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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Fairy on May 14th 2010, 1:31 am

Of course, I want to see more fairies too.
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  TheDude on May 29th 2010, 7:25 pm

Because I've been busy with stuff, I finally am getting a chance to put my opinions on this.

I can't believe anyone hasn't said this yet, but am I the ONLY one who saw foreshadowing of getting a "Sookie/Sam" relationship soon? All the talk of how Sookie doesn't like Sam's new fling, how he is trying to turn a new leaf, how he doesn't like Eric that much, their dinners at Crawdad Diner, etc?

Also, my main problem with the book was that the final chapter seemed to be very "deus ex machina" for me. Everything wrapped up too quickly. The other books usually have a "take a breather" final chapter after everything. As the storylines were being wrapped up in the final chapter, I was like, "but there are only two pages left. What the Hell?"

I understood the Hunter thing and I understand the reluctance to make him a major character ... yet. I think she's taking her time introducing this character fully before making him a major periphery character. Plus, Sookie's world is a dangerous one for a 5-year-old.

Honestly, I think Charlaine was intending to kill off Bill until she saw how popular he was on True Blood, hence the shift. I think she's setting up Sookie/Sam. But in order to keep the Bill girls happy, she has given him happiness in the form of this "mystery sister" who can heal him.

As far as Pam v. Alexei - and why she nearly died - I give you the same argument Pam gave Sookie in the fight early on. "He had the knife. She didn't have a knife." So he had a weapon in addition to the fangs and vampire strength. Plus, he's quick. I didn't see that as "nonbelievable." And if Eric wasn't aware of what was going on 100 percent at the time - these fights are quick - then I can see Alexei doing some damage to her. It's not just about age in vampire fights, or else the twins would not be dead.

Not the best book in the series - I still think that's the fourth one - but it wasn't horrible. Personally, I'm tiring of the Were pack and am ready for some books with little to no mention of them. Narrow the focus on the vamps and what all is going on. Too many supes in this one - i.e. weres, fae, vamps. Narrow the focus and you have a better story.

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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Scarlett Harlot on May 30th 2010, 2:20 am

That was a great review Dude!! study
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  raki on May 30th 2010, 10:46 am

I'm 100% with you Dude on the whole Sam/ Sookie deal. I've been thinking that for the past three books now. I think CH will end up with those two as a couple...imho

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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  SugarMags on May 30th 2010, 10:59 am

I have always been of the opinion that there'll be a Sookie/Sam ending. Logically, the match makes sense in what Sookie has always wanted for herself. She wants a normal family, with kids, she wants to stay in Bon Temps. Sam can give these things to her while understanding her "condition".
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Lina on June 22nd 2010, 6:40 am

Personally, I didn't read it, but the reviews give me a clearer picture as to why I stuck to my guns. I hate to say it, but from Book 1 and on, the writing and plots have always seemed rushed and overwhelming. I read all 9 books, but I would be lying if I said they enraptured me. The writing has always been a bit sloppy and AB found the storyline, not how the story was written intriguing enough to jump on it. The show has talented writers and blow away the books. They simply needed the idea, which CH has great ones, but she has, to me, failed to always collaborate those great ideas slowly and wonderfully.

Sookie in the books comes across as cold, callous...like a horny, college kid with massive insecurities to me. Eric always comes off as weakened or bitched out, Bill as a flake. Yet when you watch these great actors bringing these roles alive, they are ten times more amazing than the books, to me at least.

Thanks for the reviews, all!
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Aslinn Dhan on June 22nd 2010, 10:29 am

I think you and I probably feel the same way about the books. I love the characters she has created and I love the story lines but her abilities as a writer really leaves me wishing that I would read it with a pen and scribble out the poorly written stuff and rewriting it. My books would then look like Harry Potter's spell book, pages blackened with my own story and corrections on hers.

But, one of the problems she had with the book was that she wrote it in first person. Since she limits our range of vision to just what Sookie sees, we have a very unreliable witness, often colored with Sookie's knowledge and her range of experiences. Which despite her contact with the supernatural world is often uninformed. Instead of a word of the day calendar and historical romance books, if I were Sookie, I would be reading everything I could about the supernatural world, and keeping a diary of everything I learn about that world. Especially if I intend on in living in that world.

Charlaine Harris, I think, has a real vendetta against men. I don't know if it is because she suffered a sexual assault in her young adulthood or what, but Charalaine does not like the men in her books. I have chatted about this with several Truebies, and if you look at the men in Sookie's life, they are mistreated and abused namely because of her.

Bill- Yes, I know, he does a bad thing...but if you look at it, he is Charlaine Harris's first victim. She always judges, she never truly accepts, and she treats Bill like a dust rag, pulling him to her when she needs him, throwing him away when she doesn't.

