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R&R 070 | Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4)

SPOILER WARNING – If you're watching True Blood and don't want to be spoiled for upcoming seasons, you might want to stop reading right now. Though the show doesn't stay entirely true to the books, some of it may be relevant.

Charlaine Harris
Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Mysteries #4)
First published in: 2004
This edition: Ace, 2005
ISBN: 978-0-441-01218-3
Cover design by Judith Lagerman, cover illustration by Lisa Desimini.

R&R 070 | Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4)

It's New Year's Eve, and it looks like a new beginning is about to happen for Sookie Stackhouse. Fresh without one boyfriend, the newly single cocktail waitress realizes she's better off, anyway. For one, he cheated on her. Add to that his being a vampire. It never used to bother her before, but now she realizes she's gotten hurt too much, and gotten into way more trouble than Bill was worth. Sookie's got one new year's resolution: no more vampires.
But her resolution doesn't stand a chance when she finds Eric Northman, the powerful and old vampire from Shreveport, on the side of the road, disoriented, naked… and without his memory. This Eric doesn't really remember that he's a bit of a pig. No, this Eric is sweet, attentive, crazy attractive…
…crap. There goes that resolution.

This one is definitely one of the more fun books in the Stackhouse novels so far. Imagine Eric being all… gooey, helpless and gentleman like. It's bizarro world! I was very excited to see how this one panned out, and wasn't disappointed. One bonus? Bill is barely featured in this book. Yay! I can't like Bill after book 3. I just can't. So less Bill. And where there's no Bill, there's room for others.

Such as Sookie and Eric, obviously, but also Pam, who's just as fabulous in the books as she is in the TV show. I really like her and was pleased to have more Pam in this book. Alcide also has a place in this book, and other supernatural beings (Supes) are introduced: witches and fairies.

Charlaine Harris is experimenting a lot with different ideas, and opens up plenty of future plot possibilities. Book 3 already a different way, but book 4 takes it to the next level. The downside is that her writing is messy; too many things are going on in one book, things that don't always seem relevant to the plot in general or interesting at a given moment. (Though book 4 is an improvement, the writing more to the point and 'clean'.)

Despite the chaos in her plotting, I do feel her experimentation is a good thing; she doesn't stick to the same old thing. Harris isn't afraid to move on. She is taking risks, and this keeps the series (and her character's interactions) dynamic and fresh.

Sookie's living it up a little more (she indulges in this book; I would too), but she's generally consistent, meaning – to me – that she's still very likable. I keep stressing this, because I do find this an important plus to the series.

What I've come to find is that Sookie is a young woman with the heart of an older woman and this blend makes her very endearing. Charlaine Harris lets a part of herself shine through Sookie, it seems, when she writes how people should really wait a while longer to drive off after stopping for a deer on the road, because usually there's two of them. It might not be relevant at the time, but little bits of advice such as this one, they do warm me up to the character and to Charlaine Harris even more.

That, and the word of the day calendar. It's freaking adorable. I can't help myself.

Plenty of new doors are opened in this installment. I always find myself looking forward to whatever Charlaine Harris has created for Sookie, next. There's something different always. Something unexpected.

One side note to conclude this review:
A little head's up: if you're getting ready to read book 5, please note that Charlaine Harris has written three short stories, chronologically suitable to be read after book 4. The stories are: 4.1 Fairy Dust, 4.2 Dancers in the Dark, 4.3 One Word Answer. These stories are relevant for future books (namely, in order to better understand book 6, you'll need to have read story 4.3). You can find them online , so google away. Email me if you're having trouble locating them.

———-
R&R series © Karin E. Lips 2008, 2009 and beyond

Karin Elizabeth
5 Comments
  • lililly
    Reply

    I had to read this, dispite the warning. And it makes me want to carry on with the books now (I have read number one but it didnt pull me like the series did.. I felt like there was no real character development?) that I know Bill is not going to be a main part of it. Ergh I hate that guy…and that is just from the series – what a wet blanket he is!

    p.s LOVE the pic 🙂

    November 14, 2009 at 7:30 pm
  • Kari
    Reply

    oh, sweet jesus, gotta love Eric in book #4 (but to be fair i like the real eric more… haha)… and Sookie! i can't stop repating this, but i loooove this girl.

    btw, i didn't know that those short histories were relevant! :O going to read now.

    November 14, 2009 at 7:49 pm
  • Karin Elizabeth
    Reply

    @lililly
    Ack, Bill has always irked me. I'm not seeing his appeal – not in the books, not in the series.
    The books don't have as much room for minor characters (and their development) as the show does, but it does get better. Newer characters are introduced on a regular basis and they stick around.

    @Kari
    The third short story, One Word Answer, is especially important.
    I was reading book 6 and got all confused, thinking I started book 7 instead of book 6. Something happened in the book that was unexplained and seemed out of the blue.
    Turned out Charlaine Harris had written these short stories, and continued book 6 from there, not repeating the information.
    There's more short stories: "Tacky" (to be read after book 6), "Dracula Night" (after book 7) and "Gift Wrapped" (after book 8).

    November 15, 2009 at 12:05 pm
  • Kari
    Reply

    now that you mentioned, i remember i was confused when i started book 6! man, can't believe this, haha. and the worse is that i do hve the habit of read short history in author's site when i'm obsessed with the serie, but i totally forgot about the sookie's short story!

    (karin, in the futere, when you have the time, i would recomend the secret society girl serie… is kinda chick-lit, but not really – is not centered in a romance or stuff like that. is really interesting!)

    November 15, 2009 at 4:19 pm
  • anyroadanytime
    Reply

    It took me a while to finish book 4 because of school but so far it's my favorite! I loved the plot and the fact that the book was somewhat slower than book 3. And Eric all different? Amazing! Charlaine Harris keeps surpising me!

    I was really satisfied with book 4 because I thought book 3 wasn't as good as book 1 & 2. Don't get me wrong – loved Alcide and a bunch of things (like Sookie standing up for herself even more was great) – but the setting felt for me a bit repetitive and I thought a lot of thing was happening time after time. The chapters had more ongoings than a whole season of Grey's Anatomy.

    Ok. Back to book 4. I loved it! And I was so glad you mentioned about the short stories because I was starting book 5 thinking that I missed something!

    As always love your reviews and you creativity!

    🙂

    November 16, 2009 at 5:46 am

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