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Dead As A Doornail - Charlaine Harris

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Charlaine Harris / Paperback / 304 Pages / Book is published 2009-07-09 by Gollancz

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    8 Reviews
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      02.03.2010 11:59
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      Good read

      I bought this book from thebookpeople.co.uk as part of a set of 8 books for £8.99 + £2 P&P. I am totally addicted to the Southern Vampire Mysteries series and this book took me 2 days to read and I wasn't reading it all the time (it has 295 pages).

      The plot is:
      Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in a bar and she has a compliacted love life. Being telepathic doesn't help. Everytime things seem to be going ok for her, something bad happens to one of ther or her friends. Her brother Jason has been bitten by a were panther so is about to change into one for the first time. When a sniper starts targetting shifters, Sookie worries about her brother. Not only is Jason at risk but his were-brethren who are meant to be looking after him, suspect him too. Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who's behind the attacks - unless the killer decides to find her first.

      I did enjoy this book a lot and found it difficult to put down. The storyline is more about the weres and the shifters rather than the vampires. I did miss the vampires a bit especially Eric, whose character always makes me laugh. Alcide's character is brought out in more depth in this book and you see more of the 2 fairies. I did begin to wish that Sookie would either get back with Bill or get together with Eric in this book though, just so that they were in it more. When I got to near the end where you find out who the sniper is, I was quite stunned as I had never guessed it would be that person. Apart from the references to the sexual activity in the previous book, there is no real naughtiness apart from a few kisses in this book. So it may be suitable for mid teens too. Overall I did enjoy it and am looking forward to reading the next one in the series which I am starting today.

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        05.02.2010 13:58
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        Not the best in the series

        Dead as a doornail is the fifth of eight books in the Southern Vampire Mysteries aka Sookie Stackhouse series aka the books behind the TV series of True Blood.

        In a nutshell, Sookie is a telepath living in a small Southern town of Bon Temps. Vampires and other "supernatural beings" aka supes (shape shifters, werewolves, fairies etc.) are fairly commonplace, yet seem to blend into the story believably.

        Sookie's telepathic abilities make her very valuable to vamps and other supes as she basically gives them inside information in dangerous situations.

        PLEASE NOTE...DO NOT READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE FIRST FOUR BOOKS.

        In this book Sookie's brother Jason finds out that he turns into a were-panther at the full moon, having been held hostage in the last book and turned into a supe. Suddenly, many of the shape shifting community begin to get shot at, and Jason is looking like the number one suspect. Can Sookie help her brother?

        This book also sees the return of "real" Eric, the viking vampire. He had lost his memory in the last book and has since forgotten of his illicit affair with Sookie. It was good to see the old Eric back in position!

        OK, generally I found it quite hard to follow the plot and keep interested. There are A LOT of new characters in these books and it isn't always obvious where or how they fit in, or why they are important. One major plot thread is the local were wolf pack need to pick a new leader and they have to bring Sookie to the ceremony. I thought the reasons given for her being there were weak and she sort of gave in far too easily.

        I found myself frustrated that she wouldn't tell Eric what had happened between them (mainly because I just want to see Sookric (sookie and eric!) make it as a couple!). I also found the character does some things that are slightly out of character, which makes me believe in her a lot less. One example is when she speaks to Bill, she basically brushes him off for the worst reasons, and as a reader you can't find empathy with her, because it doesn't seem logical.

        The new characters, particularly the fairies don't seem to have a real purpose in the book. Tara, Sookie's friend does some odd things, which don't seem to be fully explained. And finally, when we find out who the shooter is, it is a total let down and very poor justification for why that character would shoot the shifters.

        All in all, I was not enamoured with this book and it is my least favourite of them all.

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        13.01.2010 16:44
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        Only Recommended to Fans

        Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris is book number five in the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries / True Blood series. There are some books in the series which you could get away with reading having not read any of the first four books in the series before this. However, this book makes so many references to events of the previous book, that you really won't be able to enjoy it very much if don't at least read book number four first.

