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I am working my way through all of the Southern Vampire Mysteries books by Charlaine Harris. They follow the life of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress from Bon Temps.
In this book, Sookie's cousin Hadley has died and left Sookie an inheritance. Hedley was all ready a vampire and was a consort to the vampire queen of New Orleans. Someone seems to be trying to stop Sookie from looking too much into Hedley's possesions and a half demon is killed when on their way to give Sookie a message from the Queen. Sookie starts to date Were-tiger Quinn (think Clive from Cowboy builders those of you who saw the BBC 1 lunchtime show) who was in the last book and on their first date they are attacked by newly bitten weres. Sookie's life becomes at risk again and there are lots of suspects including Bill. Jason continues his life as a new were-panther with his grilfriend Crystal.
The vampires we have grown to love Bill and Eric are not in this book a huge amount which I do miss. My favourite part had to be when Eric tries staking his claim on Sookie to Quinn. Again I found it hard to put this book down and I never seem to be able to work out whodunit until the book lets you know. I still ended up hoping that Sookie gets back with Bill (maybe there is still hope after the ending of this one but then again after his big secret is revealed in the middle, maybe not) or the sublime Eric. Quinn's character is great it is so different from the others. To realy understand this book and the Hedley story, you need to read Charlaine Harris' short story One Word Answer in the anthology "Bite" according to her website but I am still yet to find this book. I am still in love with the series and will be starting the 7th one tonight.
I absolutely adore the Southern Vampire Mysteries, the books have been keeping me going during the True Blood drought between the end of series 2 and the start of series 3! The books are campy, fun and exciting, and paint such a rich picture of the south that I'm tempted to book my next holiday in Shreveport. (Alas there will be no Eric there...*sigh*)
Sookie develops more as a character in this book, branching out on her own after breaking away from Bill. Those who've read previous books know why! She heads out to New Orleans and learns more about vampire culture, and enters the employment of the Queen of Louisiana, who herself is quite the character. I prefer the version of the Queen shown in the books rather than the TV series, I must say.
A new love interest is introduced in the form of Quinn, a giant, slightly campy man who I keep picturing as constantly oily!
There are also more developments in the world of the weres, and other supes, including more about Debbie Pelt, and the appearance of Claudine, who will play a large role in Sookies life in the future.
All in all, a great installment of this fantastic series, a lighthearted slightly trashy book, but perfect for both guilty and guilt free pleasures!
Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris is the sixth book in the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, which are also known as the True Blood series. It costs anything from £1 to £7 depending on where you buy it from! The best deal is if you get it in the multi-pack that both The Book People and Amazon are presently selling, with the Book People offering the set of 8 books for only £8.99.
In this book, the main storyline is... Well actually I'm not sure. There were just so may different plots in this book that to be honest, I couldn't remain focused on what was happening, and I didn't really understand where this book was heading for. In the other books in this series, the author has picked one main plot, and then woven a network of interesting little subplots all around that. But in this book, the purpose and direction is distinctly lacking.
I lost my way several times while reading this book, not least because it doesn't follow directly on from the previous book in the series! Until just now when I checked out the current pricing of this book, I had just assumed I must have been missing something. However I now find that actually this book is following on from a short story that is printed elsewhere. How ridiculous? Should the short-story not have been included in this book somehow? Or printed as a preface perhaps?
A lot of this book focuses on Jason, who is now a werepanther. Previously he's been a pretty minor character, and to be honest I think he should have stayed that way. He's not really got much substance or personality or style, so I don't know why the author thought us readers would want to read so much about him. I don't think much of the new wolf on the block Quinn either. I really don't understand why Sookie would like him, and I didn't feel that he had anything new or different to bring to the series.
I didn't like the constant back and forth between Sookie and her various lovers either. It all got a bit too much like a soap opera for my liking. I actually felt like snapping at the book in my hands "oh goodness just pick one" in several places throughout this story. I didn't think much to her romancing a were either, especially since Sookie's allure is supposed to be towards vampires. It's the inconsistency and scrappiness of it all that annoys me really.
To be honest, you can either miss this one out, or just skim read it, if you're a fan of the series who is intending to read onto (the much improved) book number seven. There isn't too much happening in this book that will be of huge importance later on in the series, and you really won't be missing very much in the way of entertainment. This is my least favourite True Blood book and I really can't recommend it. I can, however, say that this is the low of the series so far, and that it's worth persevering with the series as a whole in spite of this mid-series let-down.
This is the sixth book in Charlaine Harris' True Blood series (recently made into a TV series and screened here last year).
