September 24, 2010
To celebrate Reading & Reviewing's upcoming 100th review, I'm challenging myself by posting a new review daily for a week! Here's review 099, posted on day 2.
All Together Dead
First published in: 2007
This edition: Ace, 2008
Genre: fantasy, series, vampires
Cover art by Lisa Desimini; cover design by Judith Lagerman
The photo was inspired by a character from the TV show derived from the Sookie novels, True Blood: Jessica, our baby vamp: redheaded, a clumsy noob (killing people by accident) and cries bloody tears at a regular basis.
Tidbit: as I was taking this photo, my mantra was: "I accidentally ate Wil, I ate Wil, I ate Wil *sob sob*". Sorry Wil.
It has been a while since I've last reviewed a Sookie Stackhouse novel, but as I've read them all now (up to book 10), I can review them again in between other reviews.
All Together Dead (book 7) has our heroine a little bit pissed off with her ex, vampire Bill Compton, after learning a fact which left Sookie feeling manipulated and betrayed by him. She's pretty much done with vampires. For real this ti…
…Aw, who is she kidding? We know it's just never going to happen. Vampires will always have an interest in Sookie, and vampires tend to get what they want. Especially if they happen to be the vampire queen of Louisiana.
Queen Sophie-Anne is in a buttload of trouble, being put to blame for the definite death (by murder) of her husband, the King of Arkansas. She didn't do it, but no one really cares. Sophie-Anne has plenty of enemies who'd simply love to see her fry in shiny rays of the sun. A vampire summit has been organized in Illinois, and the trial is to take place there. Being on trial and left poor and broke after hurricane Katrina, the queen is in a vulnerable place; a coup could happen any second now, but the summit seems to be the perfect place to bring her down. Sophie-Anne needs Sookie at the summit, to assist in weeding out who's with the queen, and who's against her?
Meanwhile, the Fellowship of the Sun continues to express their dislike (to put it lightly) of vampires. They are far from done with their condemnation of the undead…
Book 7 deals with vampire politics (as established by Charlaine Harris) a little more, and I have to say I find this a very interesting aspect of Harris's general story of "vampires are out in the world". Her explanations of certain rituals (such as the summit, the trial) are truly her own creations, her own rules, and it's details of rituals such as these that make Harris stand out as a writer of vampire fiction. She just has her own thing, and it works for her. She doesn't need to make her vamps sparkle in order to achieve uniqueness in the genre.
This is her vampire world, and she owns it time and time again. I can't wait to see how she continues to develop it in the novels to come (I hear there will be three more, after book 10 – exciiiiiiting!!).
Harris tries to keep things fresh; our heroine Sookie Stackhouse meets new people on a regular basis, making room for new storylines and character dynamics.
One of the newer people is weretiger Quinn, a bald, muscular purple-eyed God of a man who says "babe" a lot, who was introduced at the end of book 5.
During this instalment of the series, Sookie has more interactions with this man. Despite getting to know Quinn better, my opinion of him (formed after reading book 6) is basically unaltered. He seems a bit too slick to my taste, too perfect. The whole purple eyes thing, "babe babe babe", wut. At some point there was a description of his shirtless self: "like a genie". That turned me right off. Like a broken lightbulb. Oh snap.
There isn't a lot of chemistry between Sookie and Quinn in my opinion. I'm getting ready for him to exit the series about as quickly as he entered it. Actually, the more I read about Quinn, the more I realized he functioned more as a plot device to get Sookie and Eric closer.
Eric and Sookie's chemistry is pretty much undeniable; it returns in book 7 and remains throughout. Charlaine does a fantastic job at convincing her readers of how Eric and Sookie have this thing between them.
Eric's jealousy about Sookie & Quinn certainly made things a little more firey between our Nordic blond vampire and our telepathic cocktail waitress. Eric, oh, he definitely does it for me, whereas Quinn simply does not.
I haven't even mentioned Bill yet. Imagine a vampire ex-boyfriend, a weretiger current fling and a vampire ex-but-he-forgot and put them at one measily little summit together.
Sparks fly. There's jealousy and possessiveness. It's fantastic stuff. It really is. My heart sang at the whole love… quadrangle thing. Bill's pretty much in the background these days though, and that relieves me for one. I never liked Bill. /understatement
And forget about not mentioning Bill yet. I hadn't even BEGUN to discuss the plotline of this book. It was seriously good, very entertaining throughout even without the whole love stuff. I'm talking about the action, about what takes place at the summit, about the climax of the story. When I started this one, I really hoped that it would go somewhere and Harris absolutely delivered.
Even though something bothered me about the general plotline – something so obvious is overlooked by everyone, and I mean everyone, and it has some nasty consequences. The reader smells it from miles away though.
But oh, it made for those nasty consequences and those nasty concequences made me want to read book 8 immediately.
All Together Dead is thrilling, definitely one of the more exciting books in the series. There's plenty of action, there's original backstory and lots of guy trouble (the kind to avoid and the kind ya kinda want in on) for Sookie. And one hell of an ending, which only leaves you wanting more, then some more and so much more after that.
Keep 'em coming, Charlaine Harris. Keep 'em coming.
Original R&R series © Karin E. Lips 2008-2010 (and beyond)
© Karin E. Lips
2008-2011 and beyond.