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).
When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric the vampire—but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life.
I found this book (#4 in the series) to be the least enjoyable thus far, although I still read it in a single evening. To my way of thinking, this is a transitional volume—Sookie & Bill have broken up, so Sookie needs to find a new way to stay safe in the supernatural community that she is now aware of.
The good aspects? Harris continues her pretty accurate portrayal of small town life in North America (minus the vampires & werewolves, at least in my home town). It can be petty and gossipy, but when bad things happen, people come together to do something about them. Sookie becomes a free agent (Bill the Boring has been sent to Peru) and, because of who & what she is (a telepath), Sookie becomes the focus of a fair amount of supernatural male attention. After being ignored & scorned by regular guys for years, Sookie is starting to enjoy being the centre of attention for a change.
Another plus is that Sookie does not get beaten up in this episode and she starts to think about keeping herself safe, instead of leaving it up to the man in her life. I like her determination to belong to herself, not to any man of any stripe and to be capable of whatever she needs to be capable of.
Negatives? Well, Eric doesn’t remember the days that he has spent with Sookie once the curse is lifted from him, so they are back to square one. Amnesiac Eric is a much different guy than the regular Eric, confused and dependent. (And he unfortunately becomes a lot like Boring Bill). I need more background info on Eric—what was he like way back when he was human? How did he get to be the smart-mouthed Lothario that he currently is (when he’s not cursed)?
Although the vampires are quite well realized and have a logical framework to behave within, Harris just seems to throw in other beings with very little thought. The portrayals of witches and Wicca are down-right insulting, and she throws in a Maenad, shape-changers and fairies casually, just because she can.
This series is fluff & sugar, not great literature, but each volume represents an entertaining evening. Despite the drawbacks, I’m still enjoying the series and will definitely request the next book from the library sooner rather than later.