I bought the box set. Yes, all seven of the Sookie Stackhouse series (and, I'm sorry, but that poor girl has been cursed with a hell of a name. I say that as somebody whose first and second names literally (and obviously) translate to Loving Little Flower. My parents were doing the weird name shit long before celebrities made it fashionable).
I justified it as a) I'm going to read all the damn things anyway and b) so $55 for eight books is a good price, especially since I can replace the pristine first book with my own slightly battered copy and use it as a present.
I then made the mistake of reading all the fuckers in about a week. This broke my brain. I've been reading, but avoiding the reviewing portion of this cannoball read, overwhelmed by the prospect of reviewing this series. So I've procrastinated, and certain people *coughgpcough* have been reviewing like mad, and keep telling me to 'suck it' via their facebook status. I'm not sure what 'it' is, exactly, although the suggestions in the comments have been wonderfully educational.
The main reason for my reticence, I think, is that I'm so damn conflicted about the series. I should like it. It ticks more than enough of my boxes. But for some reason, it's left me a little... flat. I found myself skimming portions then going back and forcing myself to read them properly.
I don't know why. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the books to friends. They're well-written, and the only characters I want to spork are the ones who deserve to be severely sporked. The plots are reasonably well-crafted, and I appreciate that Harris included the Hurricane Katrina disaster in the later books, instead of taking the easy and understandable option of the 'alternative world' excuse.
Although, on second thought, some of the ways she handled it kinda pissed me off. See, here's my problem. My first thoughts are positive, my second thoughts are negatives, and my thought thoughts are wondering why I'm not drinking more of the alcoholic banana milkshake the ITGeek just provided for me.
So here's the deal: I'll work my way through the books and let my first and second thoughts argue it out, and also work my way through this drink, to keep my third thoughts happy.
Living Dead in Dallas
The plot: Sookie's coworker LaFayette is found murdered in the boot of the sherriff's car. A Maenad has camped in the woods and literally tears strips off Sookie to send a message to Eric's vampires. As a result, Sookie heads to the titular Dallas to help out another clan of vampires find one of their own and has a run-in with the Fellowship of the Sun. That's about the basics.
First thoughts: I have a whole new respect for Sam, okay? Callisto is one hell of a fuck-buddy. The conversation Sookie had with Eric when she asked for his help finding LaFayette's killer cracked me up, especially when she countered his invitation with her own, far more bizarre one.
Second thoughts: I can't say much without spoilering, but the Fellowship of the Sun 'investigation' even pissed off the first thoughts. Seriously? These guys know you well enough to kidnap one of your own, and you just send your human sidekicks into their centre of operations wihtout any sort of back-up plan? Stan must have learnt how to avoid destruction from a fucking Bond villian.
Third thoughts: Yum. More drink, please.
The plot: Bill's lost interest. Bill gets lost. Well, Bill goes to Mississippi and ends up being kidnapped for the sake of some computer program. Sookie takes herself after him, only to discover he's been busy fucking somebody else, the same somebody else who kidnapped him. She also spends time with a Werewolf.
First thoughts: Knew Bill wouldn't last. Wait, is that a second thought? I don't know. Okay, I liked Alcide, and the part with the body in the closet.
Second thoughts: A vampire directory? That's a big deal? Why? Obviously, I've missed something. Like why a particularly enterprising human couldn't have done it already. There are message boards discussing (and possibly reviewing?) prostitutes, no way in hell there wouldn't be a vampire equivalent amongst the fang-bangers. Seriously, the internet would have produced Google Vampire ten days after they'd Revealed themselves.
Third thoughts: Need another drink. It appears that there's still some milkshake left over. Woot!
Dead to the World
The plot: Eric turns up minus his memory, thanks to some crazy werewolf witches. Jason goes missing, and is changed forever as a result. Sookie looks after Eric and it turns out that, sans memory, she wants him bad. There's some epic battles.
First thoughts: Can't think. Too much hot sex.
Second thoughts: I think I've worked out one of my problems with Sookie.
She's a junkie. She knows she's addicted to vampires, she knows they're not good for her. For fuck's sake, her new year's resolution was to not get the holy fuck beat out of her! But, like every junkie, she keeps going back for her hit. Even though she knows its going to screw her up - break her heart, or her bones, or possibly her mind. They're not human. They hunted humans for centuries, that's not something that can be stopped with a bit of synthetic blood and acceptance by society. After all, that's the society they fed off. Sookie knows this, and despises how they act, but she needs her hit.
That's why her relationship with Eric made her so happy. She was getting her vampire fix, without having to deal with any of the icky moral issues or potential risks. All that hot sex is just a rich, dark chocolate icing on a cake that's actually quite off-putting. Like it's gone stale, or been laced with rat turds.
And about this point, I started getting a Supernatural overload. Vampires, Shifters, Maenads, Werewolves and now, witches.
Third thoughts: How did I end up with so little milkshake?
Dead as a Doornail.
The plot: Somebody's going around killing werewolves and shifters, and Jason is suspect number One.
First thoughts: Tara broke my heart. Alcide did too. Quinn intrigues me. Claudine is as cute as a button. The sub-plot involving Charles was well-crafted, as well as the main mystery. Okay, I admit it - I didn't guess either of them.
Second thoughts: Nothing major. Although I sighed over the addition of faries to this dictionary of the supernatural.
Third thoughts: No more milkshake. Do I stop now, or break out a different booze?
First thoughts: No more booze.
Second thoughts: We're in perfect agreement on that one.
I'll review the remaining three books tomorrow.