bland and boring. Quinn made his appearance in here, but it was not overbearing, and the whole thing between Eric and Sookie was discussed a little bit more, something I did appreciate. No matter what happens there, they are tied together, and though Sookie “loathes” him, she also adores him, and he is awfully frustrated the he cannot remember the time he spent with her and what he owes her. The pace was nice, and there were so many plots going on at the same time here but it worked, it never got too much or overbearing. Andre, a character that I liked, has become rather not cool, sadly. Pam, naturally, is still endlessly entertaining. Also, the return of Barry Bellboy was fun, I like him and Sookie, and how they work together. It was interesting for me to read more about the vampire politics as well as how they do things, truly fascinating. The conversations between Barry and Sookie were cool, too, all in italics. This books kept me reading, kept me interested, all the way through. There was more stuff going on, but nothing overwhelming. Also, Harris worked in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and this is the first piece of literature that I have read that has talked about Katrina so much. The vampires are irrevocably tied to the South, so it was nice that it was included, though Katrina was one terrible natural disaster. Finally some of Quinn’s past is revealed, and I must say that it was not even remotely what I expected at all, it was pretty sad.

Review: Definitely Dead – Charlaine Harris

definitely dead

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #6

Local Bon Temps barmaid and telepath Sookie Stackhouse is shocked when weretiger Quinn comes to see her in Bon Temps, stating that  his visit was both business and personal. The business side of it is that the vampire queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Anne Leclerq, has requested Sookie’s services, the same services that Eric had requested before for a summit. The personal side is that Quinn would like to start seeing her romantically, and Sookie agrees. She also needs to go to New Orleans to clear out her dead (vampire) cousin Hadley’s apartment, who was one of the queen’s favourites. Bill Compton, Sookie’s vampire ex-boyfriend, offers to come with her to help her out. She is not overly keen, and Bill is seeing a new woman, Selah Pumphrey. Sookie starts to wonder why Quinn is so extremely well known in the supernatural community. The family of Debbie Pelt, a shifter that Sookie killed in self defence in the new year, is still looking for her, and are intent on seeing her to hear what she has to know. Sookie truly just wants to move on.

Sookie also has problems when she goes out with Quinn, leaving a furious Eric Northman behind, sheriff of Area 5. She is not talking to him much anymore, and he is not dealing with that very well. While on her special date with Quinn, they are attacked by a pair of freshly bitten weres, both hopped up on drugs. Neither has any idea why, and Quinn takes them to the local were bar to threaten the patrons, demanding that the event be investigated and insisting that Sookie be let be. It would seem that werewolf Alcide Herveaux is now seeing Maria-Star Cooper, which is alright considering how they left it. Leaving for New Orleans when the queen’s emissary, Mr Catialades, collects her, they learn that his niece Gladiola,a half demon, was killed to prevent her from delivering the message to Sookie about the queen sending to have her collected. Bill accompanies Sookie. Arriving in New Orleans, Sookie  finds that a talented young witch named Amelia Broadway cast a stasis spell on the apartment to keep it from smelling bad. Things go wrong when Sookie opens the apartment, considering the next night an unknown vampire rises, who was trapped by the stasis spell, attacking Amelia and Sookie. It seems that Hadley had changed the man, who was a were named Jake Purifoy. Eric visits Sookie in the hospital, and has an argument with Bill, who has turned up too. Eric forces Bill to reveal his true agenda with Sookie, that he had been sent to Bon Temps to get to know her, seduce her if needs be, to find out more about her. Naturally, Sookie is crushed.

After the narrow escape there, Sookie learns from Amelia that she can get some witches together to magically recreate the evening of Jake’s turning. Naturally, Sophie-Anne is interested, and attends the ritual. Quinn has come to visit Sookie, too, and she is glad to see him. Sophie-Anne also confides in Sookie that Hadley stole a bracelet from Sophie-Anne that was given to her by her new husband, the king of Arkansas, Peter Threadgill, and that she has to produce it on the wedding night, and that Sookie must please help her find it. Sookie obliges, as there will be major issues if Sophie-Anne cannot show it. Sookie looks, but she cannot find the stunning bracelet. Quinn arrives at Hadley’s apartment the next day to assist Sookie with the sorting and packing of the apartment, and here they are savagely attacked by a group of weres who kidnap them and take them away. They need to escape, and have no idea why they are being hounded the way they are.

Who is behind the kidnappings? Will Sookie and Quinn survive it? Will the Pelts ever stop trying to find answers about Debbie? Did Bill ever love Sookie? Will she recover from the awful truth that Eric forced Bill to share? Will Sophie-Anne recover the bracelet before it needs to be revealed? Who killed Gladiola?