**NB spoiler alert for those who haven't read the first five books in the series - a full list is at the end of this review**
I was so relieved, after being fairly bored by the fifth installment in this series, to discover that the sixth is a welcome return to form for Harris! As ever, the narrative is voiced by Sookie Stackhouse, the telepathic waitress from Bon Temps, who takes us through her trials and tribulations as she delves ever deeper into the supernatural world and handles her myriad of supernatural admirers!
Charlaine Harris certainly isn't shy about introducing ever more elements into her supernatural mythology, and on the whole I think she handles these well, building up an interesting alternative universe to books/shows such as Twilight and Buffy. Calvin, to whom we are introduced at the end of the first book, the shape-shifting tiger, is one of my favourite characters so far, and it's nice to see Sookie being courted by a man who seems wholly genuine for once! Although this doesn't mean any shortage of Bill/Eric action, and there are some great scenes involving both of them, particularly as Bill's initial motives for moving to Bon Temps are revealed. We also find out far more about the vampire Queen, and she is a great addition to the ensemble of characters.
My only gripe about this book is the very sudden introduction of Sookie's cousin Hadley - much of the action revolves around her previous death, and the estate which she has bequeathed to Sookie. This subject is handled as though it were covered in depth in another book - I actually thought at first that I had got the books in the wrong order! So that was a bit annoying as it threw me at the beginning. However, part of Hadley's backstory is revealed in a great scene involving another new character - the young and enthusiastic witch, Amelia. I get the impression that she will be added as a more frequent character which is great as she's fun, bubbly and smart - and a worthy friend of Sookie!
A small health warning - like many of the others in this series there is some pretty explicit sexual content in the book - not gratuitous, but still worth ensuring you're aware of it if you have younger readers about.
Overall a good return to form for the True Blood series, subject to the minor gripe voiced above!
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!
After finding the last offering from Charlaine Harris (Dead as a doornail), a little difficult to initially "get into", I was in two minds about reading the next instalment, but after realising that even though I have hundreds of books to get through, none of them were calling me, I decided to plunge in!
The book I will now review is - "Definitely dead by Charlaine Harris".
Warning!! This review will contain spoilers for the previous book, this is due to the books running on from each other.....SORRY!
After mentioning the fact that Sookie is almost relation less, on more than a couple of occasions in previous books, the only one relation that had been mentioned, Hadley a cousin who turned to drugs and disappeared from sight, suddenly turns up dead.
The fact that she actually turned up dead after being dead for many years doesn't surprise Sookie in the slightest, the fact that she has been the Queen of Louisiana's bi-sexual girlfriend for a good few years, yes a bit more interesting maybe, but the fact that she has been a vampire for the duration of that time......well Sookie is surprised, but why? The vamps seem to gravitate towards her at present in the bucket load!
Sookie is summoned by the Queen to come and clear out Hadley's apartment, with the underlying intention of using Sookies "special talent" (telepathy), to help her determine her new husbands plans for her subjects.
Couple this with Sookies newest addition to her life, a beautiful shape shifter on/off boyfriend Quinn, who incidentally can turn into a Bengal tiger, life is never going to be quiet!
But after arriving, Sookie soon realises that Hadley's death has uncovered more than a few family heirlooms for Sookie, and once again her life is put at risk, will she survive..........
As mentioned earlier the previous book wasn't the easiest to get into, but this one flowed beautifully from the offset, there is again a lot of action from the first few pages onwards, with a fair few new characters being added into the mix, in particular the so-called "royalty" of the vampire hierarchy, explaining how the similarities and differences between the races are not actually to dissimilar after all! (Apart from the blood drinking thing, obviously!).
This book moves away from Sookies home base, giving a flavour of New Orleans, but also meaning that many of the big characters from the previous books are left out entirely within this one, there is still enough to tie it to the previous books though, meaning you get new stories but with a little previous knowledge.
As with all the previous books there is a reasonable amount of sexual content within, with this book in particular containing heterosexual and homosexual references, so this books is obviously not recommended to anyone under 18.
Pricewise these retail at £6.99, though I am sure at this time of the year www.amazon.co.uk will have them available for a little less!
For more information visit - www.charlaineharris.com
Thanks for reading x
Definitely Dead, the 6th book in the sookie stackhouse series, carries on quite quickly after Dead As A Doornail, following the werewolf succession fight, Sookie's problems with werefox Debbie Pelt's death and her diminishing relationship with Debbies ex, werewolf Alcide Herveaux.
The main plot is set in New Orleans, where Sookies vampire cousin Hadley has died in mysterious circumstances and Sookie goes there to clear out her apartment. Hadley had been dating Sophie-Anne Leclerq, the vampire Queen of Louisiana whose political marriage to the King of Arkansas occurred the night before Hadley's death.