Eric-Eric is shot, beaten up, nearly raped, and generally abused because of her. His position in the Vampire world which seems to be by the hair on his head is always challenged because of her. And she never listens, either to him or any other Vampire, except when it directly effects her, and by then, it is almost too late.

Sam-That is the sorriest, loneliest bastard in Bon Temps. And he is always charring his ass on her back burner. But he is always there for her, and she is never grateful. In fact, there have been times when she has told a hero, Sam included: I really should be grateful and thank you, but I just don't have the energy. Find it Sookie.

Alcide- If you look up the word Pussy Whipped when you read the third book, you would find Alcide. Charlaine takes all the bite out of this pup. He becomes a whiny, unreliable, lovelorn swain in all of about five minutes and Sookie is left with yet another useless man who just wants to use her gifts....like all the men in her life.

Calvin- I get it...Sookie didn't want to live at Hot Shot and look at all the kids he sired, but Calvin liked her and treated her with respect and took the punishment for the doings of Crystal, yet another man being emasculated because of a woman.

Quinn- Momma's Boy Supreme. She pulled kitty's claws and made him unreliable and unavailable. Sure, he killed Andre for Sookie so she would not be bothered with him, but Sookie, ever ungrateful, gets rid of him in short order.

Jason- CH has screwed poor Jason since book one. The last book seems to be the only time he is near happy. She made him the focus of a murder investigation, got him kidnapped by a crazy were panther, hooked him up with the biggest slut this side of Monroe, killed his unborn baby, and is just now giving Jason a break...but who knows what will happen in Book 11....CH could always change her mind.

Claude- I know you are saying: Sookie hasn't done anything to Claude. Yes she has, she got his sister killed and now she is and Dermott are the only family he has left to make him feel better. Run Claude or you will find yourself a pile of glitter in her yard some book real soon.

SO there is Sookie's all male revue. You be the judge.

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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Sian on June 22nd 2010, 10:50 am

But, one of the problems she had with the book was that she wrote it in first person. Since she limits our range of vision to just what Sookie sees, we have a very unreliable witness, often colored with Sookie's knowledge and her range of experiences. Which despite her contact with the supernatural world is often uninformed. Instead of a word of the day calendar and historical romance books, if I were Sookie, I would be reading everything I could about the supernatural world, and keeping a diary of everything I learn about that world. Especially if I intend on in living in that world

This is actually what I find so refreshing in her writing style. If I want to read a mind melting book I have plenty on my shelf, I consider Shakespear light reading too, but obviously for different reasons (I love his dark humour in particular). The last time I enjoyed Vampire novels was Ann Rice, and in The Sookie Stackhouse series I see a lot of influence. I like my novels to be easy reading, fast paced and above all imaginative, I want to escape and Charlaine takes my hand and shows me a whole new world.
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Lina on June 22nd 2010, 12:15 pm

Aslinn, I agree! BIG time. I actually told my husband that, wtf is up with the targets of men? These are passionate men. I hated Sam in the books, sorry, but I'm blunt. I love him in TB. Sian, I can understand what you're saying, each to their own..but personally, I so agree with Aslinn.

The first person view can work, but if someone, IMO, isn't a strong writer....it tends to fall flat. Maybe I'm used to Dean Koontz, Nora Roberts, etc, etc. CH as I mentioned, has amazing ideas, they just don't grab the writer in me or the reader.

Aslinn, if you penned it, I'd buy a copy without thought. I need detail, an aspect of knowledge seeking as mentioned. I feel no passion from Sookie in the books, just a pissed off, screw every man, attitude.
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Scarlett Harlot on June 22nd 2010, 1:01 pm

Sian, I agree with you on this. I love the imagination and the ease of these books. Yes some stories are not as well written as they could have been, but it does not bother me. I enjoy the story very much
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  FaerieMusk on June 22nd 2010, 1:21 pm

I agree that the men in Sookie's life go through A LOT...but so does Sookie, Hadley, Crystal, Tara, Gran, Claudine...you catch my drift. I don't think that the men are put through any more than the women in the books.
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Sian on June 22nd 2010, 2:13 pm

I agree with FaerieMusk, Sookie is put through a lot and so are all the other characters with their own lives. I think Sookie tries to be a good friend to the people in her life and if they missinterpret that then thats their own lookout. Saying thank you for favours etc is all very well and good but it is just words, I subscribe to the school of "favour for favour" and I think Sookie does too, who minds the bar when Sam has to leave town?

On the point of adding detail. I prefer an author to let me fill in the blanks with my own imagination, that way I can make the story "mine". I've given up on quite a few "bestselling" authors as I felt patronised and the story just didn't have a consistent pace for my taste.