GRADE 6The first thing to state here is that there is a short story called One Word Answer that needs to be read before this, otherwise it will be such a mess. When I started I was extremely confused, which made me really edgy, I don’t like to not know what is going on, and I did some Googling and found out what was happening. When I was all caught up I started back up again, and after that things flowed pretty well. I must say that I thought it a real pity that Eric got so little book time, and I missed his sass. The back and forth between Pam and Sookie about Sookie’s dating life and Eric was very funny for me. At any rate, reading more about Quinn was interesting, too, though he is shrouded in a lot of mystery, which makes me worried about where he is from/what he is about. Alcide also got virtually no time in here, which was alright. Quinn’s excessive use of “babe” irritated the hell out of me, and I am glad to see I was not the only person in the world that disliked it. I must say that these books are pretty addictive, which I cannot explain because they are actually really stupid and all that, but they work (provided, as I have said before, you don’t take them too seriously). Sookie’s knowledge of Bill’s assignment when he met her was really sad news for her, it really was a game changer, making her question everything she felt and thought she knew, as well as all the things that she did for him. Eric seemed intent of enlightening her of his betrayal, but to what end is still not obvious. I liked Amelia well enough, and the whole story with the queen was relatively interesting. I liked her most loyal right hand, Andre. This book felt very much like an extra filler book, and there were so many things that were brought in and then skipped over that let a lot feel unimportant (here I am specifically referring to Crystal’s miscarriage, the new waitress Tanya, etc). There was a lot of things that happened in here, and that was nice, but it still managed to feel like a filler novel. Overall, still a fast read, but not on par with the other books, either. Maybe it is because I missed reading more about Eric, and missed more Pam.

Review: Dead as a Doornail – Charlaine Harris

dead as a doornail

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #5

Sookie Stackhouse, Bon Temps waitress and telepath, is trying to be supportive of her brother Jason’s ordeal. After having been abducted by Felton Norris of the Hotshot werepanter community and changed, Jason Stackhouse has a whole new life to live – he will change at the full moon now, a normal life if over. Initially he seems despondent about it, but soon Sookie learns that Jason is loving his new life, and is slightly envious that he is not a  full-fledged werepanther. Calvin Norris, leader of the Hotshot community, is severely shot and ends up in hospital, hanging on by a thread. Soon Sam Merlotte, Sookie’s friend and boss, gets shot, too. It becomes evident to her that someone is hunting the shape shifters in the community. Sookie, meanwhile, is still trying to deal with having murdered Debbie Pelt, psychotic ex-girlfriend of Alcide Herveaux, a werewolf and friend of hers. This is proving to be difficult when the Pelt family sends out two private detectives to look into matters a little more closely.

Eric Northman, Sheriff of Area 5, has still not remembered what happened in the time that he spent living at Sookie when the witches blanked out his memory, and does not like the fact that Sookie will not fill him in on the details. When Sam sends Sookie to Eric’s bar Fangtasia to ask for a favour, Sookie is miserable. There Eric loans Sam the English pirate vampire, Charles, to help out at Merlotte’s. Sookie’s ex-boyfriend, Bill Compton, also a vampire, still seems to be out of the picture, and Sookie is torn between him and Eric, though she is also tired of the danger being around them places her in. Sookie is also terrified to learn that the Hotshot community suspects Jason of the shootings, and that he may very well be in danger when the new moon comes.

Woken in the middle of the night by her fairy protector, Claudine, Sookie narrowly escapes her burning house. Much of it is saved, but Sookie will still need somewhere to stay in the meanwhile. Sookie and Alcide are on bad terms after he uses her to assist his father, Jackson, in his bid for packleader of the Shreveport werewolves, figuring she owes him one for killing Debbie. Sookie is beyond furious, saying she would have helped him without being obligated. Alcide tries to help her with her home, and Alcide proposes a more romantic relationship, though Sookie has no interest in that. Sookie, too, gets shot, and the detectives have no idea that what links the victims is that they are shape shifters, though it is uncertain who shot Sookie and why. Tara Thornton, a friend of Sookie’s, seems to be in over her head with her new vampire lover, and even Eric warns Sookie to stay away.

Will Eric ever figure out what happened during his stay at Sookie? Will the Hotshot werepanthers attack Jason, or is there some way that he can be cleared? Who is out to get Sookie, and why? Who is shooting the shape shifters in town, as well as the outlying areas? Will Jackson, Alcide’s father, win his bid for the pack? Will Tara ever get out of the trouble she is in with Mickey?

GRADE 6.5This book was alright. It was not as funny as the last one, but it was a pretty good outing. It was more focused on Sam and the shifters, which was cool, and a lot about the werewolves and their politics, which I also liked. I missed reading more about Eric, though I still prefer having less of Bill in here. Sookie really, really needs to start making up her mind about who she wants to be with. I find it a little frustrating that she is permanently getting a little too close and personal with far too many different men, all at once. Granted, I know she is not tied to a single one of them at the moment, but currently she is just playing with all of them. Calvin Norris is still an interesting character, though he is starting to get a little ominous now, which should be setting off alarm bells in Sookie’s head. Also, Patrick Furnam’s warning should have been the final nail in the coffin lid for her, so to speak, but she does not seem to be taking it too seriously. Nothing really happened in this book, to be honest. I mean, things happened, but not too much. It felt like a filler book, although it was entertaining for me nonetheless. It’s a quick read, interesting, though not as good as the ones I have been reading before this. I think after the last one had so much Eric and the other vampires in it, I kind of missed them in here.