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).
Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.
Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.
But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough...
Okay, this is where I admit that I binge-read the last 3 books in the Sookie Stackhouse series in two days. Part of me is sad that I did this to myself—concluded a series that I’ve been stretching out and planning to savour for as long as possible. But once I had the final books in my hands, I just couldn’t quit reading!
I can see why others were disappointed with this ending, but to my eye it was foreshadowed from the very first book. What was required was for Sookie to gain some life experience and to learn some hard lessons about life and the motivations of other people. That’s what our twenties and early thirties are for—learning that the way that you were raised isn’t shared by everyone, not even your own family or the community where you grew up. Learning that not everyone who arrives when you have a problem is there to help you. Figuring out what you can live with and what you can’t, who you can trust and who you shouldn’t. Who is supportive of who you are and who will never be?
Sookie couldn’t have ended up in a happy relationship if she didn’t have some problematic ones to compare to. I can say from personal experience that I was much shallower in my salad days and much more impressed by personal appearance in a love interest than perhaps by his values. And I cried my share of tears when the heartless & handsome disappeared out of my life. Nowadays, I appreciate kindness more than a full head of hair, thoughtfulness over a handsome face. But you have to get there! The mating issue is the biggest thing to be dealt with during the second decade of life and we are making important decisions while inexperienced—a recipe for potential disaster.
Basically, this series of 13 books follows the growing up experiences of a naïve but good-hearted young woman. If I have any criticism, it’s that Sookie seems to become more concerned with Christianity during the last few books, something which felt off to me. For the whole series, Harris gives us far too much information about Sookie’s personal hygiene, what she does with her hair, and what she’s making for supper, but she also gives us the angst of those years, the hard experiences, the growing up, and eventually making better choices.
Possibly the best first & last lines of a series—from I’d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar to I’m Sookie Stackhouse. I belong here. I’m already missing having another Sookie book to read—I hope to re-read them at some point in the future.