I haven't put pen to paper in a creative way since I left High School, so I have no idea how to critisize from a more expert point of view. I'm reveiwing purely as a consumer, tell me a story and entertain me that's all I ask. Interesting to read the critique of my fellow members who are writers, great discussion.

Cheers



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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Aslinn Dhan on June 22nd 2010, 3:19 pm

I enjoy the debate and I do agree, Sookie has been through some tough times, but I find it so hard to empathize with her because I don't feel or see where she has the same empathy for others. SHe sees things very one dimensional, and because she sees things that way, I have a hard time being on her side.

But truth be told, there are very few heroines in literature. modern story telling or the classics that I find that appealing anymore.

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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  FaerieMusk on June 22nd 2010, 4:05 pm

Aslinn...I really get where you're coming from. And, if Sookie were a real life person, I don't think I would desire to be her friend. But, I do think that she is a product of her upbringing and there are reasons that she is somewhat cutthroat and unsympathetic/unempathetic towards others. Every meaningful relationship that she has had has been cut off. Yes, she has Jason, but even their connection isn't always the most natural, most fulfilling one. Sam seems to be the only constant in her life. He's the one person (albeit shifter) who's relationship to Sookie remains steadfast and without ulterior motives...other than wanting to be with her. Unfortunately for Sam, Sookie still hasn't fully recognized this and continues to test his loyalty and permanence. She is surrounded by people who want something from her, who need something from her and people who think she is a full fledged freak. To be able to hear people's thoughts would be awful. The fact that she's still able to go outside and face the world speaks volumes to me. She has to have tough skin to function. I think her past coupled with her special abilities make Sookie's ability to have healthy relationships very difficult. I find it difficult to judge her based on what we know. The one thing that I do admire about her is her willingness to help people. I think she has just as little regard for herself as she does for others. No one in their right mind would jump into the fray as Sookie does.
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Aslinn Dhan on June 22nd 2010, 5:30 pm

Wouldn't you think this is something of a cop out though. Her main complaint about the Vampires is they have some compelling, unfightable reason for doing what they do and she always ignores it, or treats it what it is, an excuse that she really refuses to swallow from others.

She jumps in certainly, but often after someone says: Sookie, you really need to pay attention and not do anything about xyz...and she does, and she does it with little or no reconing of her danger much less the danger she places others in. And I think she does it a lot of times to have those "I am Woman, Hear me Roar" moments.

Thing is, and it is something I don't think I am explaining clearly, is that Sookie has expectations of everyone that she expects them to live up to, that if they don't live up to them, she can't forgive or even understand, and no one can dare be disappointed in her or feel let down by her. No one can have any expectations of Sookie, no one, and she never has a straight answer for any man who has ever cared anything for her, and when they don't fill her expectations, she discards them as useless or less than worthy of her.

To say this is about her childhood or her lack of education or experience is really a cop out by now. She has been in these adventures for at least two, almost three years by the book's chronology. She has been in the supernatural world long enough to say: You know, if I insist on being in this world, I really need to get my shit together and know what I am dealing with and it may be a good thing if sometimes, I pay attention to other people just once in while when they tell me things. But she doesn't.




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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  FaerieMusk on June 22nd 2010, 6:12 pm

Yes. She is highly, highly dysfunctional. And when you put it all on paper, she is nearly unlikeable. But, I still feel as if she hasn't had a long enough time to breathe where she can actualy work on her dysfunction and engage in some thoughtful introspection. I don't think she is ever offered any grace. I think she puts those expectations out in response to what she knows. She knows that Bill deceived her once. She knows that Eric is attracted to her based on their blood bond and because she is fae. She knows that Sam is very attracted to her because she can read his mind. She FEELS confused about who loves her, why they love her and who she loves in turn. She probably questions love altogether. I think she DOES punish the people around her and I think she does set them all up for failure because she doesn't REALLY want to be happy. She doesn't deserve to be happy...happy is a myth. She was happy with Gran and with her parents. Everytime she's happy her heart gets ripped out. I don't think it's a cop out, I think that you are 100% right and that she is dysfunctional. And yes, I think some of it is within her control. But I think overall she just hasn't had enough time to process and learn from what she's been through. I think there are patterns to her behavior that can all be tied to her upbringing, her gift, her support system and the timing of major events in her lifetime.
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Lina on June 22nd 2010, 6:42 pm

She had love from two vampires, 3 shifts/weres/human, Claudine, Gram, her grandfather, Jason, etc, etc...the list is quite tiring. She's a selfish, self gratifying, brat in the stories. I loved the first few novels, it featured an array of opening characters, subplots and adventures. Over the course of the 5th-6th-7th, etc there seemed to be a falling of sorts. I got bored. Especially, with how she seemed to steam roll and make every male she bed; vamp, were, shifter...etc. become weak at her will. Yawn. A strong hero for a strong heroine.

