Friday, September 30, 2011

More of the Southern vampire saga

32. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

The About:
In the fourth installment of the Sookie Stackhouse "Southern Vampire" novels, Bon Temps has unwittingly welcomed a couple of witches slightly more powerful than the local waitresses who dabble with Wicca practices during their free time and dye their hair black. When Eric the Vampire, sheriff of the area, appears in the middle of the night to Sookie not knowing who or what he exactly is, everyone is creeped out: necromancers are in town, and could with their powers kill all vampires by just sending them walking into the sunlight.

I have enjoyed reading these books while watching the series, because the series creator Alan Ball takes a lot of liberties with the TV show and thus, the storylines are not exactly the same. Although this book deals with the current 4th season of the TV show, it is also very different. Which actually is a shame: I feel like the show jumped the shark this season with having so many characters and story lines that my head is spinning: there's Sam the Shifter and his brother, the Weres and the Vampires, and another story for Tara, leaving Sookie--the main character!--just to prance around, smiling cutely and having sex with vamps. Oh, and then there is the story line of the witches, and another story line with Lafayette and his boyfriend who both can become possessed by demons. And I forgot: we also have to stop by occasionally to see how Andy Bellefleur is doing with his V addiction. Can't forget Sookie's brother, Jason, either and how he was mangled by the were-panthers. That's quite a lot to follow in one series, and hardly any of that is in the book!

The fourth book simply focuses on the witch story line and Sookie trying to figure herself out while trying to solve yet another mystery with the help of both living and the undead of all shapes. There is no Sam's asshole brother who has absolutely no redeeming qualities (why did they make him up for the TV show as such a big deal?), no V addiction issues, no being possessed by demons. And that's perhaps why the story in the book is so much smoother and easier to follow than the TV series at this point.

What's more, the books consistently have the same sense of humor and style, which have so far made the stories gel together really well. Unlike the books, the more the TV show creates its own characters and story lines, the more it makes Sookie a vapid, blonde side character. I really liked her in the first season, where she and the story were closest to the books: she was the sassy, stereotype-breaking Southern waitress who was quite quick on her feet. A lot of laughs. Now she's just... bleh. During first season, I also liked the differences: I liked that the show kept Lafayette around, and I thought the civil rights point of view brought to the vampire story was a smart move. But the further the seasons go, the more spread out the stories get with a dozen of story lines to follow and gratuitous nakedness thrown into the mix to distract the viewers from there not being anything else exciting going on.

So I'm happy to be reading the books, because although they do spoil the main events in the TV series for me, at least I get to have a glimpse of what the "real" Sookie would be doing in the TV series if the creators gave her the chance.

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