        In this story we find that Sookie Stackhouse, a telephathic waitress who spends far too much time with vampires, is having to deal with her brother Jason coming over to join her in the world of supernaturals. He's been brutally assaulted by a were animal, as we read about in book four (Dead to the World) and now Sookie and Jason are waiting to find out if Jason has been bitten enough to be changed into a were animal himself.

        Also in this book, we find that Eric Northman has no idea what happened when he stayed with Sookie since the witch's spell was broken at the end of the last book. He spends an uncomfortably long time in this book grilling Sookie on the matter. But Sookie's lips are sealed for now and Eric's frustration really got me going in places! I never thought I'd empathise with a fictitious (and rather selfish and violent) vampire, but really, I found myself feeling for the poor bloodsucker in places.

        What really made this book one that I could easily put down a lot though was the over-the-top werewolf sub-plots. They got more intricate, and boring, with every new chapter. There was lots of interesting bits going on here and there with Sookie and with the vampire gang, but Alcide, a werewolf we met in the previous book, really did bore me half to sleep.

        Also in this book, the fae really start to make some prominent appearances. I really dislike the fairies Claudine and Claude, because honestly, I just don't feel like they're characters I can relate to. I can relate to the vampires, to Sookie, to Sam Merlotte and even to the werewolves. But the fairies just feel like characters who lack depth and don't really have anything to bring to the table.

        If you're following the series, you'll have to give this a skim-read really I guess to be ready for book number six (where things pick back up again!). But I definitely wouldn't recommend it as a stand-alone book. It's too complicated and hurried, some of the characters are lacking any substance and quite frankly it gets boring in places. If you want to buy it, don't pay the full retail price for it - get it as part of the multi-book set from The Book People or Amazon.

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        10.01.2010 16:14
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        Only worth reading if you're a real True Blood fan!

        This is the fifth book in Charlaine Harris' True Blood series. **NB there are spoilers in this review for anyone who hasn't read the first four books in the series (a full list at the end of this review).

        Life just doesn't get any more simple for Sookie Stackhouse, the telepathic waitress from Bon Temps. Still reeling from the demise of her love affair with Bill the vampire, and her brief fling with Eric whilst he was under an amnesia spell, Sookie must now contend with the affections of Alcide, the werewolf, and Calvin, the werepanther. And if that were not enough to contend with, her brother Jason is also coming to terms with his change into werepanther!

        As you'll have gathered, the flurry of supernatural creatures introduced into the True Blood world doesn't let up for even a moment in this installment of the series, and as ever it is interesting to read Harris' take on the supernatural world. However, I found this book less gripping than the previous four in the series (which I've also reviewed) - it feels very much like a bridge, tying up loose ends from the fourth book whilst starting to introduce the action of the sixth. The main interest centres around the battle for the new leader of the werewolf pack, and the very formal ceremonies which that entails, including Alcide's wish that Sookie be by his side, as his supporter and ally - we find out why later on in the book.

        A few more enemies of Sookie are thrown into the mix, and there are still some moments of comic relief, provided primarily by the fairies (Claudine and Claude) and the ever-entertaining antics of Eric, who is desperate to understand what went on between him and Sookie during his memory loss (book four). However this feels like a bit of a hotchpotch and I was never particularly engaged whilst reading. Nonetheless, it's worth a quick read if you want to enjoy the whole series as there's still some interesting information. Disappointing overall, however.

        A list of the books in the series is set out below:

        1. Dead Until Dark
        2. Living Dead in Dallas
        3. Club Dead
        4. Dead to the World
        5. Dead as a Doornail
        6. Definitely Dead
        7. All Together Dead
        8. From Dead to Worse
        9. Dead and Gone

        UPDATE: I have just discovered that you can buy the first eight True Blood titles on www.thebookpeople.co.uk for £8.99 - what a bargain!! I am feeling slightly put out, having bought them all separately, but hopefully someone on here can benefit!

