Dead Reckoning gave me the distinct impression that Charlaine Harris is running out of steam with the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I don't think this is...moreDead Reckoning gave me the distinct impression that Charlaine Harris is running out of steam with the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I don't think this is up to the standard of the early novels of the series, in that it's not as tightly written and the plot lines seemed to fall a little flat. I'm sure I'll continue reading the rest of the Sookie Stackhouse books, if only to see the damn things through, but they definitely don't seem to have the same pizzaz as they used to.(less)
**spoiler alert** Although my bookshelf tags are 'gothic', 'supernatural' and 'mystery' The Little Stranger is rather a difficult book to pin down and...more**spoiler alert** Although my bookshelf tags are 'gothic', 'supernatural' and 'mystery' The Little Stranger is rather a difficult book to pin down and sits across a couple of genres. It's frequently compared to Wilkie Collins, Henry James's The Turn of the Screw or Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca because the plot follows a series of uncanny, eerie events in a manor house fallen into decline. In many ways Water's book seems like a classic psychological suspense ghost story. But there are other genres that occassionally rear their heads that add to the complexity of the book: a sort of Dickensian/ Gaskell-ish interest in British class relations; a Ford Madox Ford-like experiment in unreliable narration; the casting of a One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest sort of doubt over the line between sanity and insanity etc.
And while all of these things made for a multilayered read with potentially interesting interpretations, something about the book failed to grab me. It hapened about halfway through the novel- I think I realised I had worked through the various possible explanations for the events at Hundreds Hall, could see three or four potential endings and was essentially just reading to get to the end to see which one would turn out to be the correct one. I think Dr. Faraday's constantly repeated rationalising of the plot killed a bit of the narrative tension for me. However, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the ambiguity of the ending and I liked the way the characters' doubts and confusions are replicated in the reader's difficulties in locating a final cause for the weird and trgaic events and inability to place the genre of the story. One is left wondering at the end whether they've read a gruesome ghost story, or a unnerving account of psychopathology.(less)
Much like Charlaine Harris's contractually-obligatory writing, I really am only reading these last Sookie Stackhouse books just to see the series thro...moreMuch like Charlaine Harris's contractually-obligatory writing, I really am only reading these last Sookie Stackhouse books just to see the series through. It was an effort getting through this book. Admittedly the mystery plot was a bit tighter in this one than some recent installments, but all the rest of the story around it felt like a whole lot of padding to bump up the word count. I can't count the number of times we got to read about Sookie putting on make up, or running grocery errands, or the number of words wasted expounding the incipient marital bliss of every Bon Temps aquaintance Sookie ever made. Boring!
I know that the wedge that's being consistently hammered between Eric and Sookie is making some readers pretty angry, but frankly I can't even bring myself to care much about the Queen of Oklahoma plotline- it was developed in such a straggly mishappen manner that I'm just not very engaged with the goings-on of the vamps anymore. Which is sad because Pam was one of my favourite things in the series- no more witty one-liners or tinder-dry observations on the inanities of humankind! More than ever, I find myself preferring the True Blood-verse to Charlaine Harris's writings. (less)