Yes, I've been reading vampire novels in October. Shocking. Not just any vampire novels, serial vampire novels! I understand if you question my judgment. I certainly do. After reading eight books back to back they all blend together. However, I can tell you that while Ms. Harris has created a new rush in reading, her writing and storytelling doesn't improve through the course of books. Reading an entire series of books is a feat. And if authors are going to put out a series, they need to gradually raise the bar to keep readers interested. Ms. Harris has created a half-cooked heroine in Sookie Stackhouse. She's a cute, country mouse with telepathy And she stays that way, through all eight books. Yes she's charming and brave and weird, but we never see her evolve. Sookie constantly questions her telepathic ability as being a talent and instead calls it a disability. Sookie goes up against vampires, shape-shifters, fairies, were-animals, killers and surly bar-patrons. But never once do these experiences make her smarter. Friends and relatives die and these tragedies don't shape her ways. Ms. Harris only tells us Sookie is sad, never shows us. Even Harry Potter got sick of his bad luck.
Another way Ms. Harris keeps Sookie down is her country bumpkin language. Sookie keeps tearing off pages from her “Word a Day” calendar, yet her own language never improves and Ms. Harris makes it a point to let us know when Sookie is using her “Word a Day” calendar, which wears thin. I mean, if you're sleeping with vampires, you should know what exsanguinates means.
Ms. Harris also keeps Sookie's good-girl image so squeaky clean that four out of the eight books that I read didn't have any sex in them. No. Sex. Isn't the point of writing a vampire novel sexual by nature? Even Twilight had more sexual tension for crying out loud! While Ms. Harris does a great job of creating real world scenarios with these mythical creatures, she focuses so tightly on Sookie that we never see the background or history of any of the other characters, and I'm sorry, but Sookie is boring. There I said it. Even with her ability, she's boring. Only once does Sookie believe in her own powers enough to use them to help, in All Together Dead. For that reason, All Together Dead is the best of the books that I read. Sookie must use her ability to save lives, but feels that even though the world has accepted vampires into society, she will be singled out for her telepathy and forced to use it in rescue operations and she doesn't want that much attention or pressure. It's sad and selfish and you can't blame her for the decision she makes, but this is the most interesting character dilemma Sookie faces. I don't count “should I sleep with the gorgeous blond vampire, the gorgeous dark haired vampire, or the big, sleek, handsome were-tiger?” much of a dilemma ? poor Sookie.
Now some thoughts on the books versus the HBO series “True Blood;” the books stray away from the series early on, so if you are watching and aren't reading (like I was) nothing is too redundant. If you've read the books and haven't watched the series, I think the series is better. HBO has fleshed out more characters and there is way more sex in True Blood, which is why most people like vampire stores right, the sex? “True Blood” also has more comic relief than the books do, and with the scope of the world Ms. Harris has created, she takes it far too seriously. I can see where fans of the books are such fans of the show. But if you haven't read the books, there is nothing in them that outshines what happens on the show.
Unfortunately, I have a hard time recommending these books to someone who has seen the show. They are light, fun, little books with a southern flare. If the hard-core vampire stuff creeps you out, these are just the books for you. If you like Stephanie Plum, you'll like Sookie Stackhouse. If you like Anne Rice, you'll yawn. Whereas Stephanie Meyer wrote about boys, Charlaine Harris writes the men, but not nearly enough for my taste, pardon the pun.