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        08.12.2009 07:42
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        See review.

        After enjoying the previous book I reviewed (see dead to the world review), I ploughed straight on with the next in the series.

        The book I will now review is - "Dead as a doornail by Charlaine Harris".

        WARNING!

        If you are intending on reading these books, just take my word that these are great books, as due to the books following on from the previous, there will be some plot spoilers in this book, for the previous book!

        After her brief but pleasant affair with Eric, the sheriff and head of the Area 5 vampire clan, Sookie is now single again, partly due to the fact that Eric regained his memory but failed to remember their time together, and after that particular incident with her on/off "friend" Alcide's (werewolf) former girlfriend Debbie, she feels no particular inclination to fill Eric in on any details.

        She now has another worry to contend with, the fact that her brother Jason was now a shifter, after being kidnapped and bitten by a were panther, and as he was due for his first change she was more than caught up in that.

        But from previous experience, Sookie is in for a ride! After it is revealed that shifters and other "supes" (supernatural beings), are being targeted and assassinated everyone is on edge, though things get a little close for comfort when her boss and secret shifter (he spends every full moon as a collie dog!), Sam, is shot through the knee.

        From that moment onwards it seems that Sookie is the next target, but by whom and for what reason is beyond her, but after the finger of suspicion starts to point at her brother Jason, especially after the shifter pack leader, Calvin Norris has an attempt on his life, Sookie knows she has until the next full moon to prove Jason's innocence, before the shifters change form and rip him apart for treason..........

        I have to say that of all the books I have read so far this was the hardest to get into, and the one that contains the least vampire storyline of the lot.
        This particular book centres around the many different supernatural beings included in the books, that have until this book played second fiddle to the vampires, though after persevering for a few chapters I found it much easier to read and really enjoyed it from around ½ way through.

        I think the reason I found this book a little harder to read was due to the other "supe" characters, after being added into the stories previously, you were just expected to accept the fact they were there, this book goes a little deeper and explains how they are the way they are and how there particular powers work.

        This is a really easy book to read, and considering the content is a really good story too, just don't expect any big romances in this one like the previous!

        For more information visit - www.charlaineharris.com

        Pricewise these are available to buy for around the £6.99 mark, though wil undoubtable be available for much less via www.amazon.co.uk

        Thanks for reading x

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        17.09.2009 21:31
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        sniper killing shifters, werewolves change leader, will sookie end up with eric?

        Dead as a Doornail is the 5th installment in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

        Main focus of the book:
        Following on from the 4th book, Sookie's brother Jason is getting used to his new 'shifting' status after being bitten by a werepanther. He's still in trouble though as there is a sniper shooting the local shape-shifters and Jason is prime suspect; he can only partially shift because he was bitten and not a werepanther by birth and he's a little put out by this fact.

        When Sam, Sookie's boss, is shot by the sniper, Sookie has to go to Eric for a temporary bar tender. He loans her Charles, a vampire [who by the way is a Pirate!]. Sookie is also in trouble herself and again seems to be targeted, as someone tries to burn down her house. We also meet Claude and Claudine the fairies and discover Claudine is Sookie's fairy godmother. Sookie is again drawn into trying to find out who is killing the shifters in Bon temps and keeping herself alive.
        We also get to know the werewolf and werepanther social hierarchy when the local werewolf packleader dies and Alcide [a werewolf friend from the 4th book and still interested in Sookie] asks Sookie, as pack friend, to attend the funeral and unknowingly witness the competition that will select the new packleader [yuck]. We also briefly meet Quinn who features alot in the later books.

        The vampires take a back seat in this book [especially Bill] with the focus kept mainly on the shifters and the sniper. This isn't a bad thing however, as I had a bit of Eric overdose in the previous book, but he is still trying to find out from Sookie what happened when he lost his memory and Bill is still trying to get back in Sookie's good books, with little success. Bill is almost a non-event since the 3rd book really, which is a shame, but understandable [I wouldn't want him around either!].

        I enjoyed this book, as with all the sookie books, especially as it starts to explore the world of the supes, and the werepanthers in 'close' Hotshot and we are introduced to the fairies, which will feature largely in book 9. But I do still want more Eric, more Bill!

        do check out charlaines website, she does a 'book and blog' page where she reviews books....I'm starting on rachel caine's weather warden series next which sounds brill.

        http://www.charlaineharris.com/

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        27.07.2009 18:12
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        Fab vampire novel

        Background:

        A few weeks ago I read the first book written by Charlaine Harris, 'Dead until Dark'. Following this I was keen to try another one from her, featuring Sookie Stackhouse as the heroine. So when I saw this one in my local charity shop I snapped it up.


        About the author:

        Charlaine Harris was born in Tunica in Mississippi on the 25th November 1951. Having spent her early years in employment as a Typesetter for Federal Express, she decided to try her hand at her big passion writing. Since then she has written 30 books of which eight have featured Sookie Stackhouse as her lead character. This novel I'm reviewing is the fifth in the series.

        Synopsis of the book:

        Sookie Stackhouse works as a Cocktail Waitress when she's not get into trouble. She is different from most as she is telepathic and can read other people's minds. This ability has bought her into contact with Vampires, Shapers, Fairies and Were's. Who like her are often treated with distain and distrust by the average person in her home town of Bon Temps.

        Sookie's brother Jason has recently been bitten by a Were and as a result infected. This result of this means when there is a full moon he turns into a Panther. However within there is fear within the non human communities as several 'Shapers' including Sam her boss are shot by this sniper.

        Sookie needs to somehow find whoever is doing this as some of the Were community are convinced Jason is responsible for them. As they believe he is bitter about becoming one of them and taking out revenge where he can. Sookie must sort this out before they take the law into their own hands. She must use all her influence with these communities and protect her brother.

        My thoughts about the novel:

        My overriding thoughts on this book were it was a fascinating and completely enjoyable yarn. I found I very quickly got into the story and then found it hard to put down. Indeed on one morning I was late for work because of this book. When I apologised to my manager and told her my reason she just shook her head in disbelief at me.

        This is the fifth in the series that so far comprised eight books. It is an ongoing story about Sookie and her strange but fascinating life. Precisely for that reason the plot has developed and moved on as many more things have happened to her.

        I was so looking forward to reading this novel, as I really loved the first book in the series. Although not a big fan of Vampires and other Non-Human beings, I found this very interesting. So in many ways this was never going to live up to my massive expectations, but I did enjoy it but not as much as the first one.

        This I have to say in part is my own fault. As instead of following the logical process of reading the second book in the series I picked up the fifth in the series instead. Which in retrospect is a daft thing to do, as the story has moved on and it took a while for me to get up to speed as to what had previously happened.

        That said I found it quite easy to pick up and get quickly into the plot again. As the author gave you short explanations as to how the story had developed and the mischief Sookie had got herself into. And by doing this she also gave me a mouth watering taster as to what I had missed.

        In this book the storyline was very good, perhaps not as simple and straight forward as the first but still very enjoyable. In this there were basically two major storylines, which were both fascinating and worked effectively side by side to each other. But as well as these two there was several other developing plots, which either get resolved or will presumably be developed in the next book.

        However as it is a Sookie Stackhouse novel nothing is simple, obvious or even straight forward. Which makes for a novel that is full of surprises to not mention humour, as the author uses sarcasm and wit for some great serious situations.

        The author is an excellent story teller first and foremost. I really enjoy the way she sets an excellent scene. She gives you a taste of life in the heroine's world and continually makes dramatic things happen that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

        I really like the way she uses both excitement and suspense throughout the book. She writes in such a way as the build up these features and in a way you are never have a clue as to what will happen next.

        Any criticism I have in terms of the story is the addition of several other non human types to the book. The first concentrated on Vampires but in this one there were four types. This can get a little confusing and something I find difficult to get my head round. I am concerned if this continues in future books it could become not only confusing but silly.