Sookie soon becomes friends with Amelia Broadway, Hadley's landlady and a witch, especially when they discover a werewolf who has been 'turned' in Hadley's wardrobe! With other witches they create a sort of ectoplasmic reconstruction to try and find out who the killer is. And of course she has to keep herself alive...not an easy thing for Sookie stackhouse, as someone again seems out to kill her!
A potential new lover, weretiger Quinn, who we briefy met in the previous book, appears on the scene and is involved throughout the plot. While not as likeable as Bill and Eric [we don't really see much of either in this book] he is an interesting character and does feature strongly in the next couple of books. We also meet Debbie Pelt's family who are refusing to believe their daughter has disappeared and are convinced sookie knows more than she is letting on.
I have now read all the sookie stackhouse series, but I still find the start of this one a little confusing as the book refers to events relating to Sookie's cousin Hadley's death and past which were not discussed in the previous novel. However Charlaine harris explains this on her website as follows:
"Q. When we hear about Cousin Hadley in DEFINITELY DEAD, it's like we're only getting part of the story.
A. Sookie's cousin Hadley's background is contained in the short story "One Word Answer," originally published in the anthology BITE. Laurell K. Hamilton is usually listed as the main writer in this anthology."
so perhaps worth a read?
All in all though this is another great book from Charlaine Harris. I absolutely love the sookie series and even though there is not much Bill/Eric in this book we do understand alot more about the political nature of the vampires. I don't mind Quinn too much, he seems to care for Sookie and can protect her during the day at least [lets face it, she needs constant 24 hour protection!!!!] Towards the end Bill confesses his love for Sookie and his deep regret for his deceipt, and we are left wondering if sookie can ever forgive him....lets hope so!
In some ways it felt more sinister than the other novels and by the end of the book it s clear that sookie is getting dragged further and further into the political intrigues of the vampire world.... next book, sookie has to go to the vampire summit, and all hell breaks loose!
do check out charlaines website, she does a 'book and blog' page where she reviews books....if you enjoy her writing, then there may be something else for you here. I've also read her Harper Connelly series which I really enjoyed. You can't really compare this series to the Sookie Stackhouse series; I think if you tried you would be disappointed with Harper, which is a shame because she is such a good character. You can find a chapter of the latest Harper Connelly on her website to see if you're going to enjoy the new character and storyline. I'll also try and do some reviews of the Harper series, as not all the Sookie series are available here for review.
My book this week was a present from a friend. I recently baby sat her two children and instead of payment she asked me the authors I liked as she knew I loved reading. I told her I liked Charlaine Harris and luckily she picked one of the ones I hadn't already read. A very kind and thoughtful gesture I thought.
About the author:
Charlaine Harris was born in Mississippi in 1951. She has been writing for the last 25 years. Her main series are the acclaimed Lily Bard Mysteries and the Sookie Stackhouse series. The latter of which she has already written eight novels with a new one planned for the early part of 2009. The book I am reviewing was written in 2006.
Synopsis of the book:
Sookie Stackhouse is a lady in her mid twenties, living in a small town called Bon Temps. She has a special talent, she is telepathic. This can be an advantage but it can also land her in trouble. Her cousin Hadley one of Sookie's few relatives and a vampire has been finally killed. So Sookie must go to New Orleans to sort out her effects and pack up her flat.
Hadley had become a favourite of the Vampire Queen Sophie-Anne, who is devastated by her death. Before she died Hadley took an expensive and valuable bracelet belonging to her former lover the Queen. This was a gift from the King and must be returned before he discovers it is missing.
Sookie is still coming to terms with killing Debbie Pelt and her family are pursuing her to try and find out what happened to her. As Sookie killed her, defending both herself and another Vampire Eric from her attack. She now fears trouble entering the Queen's domain and senses something is not quite right. But where is the danger coming from and more importantly why?
My thoughts on the book:
Overall my review of this novel was it was an enjoyable and good read. There were more things that I enjoyed, but there were a few things that disappointed me too with the book.
This is the third novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series that I have read. The first of which I completely loved while the second I was very disappointed in. This one seemed half way between the two extremes.
Being on my third book, I no longer struggle with the concept and the authors ideas on Vampires as this novel has plenty of them. I do however struggle with her other non-human creations, which have been brought in since the first book. I get confused between the Weres (Werewolves) and the Shape Shifters (Any animal) and who is what, not to mention what each can do.
