I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, but most of it’s been of two on-going series that I may have gotten a tiny bit attached to. Okay, maybe not so tiny. I’m actually really attached, and since I have enjoyed the books so much I wanted to go ahead and share my thoughts with you readers in two brief overviews.
I blame my mom for introducing me to both of these series, although admittedly one of them has been on my “I should really read that” list for months. That one is none other than the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, otherwise known as the Sookie Stackhouse novels or those books that True Blood is based on. The second is known as the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Both of these series pre-date the latest vampire craze, at least at the time of their first publication, but I’ve enjoyed the way both of them toe the line between vampire and human without getting all ooey-gooey (for the most part), and I’d love to see them get a resurgence in popularity.
The Southern Vampire Mysteries
The SVM follow a young telepath named Sookie Stackhouse as she navigates the emerging supernatural world around her. Vampires are “out of the coffin” and trying to live peacefully alongside humans. Over the course of thirteen books (the last of which is set to be released this spring), Sookie encounters not only vampires but werewolves and other shapeshifters, fairies, witches, maenads and more, and gets roped into political machinations and love polygons.
I love Sookie as a character. She’s sweet, clever, and practical; though she is routinely traumatized, she always tries to make the best of it and doesn’t get too jaded. She’s self-sufficient, and she owns her femininity without letting it define her or overshadow her capabilities. She falls in love carefully, but without bitterness or paranoia. The books are told from her perspective and her humor and attitude make it a very enjoyable read.
I’m a romantic, so I’m all about the love stories that happen over the course of the series. Eric is my favorite of Sookie’s lovers, and he’s one of the most fleshed-out vampires in the books. A former Viking, he’s ruthless, ambitious, cunning, and cheeky, and though he protects Sookie he doesn’t police her every move. For a long time, he’s confused and frustrated by his attraction to her, which I think is appropriate for a vampire.
The only critique that I really have is that despite all the things that happen in the series, there’s not actually that much action on the page. This is because it’s written from Sookie’s perspective, and though she is a telepath she is mostly human and therefore not really of too much use in fights, nor is she privy to a lot of the behind-the-scenes talks with the vampires. If she is present for action, it’s usually by mistake. Particularly in the later books (at least up until Dead in the Family), it’s mostly her wondering what is happening. This can be suspenseful, but it does get a bit old.
Overall, the series is wonderfully written and a very entertaining read. Harris’s structuring of the supernatural world, particularly the vampire and shapeshifter hierarchies, is really novel, and the way she writes about the merging (or clashing?) of the human world and the supernatural world feels very realistic. I recommend this series to anyone, since there’s a little something for everyone in it.
Next, I’ll review the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton!