The Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris

I can’t believe I discovered the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris only now–the first of this eight part series was published in 2001. I read seven of the novels over the past four days, while family, work, and house decayed around me.  

Sookie Stackhouse is a barmaid/telepath in a small Louisiana town filled with with vampires, werewolves and other supernatural beings (“supes”).  Goofy and vulnerable and iron-willed all at once, Sookie is the perfect antidote to the anaemic Bella of the Twilight series.  While Bella is constantly rescued by vampires from the bad guys, Sookie saves vampires from even worse things–while getting plenty of nookie along the way.  Though she’s a telepath, Sookie can’t read vampire minds ; she relies on courage and her wits to save her friends.

For all the characters’ hi-jinks in the twilight zone, the series is driven by the protagonist’s  likable persona–Sookie would be just as interesting if she hung out with the members of the Jane Austen Book Club rather than the sexy undead. Sure, several things that irritate me about the series, notably Sookie’s irresistable appeal to all supes–isn’t there one straight vampire who’s not in lust with her? And the plot sometimes lurches frantically from one set piece to another while killing off minor characters and introducing new ones at breakneck pace. But I’ll be pre-ordering book 9 on Amazon as soon as I finish typing this post. Move over, crack cocaine. 

HBO has a television series of the books, with  Anna Paquin cast as Sookie; here’s the trailer: 

I think I’d have liked the series more if I hadn’t read the books.  The television series feels studiedly dark and melodramatic compared to the novels; gone is the goofiness that made the books so unique. Tortured vampires and their enthralled human loves–that’s staler than yesterday’s guacamole. Will the real Sookie please stand up and kick some vampire-ass in the coming episodes?


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