REVIEW: The Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire Mysteries Series, by Charlaine Harris

imagesAdd to GoodreadsI’d give the entire series – the ups and the downs – good and bad still, 4 outta 5 stars. I know Sookie can be mind-numbingly stupid at times, and you wonder how the hell she gets herself into these situations. But she ALWAYS has me coming back for more. I’m a faithful reader, no matter how many times I roll my eyes at things.

I hadn’t read the books until I saw True Blood. The 2nd season was about to start on HBO and I had a freebie HBO weekend – BIG MISTAKE! Because I was instantly hooked, and the weekend ran out before I finished season 1. After I called my cable provider, I was googling around and found that it was based on a series of books. My boyfriend at the time, (husband now) bought me the box set of books 1-8. I devoured them in 5 days. No joke. I was telling anyone and everyone (probably annoyingly) OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THESE!

Sure, not every book is a gold star – and sometimes they’re down right boring. But it’s bad enough Harris has to put Sookie in half of the horrible circumstances as it is. I mean seriously, how many people could want to kill a waitress from Bon Temp Louisiana?

But now that the series is over (for better or worse) I will miss Sookie – Eric – Bill and all the torment they ensued in poor Sookie’s life. I’ll miss the drama – I’ll miss the vampire/human smut. I’ll miss them all. And now that HBO has announced, this next season 7 will be it’s last – There really won’t be anymore Sookie. And that makes me sad – even if the series books and TV show aren’t always the greatest – I’m still faithful to them both.

I’m going to give you the reading list in order – and what I thought of each book.

Book 1: Dead until Dark: 4 stars –  (BLURB: Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She’s quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn’t get out much. Not because she’s not pretty. She is. It’s just that, well, Sookie has this sort of “disability.” She can read minds. And that doesn’t make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He’s tall, dark, handsome–and Sookie can’t hear a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting for all her life….But Bill has a disability of his own: He’s a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of–big surprise–murder. And when one of Sookie’s coworkers is killed, she fears she’s next.) REVIEW: It’s the first in the series, and probably one of my favorites. Bill & Sookie’s relationship is just forming, it’s entertaining, sexy and Harris has a great way of always keeping us guessing.

Book 2: Living Dead in Dallas:  5 stars – (BLURB: Sookie Stackhouse likes living in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and she likes working as a cocktail waitress at Merlotte’s. But she is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face-to-face with a beastly creature which gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it). The point is: the vampires saved her life. So when one of her bloodsuckers asks for a favour, she obliges-and soon Sookie’s in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She’s supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave, and let the humans go unharmed. But that’s easier than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly.) REVIEW: I loved this one even more than the first. It was exciting, nail biting – and there was soooo much going on, but Harris doesn’t let you get lost. PLUS this is where Eric gets brought into the mix … and well, he’s a viking vampire and well, he’s Eric-Fucking-Northman

Book 3: Club Dead: 5 stars – (BLURB: Things between cocktail waitress Sookie and her vampire boyfriend Bill seem to be going excellently (apart from the small matter of him being undead) until he leaves town for a while. A long while. Bill’s sinister boss Eric has an idea of where to find him, whisking her off to Jackson, Mississippi to mingle with the under-underworld at Club Dead. When she finally catches up with the errant vampire, he is in big trouble and caught in an act of serious betrayal. This raises serious doubts as to whether she should save him or start sharpening a few stakes of her own.) REVIEW: Things start to heat up in this book. Things between Sookie & Eric, and where the hell is Bill? Alcede and the werewolf packs get introduced – and a whole lot of mystery is going on as Sookie takes off in search of her missing boyfriend, and of course Eric is there to help, or not help the situation. Doesn’t matter really, it’s Eric :).

Book 4: Dead to the World: 5 stars – (BLURB: Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She has only a few close friends, because not everyone appreciates Sookie’s gift: she can read minds. That’s not exactly every man’s idea of date bait – unless they’re undead; vampires and the like can be tough to read. And that’s just the kind of guy Sookie’s been looking for. Maybe that’s why, when she comes across a naked vampire, she doesn’t just drive on by. He hasn’t got a clue who he is, but Sookie has: Eric looks just as scary and sexy – and dead – as ever. But now he has amnesia, he’s sweet, vulnerable, and in need of Sookie’s help – because whoever took his memory now wants his life.) REVIEW: Things are up in the air for Sookie. Bill isn’t in the picture, and some pesky witches have come into town causing trouble. Eric has lost his memory and though he knows he’s a vampire, he doesn’t know that he’s a throat sucking asshole to takes what he wants and is the Sheriff of his territory. Sookie saves him – and something awakens him… one of my favorites of the series. 

Book 5: Dead as a Doornail: 3 stars – (BLURB: Small-town cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has had more than her share of experience with the supernatural—but now it’s really hitting close to home. When Sookie sees her brother Jason’s eyes start to change, she knows he’s about to turn into a were-panther for the first time—a transformation he embraces more readily than most shapeshifters she knows. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population, and Jason’s new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who’s behind the attacks—unless the killer decides to find her first.) REVIEW: This was a snoozer for me. But it was interesting to meet more of the Hotshot werepanther clan, and find out there are more shapeshifters in the area that anyone knew. But still, it was a bit of a bore.

Book 6: Definitely Dead: 4 Stars – (BLURB: As a person with so few living relatives, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse really hated to lose one. But she never guessed that it would be her cousin Hadley—a consort of the Vampire Queen of New Orleans. After all, technically speaking, Hadley was already dead. And now, as unexpected heir to Hadley’s estate, Sookie discovers the inheritance definitely comes with a risk. Someone doesn’t want Sookie looking too deeply into Hadley’s past—or for that matter, Hadley’s possessions. And they’re prepared to do anything in their power to stop her. But who? The range of suspects runs from the Rogue Weres who reject Sookie as a friend of the Pack to the Vampire Queen herself, who could be working through a particularly vulnerable subject—Sookie’s first love, Bill. Whoever it is, they’re definitely dangerous—and Sookie’s life is definitely on the line.) REVIEW: This book was more interesting then the last. We haven’t heard a lot about Sookie’s family, and when Hadley dies – Sookie has to go and clean out her apartment. Bring in Quinn – the Weretiger, and things REALLY start to get interesting. First warm blooded lover Sookie has ever had – and things are already getting screwed up! Sookie knew Hadley was a vampire when she died, but she didn’t know all the secrets her cousin was keeping – and from some pretty powerful vamps to boot!

Book 7: All Together Dead: 5 Stars – (BLURB: Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has her hands full dealing with every sort of undead and paranormal creature imaginable. And after being betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Sookie must not only deal with a new man in her life—the shapeshifter Quinn—but also contend with the long-planned vampire summit. The summit is a tense situation. The vampire queen of Louisiana is in a precarious position, her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans. And there are some vamps who would like to finish what nature started. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she’ll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.) REVIEW: I’d put this one in my top 4 favorites. There is SOOOO much going on, introducing new characters – and the power struggle between Eric & Quinn for Sookie’s affection. In my heart I’m rooting for Eric – even if he is a control freak – but Quinn is sweet, I just can’t get past the baggage he is bringing into their relationship with his mother and sister. Sookie NEEDS simple, and although Eric isn’t simple? He protects her above anything else. A lot happens in this book, I read it twice – right after another and found more I loved about it. It left me re-energized for the series and wanting more.