I want details. When I open a book written in first person view, I want to fully understand why, what and how they seek, understand, comprehend, etc. Instead, I get the impression of someone growing angrier, bitchier, nastier and colder. It's like really? This isn't character development to me....it's a growing illustration of an author getting annoyed with her own character.

The Sookie Stackhouse books are massive with characters, subplots, subplots of subplots...therefore requiring it to expand outside of first person POV. That's what's disappointing and so unfinished to me...how can you, as an author incorporate all of these characters but bitch slap them down from a brat's single POV? It has to be a more maintained storyline.

The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox, the best first person ever book IMO, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte should be reviewed by CH. Learn from great writers. First person POV must be maintained to avoid a chaotic, rushed, unfinished feel to some readers. I open a book to be entertained and enraptured, not rewrite it.

The series helped me stay true to the idea, not the books.
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  FaerieMusk on June 23rd 2010, 3:50 pm

I think the writers that you list are pretty exceptional. I don't see a lot of contemporary or otherwise authors even holding a candle to them. But, in her defense...which kind of rings true for Stephanie Meyer and a lot of authors is that they're not trying to be great writers. They're just unloading a storyline that they've had in their heads. And they're making great money off of it! I know I'm not telling anyone anything here that you don't already know, but just to reiterate...some others aspire for greatness and others aspire to tell their story with less regard for the actual writing aspect. Knowing that, I read these books as an escape and I fill in the blanks and fantasize to suit my taste and perspective. They're fun reads. I still like Sookie. I don't think she's extraordinary in any way. She's flawed and complex and I accept her and like her regardless. I like Carrie Bradshaw too! Hee hee.
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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  TiffTiff on June 25th 2010, 4:29 pm

I do get what you all are saying. I feel like this book was pushed to the side, but I think of it as a transition for the grand finale about to come. Either way, I will continue reading until the series is over.

My biggest complaint was the lack of character development with Appius and Alexi. They could have been such amazing characters with their interesting backgrounds. Alexi was from one of the most hotly debated royal families in history and he barely had book time and when he did have book time he was being crazy. Which, by the way, was very minimally explained. No, the book focused on poor old Sookie and her hang up on her own problems.

Everybody has mentioned the irritation with Sookie and I can definitely see it. At first, she was interesting and believable. Now, I grow irritated with her.

Ok, I get Bill effed up. But really? That man has dedication. And ok, so he didn't tell you he was sent by the Queen, but why should that matter? He saved your ass so many times regardless, even after you kicked him to the curb. Do we see him stomping all over you? You killed his maker, regardless of how crazy she was. He suffered so much to save you when you were being tortured and I don't remember a thank you or anything. Maybe there was, but it was probably small.

Eric, as much as I love him in both the book and show, hasn't been exactly forthcoming. He tricked you into a blood bound with the bullet sucking and he pretty much tricked you into marriage. That would piss me off and I imagine it would do the same for most.

So, you want out of the blood bond Sookie? Well too bad you effed up all your chances with being a friend of Bill's. He could have found out, he is a devoted little sideline vampire. I am sure it would not be hard to find a way out if that was really the goal. Stop acting innocent and righteous Sookie.

As for your other backup man, a.k.a. Sam, stop stringing him along. I personally think he will be the one she ends up with, but still. Why do these men wait around for her? She is cold, whiny, and self-righteous to the nth degree. Sam has stayed out of her business when she needed him to and he doesn't even get a second thought. When he has a chance for happiness with a woman, they are wiped out. In fact, any woman that touches her men are wiped out for some reason or the other. They are all "crazy" and the men suffer. Does Sookie try to comfort that suffering? No, hers is more important. Vampires have to live a very long time and think about these things, so they may need a bit of comfort.

I know this is a long rant, but I just reread the book trying to like it. That was not possible. I just felt disappointed and I cannot remember many big scenes. I feel like the characters that need to be focused on are being ignored. I for one wonder about this whole issue with Eric and his superiors. I wonder what will happen with Hunter. And somehow, I have a feeling Bill was pushed out of the story too quickly. This woman he has does not seem to be a good omen. She may just get killed off to make him suffer a bit more.

I think Charlaine is getting tired of these books and cannot stop while the show is raking more money in. This is just my opinion though, so it may just be my imagination.

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Re: Dead in the Family Book Review

Post  Renee on June 25th 2010, 9:32 pm

Tiff your take on Sookie and the last book is fantastic and so very, very accurate. Well done my dear.

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