        I believe Sookie Stackhouse is a fantastic character. I like the fact she is nervous and sensitive at times and lacks believe and confidence in herself. Her character and personality are so well described and there is a consistency that I like in the author's writing when dealing with her. I get the impression the author likes her too.

        The only criticism I have about her, having read two books on her is she seems to have so many near death experiences. In this book there were several, which can after a while turn you off as you could stop believing in her. I haven't got to this stage yet but if it continues I will and it could become boring.

        The support characters are also very interesting and again well written for. Some just feature in this novel but some and these are the ones I prefer are the ones who feature is several of the books. These you can build up and understanding with and see how they deal with new situations. They are skilfully described and quite different in character and personality for each other.

        I thought the book was consistently well written and about the right length. It seemed a logical place for the novel to finish in a well rounded polished way. I enjoyed the author's style of writing, not over elaborating on things just giving you a clear concise picture.

        What also impressed me was the author's website. For a change it was full of information and very interesting. With lots of useful information on her and her novels.


        Conclusion:

        For me this is an excellent novel. The quality is in the author's writing and her ability to tell a fascinating story and make it all seem plausible. I'm sure I will read another one of her books very soon but this time I will read the next in the series. As a fantasy novel this is a wonderful piece of literature.

        Pages: 295
        Publisher: Orion Books
        Price: £5.69
        ISBN: 978-0-575-08043-0
        About the author: www.charlaineharris.com

        Thanks for reading.

        This review was also published under my user name on Ciao.

        @CPT Daniels July 2009

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          26.07.2009 08:45
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          Good book but not the best in the series.

          Since the success of the True Blood series on HBO, which is based on the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries, these books are being re-released. Dead as a Doornail is book 5 of the series and to fully appreciate the story, it really would be better to begin at book 1 (Dead Until Dark), simply because the characterisation and back story has built since the beginning.

          ...Synopsis: Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in a little bar in a small town deep in Louisiana. She's funny and pretty and well-mannered, but she doesn't have that many close friends - mind you, that's not so surprising when you consider how few people can appreciate her abilities as a mind-reader. It's not a quality that has the guys beating down her door - well, unless they're vampires or werewolves or the like . . . but they're not just supernatural freaks, some of them are friends, even family . . . And much as Sookie might want a quiet life, when she's around, things just seem to happen . . . like her brother, who appears to be changing into a were-panther. He's not that bothered, but someone doesn't like it - someone's trying to wipe him out, as well as the rest of the shape-changing population, and that mean's Sookie's got just a month, before the next full moon, to find out who wants her brother dead, and stop the fiend. ...

          In my experience, every long running series of novels has one or two duds and, for me, this book was a bit of a dud. On a purely subjective level, of all the characters in the series, Sookie's brother Jason is the one I feel the least connection to. He's brash and crass and thinks he's God's gift to women. Not my favourite brand of man so I have to admit to not having a huge amount of sympathy for him or his plight.

          In this story the emphasis is largely on the were/shifter community with very little input from the vampires, Bill, Eric and co. (who are far more charismatic and appealing than the were community). In general, with the exception of Sam, Sookie's boss, the were/shifter community of Hotshot come across as very downmarket and whitetrashy, if there is such a word, and rather unappetising.

          However, Sookie is as quirky and appealing as ever, especially to every vampire and were in the area! And, in fact, that is one of my biggest problems with this book. Sookie has loved and lost two men already, has several others sniffing round and another potential lover looming on the horizon and all I want her to do is choose one mate and stick to them. Instead of which she's turning into a Southern Anita Blake.

          Book 4 of this series was such a blinder, featuring as it did the delectable Eric Northman, that I must admit I found this particular episode a bit of a disappointment. Don't get me wrong, the story is as well written as previous books in the series, pacy and engaging but just lacks that extra something. It does move the story forward though, and as with all the books in the series, it leaves you wanting more and I can tell you that with Book 6 it gets right back on track.

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