Book 8: From Dead to Worse: 3.5 stars – (BLURB: After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the manmade explosion at the vampire summit, everyone human and otherwise is stressed, including Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who is trying to cope with the fact that her boyfriend Quinn has gone missing. It’s clear that things are changing whether the weres and vamps of her corner of Louisiana like it or not. And Sookie, Friend to the Pack and blood-bonded to Eric Northman, leader of the local vampire community is caught up in the changes. In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death, and once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood finished flowing, her world will be forever altered.) REVIEW: This one didn’t hook me in. It could be because book 7 was such a high – so much going on – but this one? It was just O.K. I was so over the Quinn relationship and hoping Sookie would just submit to Eric and be his. (Yes – I’m a HUGE Team Eric girl.) But the whole story, it just didn’t grip me – didn’t leave me wanting more…

This one I call Book 8.5: A Touch of Dead: 4 stars – (BLURB: Every Sookie Stackhouse short story ever written—in one special volume—from the New York Times bestselling author. Stories include “Fairy Dust,” “One Word Answer,” “Dracula Night,” “Lucky,” and “Giftwrap.”From Books 4, 5, 7 and 8.) REVIEW: This was a nice little novella to tide me over until Book 9 was released – but it wasn’t amazing. Some stories added interesting tidbits and others just weren’t necessary for me. But I still liked it, and they were all enjoyable stories.

Book 9: Dead and Gone: 5 stars – (BLURB: Except for Sookie Stackhouse, folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana, know little about vamps-and nothing about weres. Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to reveal their existence to the ordinary world. At first all goes well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found near the bar where Sookie works-and she feels compelled to discover who, human or otherwise, did it. But there’s a far greater danger threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings-older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves-is preparing for war. And Sookie finds herself an all-too human pawn in their battle.) REVIEW: This book revs up the engines and brought in A LOT of the fae. We get some back story of Sookie’s grand father – and the fae ware ensues. Sookie is surround by a myriad of supernatural creatures – some good and always, some bad. Of course, some one is out to kill her – and this one might surprise you.

Book 10: Dead in the Family: 4.5 Stars – (BLURB: It’s all about family …Sookie Stackhouse is dealing with a whole host of family problems, ranging from her own kin (a non-human fairy and a telepathic second cousin) demanding a place in her life, to her lover Eric’s vampire sire, an ancient being who arrives with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow at a most inopportune moment. And Sookie’s tracking down a distant relation of her ailing neighbour (and ex), Vampire Bill Compton. In addition to the multitude of family issues complicating her life, the werewolf pack of Shreveport has asked Sookie for a special favour, and since Sookie is an obliging young woman, she agrees. But this favour for the wolves has dire results for Sookie, who is still recovering from the trauma of her abduction during the Fairy War.) REVIEW: I really liked this book, we saw a whole new side to Eric – in a good/bad way and got a lot of back story of who his master is – and also his brother. Eric & Sookie’s relationship is heading in 10 different directions and Sookie is scared that she is loosing her strong viking sheriff she’s become accustom to. She blames it all on his maker, but I have a feeling Eric just doesn’t like to show any weakness, especially to Sookie. Secrets are revealed – some that will leave you wanting to throw the book across the room.

Book 10.5: The Sookie Stackhouse Companion: 4 Stars – (BLURB: Take a closer look at Sookie and her family, friends, enemies, adventures, and-of course-the lovers who set her world on fire…Visit Bon Temps, the small Louisiana town that Sookie calls home, with a detailed map created by Charlaine herself, and learn the characteristics of the supernaturals who live there: vampires, two- natured, and fae. Examine all the branches of Sookie’s family tree. And eavesdrop on the private conversations between rival vampires Eric and Bill. Also, enjoy the compelling, never-before-published novella “Small- Town Wedding,” in which Sookie accompanies her shape-shifting boss, Sam, to his brother’s wedding in Texas, where happily-ever-after seems very far away….) REVIEW: For the true-die-hard-fan of the Sookie Books this is a great companion novel – and a great segue into book 11. Anything that was going to keep me distracted on the year wait is good. The text messages/emails between Bill & Eric were hysterical – and the wedding story, of when Sookie went with Sam to his brother’s wedding was worth the whole book. It showed an interesting parallel to what is happening outside of Bon Temps, and how the Were’s are being treated else were.