I believe the author original concept of a telepathic barmaid becoming involved in the world of Vampires was an excellent (book 1). However since then she has brought in the other non-humans and to my mind they subtract from this wonderful original concept. As for me these others seem to lack creditability and I find it hard to relate to them.
From previous experience, Harris's books usually go straight into the main theme of the story. But this one did not. What it did do was provide a very good grounding in the life of Sookie Stackhouse. By doing this the author cleverly brought in a few events that played an important role later in the book. And by laying the ground work the story came to life and made more sense.
Even though it took ages for the real story to develop, it was always fascinating to learn more about the life of Sookie Stackhouse. It is so different from most people's and always full of danger, the unexpected and excitement. And unlike most novels you really have no idea what will happen next to her.
If I had never read a novel by this author I think I may well have struggled and wondered where on earth this story was going and what the point was. Once the story began in earnest at Hadley's flat it was action packed and full of mystery and suspense. Yes sometimes it was a little far fetched but it was always well written and I was never sure the good guys from the bad ones.
The story had a very exciting conclusion and what I particularly liked is the way the author tied up all the loose ends at this point including answering a few from previous books that had been brought up again. It was never the most dynamic storyline but it did manage to capture my imagination and keep it till the very end.
Sookie for me makes the book instantly readable as she is a superb character. She is so different from most lead characters in both personality and persona. I feel I can relate to her and I like the way she often doubts herself and she lacks self confidence. I feel the author writes for her in an imaginative and creative way that allows the reader to understand the telepaths thoughts and actions instinctively.
What I like about Harris's characters are not only they tend to be rich in detail so it is east to visualise them but they are interesting with conflicting personalities. Some appear in all the books so it is like seeing a familiar face again. I particularly like the Vampires, they always seem so fascinating, I actually think they could be on their own with Sookie and it would make for me far more interesting read.
The character in this book I struggled with was Quinn who was Sookie's new boy friend. He is a Shape Shifter but I much preferred it when she was dating a Vampire. I find his character dull and the interaction between the two annoying. I hope the author will kill him off in one of the later books as I see him as a poor character, lacking depth and a past life.
A feature that I do enjoy is the humour the author employs throughout the book. They are usually one liners and quite often in very serious or dramatic situations. I like the way the humour and sometimes sarcasm can be lost on some of the characters, notably the Vampires. It just adds a different and fun dimension to the novel.
The author's standard of writing his very good, but I do find her descriptions of the places Sookie visits a little lacking and disappointing. She has many opportunities to describe these exciting places but for me they are often dull and looking imagination.
The books length was about right for the story, with frequent chapter's signposting a change of scene. The writing style is easy to read and in general with sufficient detail to interest the reader without blowing their mind.
For me this was a good and exciting novel. I enjoyed the story and the majority of the characters the author created. This is definitely a must for Charlaine Harris fans but not as good as the first novel in the series but then isn't that always the case?
Publisher: Orion Books
About the author: www.charlaineharris.com
Thanks for reading my review.
@CPTDANIELS December 2008
Charlaine Harris first introduced us to the weird and wacky world of Sookie Stackhouse in 2001 when her first book, Dead Until Dark, was published. Definitely Dead is the sixth book in the Southern Vampires series and to fully appreciate it, it really is best to have read the previous five. In fact, there are eight books in this series so far, with the prospect of number nine coming next year.
Sookie works as a waitress in a bar in small town Louisiana, living in a parallel reality to ours where vampires have recently revealed themselves to humans. This has come about because of the invention of synthetic blood which means that vampires no longer need to feed off humans. Not only is Sookie a waitress but she is also telepathic 'though she cannot hear what vampires are thinking. Her telepathy has set her apart in many ways from her fellow humans and given her an empathy with supernatural beings of which there are many in Sookie's world.
Definitely Dead finds Sookie in New Orleans, before the time of the hurricane, following the death of her cousin Hadley. Hadley had become a vampire and had been involved in a relationship with Sophie Ann, the Vampire Queen of New Orleans. Now Hadley is no longer the living dead but the 'definitely dead' of the title, and she has named Sookie as her beneficiary. However, there are those who don't want Sookie looking too closely at Hadley's belongings or her past and before long, Sookie's life is in danger.
This is certainly not the best book in this series and there were times when I felt that the author had lost her way a bit. Sookie began life as a bit of a virginal loner and now has boyfriends aplenty and a very active love life! It wouldn't be possible to read this book as a stand-alone story and enjoy it as you certainly need to know the back story to fully appreciate this one. But if you have the time, and the inclination to begin at the beginning, you'll soon find yourself so immersed in Sookie's reality that you'll be begging for more.
The series so far:
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