I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Things between cocktail waitress Sookie and her vampire boyfriend Bill seem to be going excellently (apart from the small matter of him being undead) until he leaves town for a while. A long while. Bill's sinister boss Eric has an idea of where to find him, whisking her off to Jackson, Mississippi to mingle with the under-underworld at Club Dead. When she finally catches up with the errant vampire, he is in big trouble and caught in an act of serious betrayal. This raises serious doubts as to whether she should save him or start sharpening a few stakes of her own ..
The third installment of Sookie, and I feel that she represents many of the best qualities of a Southern woman. Her appearance is important to her, but beneath that obvious outer layer, there is a strong, tough woman lurking, one who can handle a shotgun or a baseball bat. She’s no shrinking violet, more like a steel magnolia.
Sookie is generally content with her lot in life, which is small town life, and this may annoy more ambitious readers. I have some sympathy for her, having grown up in a small community. I knew that I needed to get out, but plenty of others don’t feel that same drive to leave. They are quite happy to repeat their parents’ pattern of working & raising children in a familiar place.
The addition of Bill to Sookie’s life has made it feel closer to complete, but Bill has proven that being a vampire doesn’t mean that he is ideal partner. In some ways, it’s a shame that Sookie has committed herself to the first “man” that she has ever seriously dated. This may also be a side effect of small town life—compatible partners are of limited number and societal pressure to pair up is strong.
Add to that the fact that Bill is busy providing monetary resources for his descendants, the Bellefleurs, and overlooking Sookie’s financial needs. The many “jobs” that the vampires involve her in take her away from her source of income. No one makes riches waiting tables, but one does what one must in a small town environment. Every shift that Sookie misses makes it harder to meet her financial obligations, a realistic aspect of the novel that I can appreciate as a single, working woman. But Sookie abides by Southern standards—she won’t be asking for money, Bill will have to offer.
Can Eric take advantage of this situation? He’s certainly trying to. On to the next book to see what develops!