Book 11: Dead Reckoning: 4 Stars – (BLURB: With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his “child” Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows…) REVIEW: This book was good and kept me entertained. But I did feel something was lacking. I don’t know if it was the change in Eric – and his relationship with Sookie, or all the secrets – and who-done-it going on through out the story. We’re left with a very strange and exciting ending that still leaves me wondering WTF – seriously??

Book 12: Deadlocked: 4 Stars – (BLURB: Sookie has a murder investigation on her hands. A young girl has died at a vampire party – and it looks as though her lover, Eric, might be responsible. Eric swears he didn’t do it, the police don’t believe him, and even Sookie isn’t so sure. Nor is she inclined to take his word for it, not having caught him enjoying the victim’s blood minutes before she was killed. But something strange is going on. Why had Sookie been asked to come to the fateful party a few minutes early – just to catch Eric in the act? And why had the victim spiked her own blood before approaching Eric? Was it simply because she wanted to be irresistable, or was it something more sinister? Sookie will have to find out … but it’s the worst moment to investigate, as her Fae family are having troubles of their own and Sookie is, inevitably, drawn in. And there is one last complication. The cluviel dor her grandmother left her. It will grant her one wish, which could fulfil Sookie’s heart’s desire. The only problem is, she still doesn’t know what – or who – her heart truly desires …) REVIEW: Still, with the who-done-its. This book was more mystery and trying to find out who’s trying to frame Eric then there is romance (which I wanted more knowing Book 13 would be her last.) But it was still good – still kept me in the mode of wanting more and more and more. Trying to figure out who did it, and coming up short – my guesses all wrong. Which is a good thing, it shows how well Harris can write a story. But it still made me sad to know that this was the 2nd to the last book, and I’d only be waiting one more year to find out what happens to Sookie and her clan of supernatural misfits.

The Final Book – Book 13: Dead Ever After: 3.5 Stars – (BLURB: There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart…Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated. Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime. But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…) REVIEW: I won’t lie – I was highly disappointed in the finale. It just fell flat for me and I don’t know how much of it is the actual story, or that I had my hopes SOOOOO high for something that just wasn’t attainable for poor-ole-Sookie. The ending baffeled me, and I felt like Harris took the easy way out – but with zero build up for it. It just seemed to come out of no where, and quite honestly grossed me out a little. I won’t go into too many details – still worth the read, and a pretty little bow ending (even if I hated it.)

Book 13.5 (Because there HAS to be one last companion book. After Dead: What came next in the world of Sookie Stackhouse: (BLURB: Dead Ever After marked the end of the Sookie Stackhouse novels—a series that garnered millions of fans and spawned the hit HBO television show True Blood. It also stoked a hunger that will never die…a hunger to know what happened next. With characters arranged alphabetically—from the Ancient Pythoness to Bethany Zanelli—bestselling author Charlaine Harris takes fans into the future of their favorite residents of Bon Temps and environs. You’ll learn how Michele and Jason’s marriage fared, what happened to Sookie’s cousin Hunter, and whether Tara and JB’s twins grew up to be solid citizens. This coda provides the answers to your lingering questions—including details of Sookie’s own happily-ever-after…The book will feature extensive interior art by acclaimed Sookie artist Lisa Desimini, including a Sookieverse Alphabet, color endpapers, and several full-page black and white interior illustrations.) I have yet to read this one. I think I’m still mourning my series ending and the strange way it ended. I’ll eventually pick this up and read through it. There are so many characters throughout this series it’ll be a good refresher.

So as you can see, not all the books are perfect, but then again – in any series you’re going to have your flaws. I loved this series, the good and the bad and part of me wishes she would have continued on with it. But, like with anything else – it has to come to an end.

Good-bye Sookie – we’ll miss you!

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