I’ve been debating for a few days about which of the authors that I read should win this accolade. I’ve finally settled on this one as I think that the themes in the book could only be described as a guilty pleasure. You won’t learn anything from reading these books: this is an urban fantasy series based in a fictional town and most of the characters have many flaws, even the protagonist. So it is purely for pleasure that I read these books.
This is the first book in a 13 book series about a small town in northern Louisiana where Sookie Stackhouse lives and works. You can imagine that you have the usual array of characters that would pepper any novel about small town America and the deep south but Sookie’s world is also filled with vampires that have come “out of the closet” after synthetic blood was created. The idea sounds ludicrous, but it actually makes for some fantastic story lines and has also spurned the hit HBO series True Blood. The tv series is a bit different to the books, which I think in a way is quite good; the writers don’t have to try to do the books justice because they are creating their own characters and story lines. Also, as a fan of the books and the tv series, the tv series hasn’t been spoilt by reading the books; I get to enjoy both equally.
Out of the series I have chosen this book in particular partly because it is the first book and also because it’s the book where you meet some of the best characters and where they make their first impressions on you. Sookie is still naive at this point about the world of vampires and one of the various love triangles in the series starts to form in this book (you thought twilight over did the love triangle, you thought wrong!). It’s a bit naughty in places, the language is definitely adult and overall it’s just fun to read. Each book is actually a mystery that somehow Sookie gets embroiled in, usually involving murder but then like a soap opera there are continuing story lines as well. When I first read the series I read the first eight books in ten days so you can see how easy to read and addictive these books are. As the series has drawn towards its conclusion it has started to lose its spark and also there are so many continuity errors throughout the series that it drives me crazy. To this day I still don’t know when one of the key events, the great revelation (when vampires revealed themselves), actually happened as the timescale keeps changing in each book. There are spelling errors throughout and characters called by other people’s names and that’s the tip of the iceberg. For example, in one book, a character called Claudine was also referred to as her dead sister Claudette and also Claudia. But then what would a guilty pleasure be without its flaws?
I wouldn’t say these books are for everyone, especially if you think every book should have a bit of substance, but if you are bored with your wishy-washy rom coms and fancy something with a bit more bite, give this book a try. It captured the imagination of Alan Ball, the writer of American Beauty, so at least one person agrees with me.