Dear Readers,

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Trying to Decode the Sookie Stackhouse Appeal

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This is going to count as my review of Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead and Dead to the world--and then I'll check in later on when I finish the series.

Details I loved in these books, in shorthand so as not to give spoilers: Eric, Eric and more Eric who is funnier and less cruel than in True Blood. Alcide and Debbie Pelt, two characters I cannot wait to see next season. Sam Merlotte. The hotshot community. The development of the Pam character. Portia Bellefleur.

Now that I'm almost halfway done with these books, I've revised my opinion a little bit. After the first book left me amused, but a bit cold, I waited until the first season of True Blood was over to try the second book. Well that--and the next two--were a pleasant surprise, totally hooked me in and have since been sucking me in with an intensity which almost touches a Twilight-binge--without the self-loathing but also without the really pulpy, breathless prose. I've been powering through each one in about 3 to 4 straight hours.

What amazes me is how similar Sookie's tale is to Bella Swan's, with two huge and notable exceptions: sex and the heroine's personality. Sookie is a randy, sassy woman who likes to get bitten, with a killer instinct--where Bella is a chaste cipher, its true. But they share an outsidery perspective and a sad home life, and the excitement in both their stories comes from being constantly battered, ending up in the hospital or locked up somewhere in a Nancy Drew-like situation, and toted around like a sack of potatoes by a bunch of brawny male supernatural beings. (They both take Vampire horseback err, piggy-back rides, for instance.) They both have dueling love interests fighting over them, and their primary attraction has to do with telepathy.

Of course the tone of both series is different: Sookie's story is funny and kooky, wherein lies much of its appeal. More and more wacky supernatural creatures keep popping into the universe and unlike JK Rowling's world, this one feels like it's just being made up on the fly, but there's something rather endearing and funny about that. Twilight of course, has a wry humor but is mostly very. serious. in an adolescent way.

All of this leads me to think that the time is very, very ripe for a vampire-lit satire. I'll get on that after I read 5 more Sookie Stackhouse books.


  1. I've been reading these from my public library's e-book collection, so I actually started near the later end of the series (book 8, then book 9, then book 6) and have not yet read the first 2/3 of the series. I want to - but I'm willing to wait until my library acquires them all first (e-book waiting lines are shorter).

  2. Is there a (genuine) zombie-lit? In the context of vampire = aristocrat & zombie = workman, it's interesting.