Two books into the series and still interested in things are heading. Compared to the first book, this one was slightly better in how it handled race...moreTwo books into the series and still interested in things are heading. Compared to the first book, this one was slightly better in how it handled race and homosexuality. Sookie has a conversation with her brother regarding his homophobia and the descriptions of the people of color are less alarmingly exoticizing. This book is, however, much worse on gender than the first.
I was definitely taken aback by ***SPOILERS*** Bill and Sookie making up from a fight when Bill violently, I'd have to say rapes Sookie, leaving her scared and sobbing, before she realizes how much she missed having sex with him. I'm keeping an open mind because according to other readers this is a set-up for an exploration of sex addiction in the next book in which Sookie and Bill start to work through the unhealthy aspects of their relationship and figure out how to connect in healthier ways.
The book is interesting, but definitely gets low marks in the escapism department. Jury is still out on how I feel about the series as a whole. (less)
Still trying to process through my feelings regarding the world of Sookie Stackhouse. I think I like the main character. I like that she's working cla...moreStill trying to process through my feelings regarding the world of Sookie Stackhouse. I think I like the main character. I like that she's working class and not terribly well educated, but that she's brave and has solid commonsense and a strong backbone. I think it's more the world she inhabits that I'm having mixed feelings about.
"Dead Until Dark" is very firmly set in rural Louisiana and a lot of the characters in it are incredibly racist. Even Sookie herself is very aware of the races of the people around her, in fact it seems to be one of the first things she notices about people, not just what their race is, but how dark their complexion and how that makes other people perceive them. I guess it's refreshing to encounter a story in the fantasy genre that doesn't shy away from addressing racism, but I think part of why these moments come off as awkward is that there are no African American main characters and that because the story is told entirely from Sookie's perspective, none of the people of color in the book get to give their own interpretations of Sookie's impressions of them or how their race affects their standing in the town. There's also the fact that Sookie is not aggressively anti-racist in spite of her running commentary on the racism of the town so she makes casual observations about how one character doesn't like another character because of their race (or sexual orientation, a lot of the side characters are also blatantly homophobic), and neither condemns nor condones the behavior.
I guess Charlaine Harris is attempting to give the reader an accurate portrayal of the rural south (never been, so no idea if it is accurate) and then add in fantasy elements. The effect is off-putting at moments, but always nuanced and fascinating, so I guess she's doing a good job. It's just strange not being able to pick up on a clear agenda from not just the author, but even the speaker. This book gave me more to think about than your average fluffy escapist paranormal romance. I'll definitely be reading the next book if only to figure out what makes this Sookie Stackhouse tick and how happy I truly am to have made her acquiescence. (less)
Didn't feel Wolfsbane was nearly as strong as Nightshade. The first person narrative started to feel really oppressive. Calla is constantly in and out...moreDidn't feel Wolfsbane was nearly as strong as Nightshade. The first person narrative started to feel really oppressive. Calla is constantly in and out of flashbacks or fighting off one whooshing emotion after another. With all her inner turmoil there's hardly enough room for a plot. It's like being trapped in a teenage werewolf's diary and not in a good way. While there were definitely some interesting plot twists, my irritation with the writing style will make it difficult for me to justify making the effort to acquire the third book when there's so much other good paranormal romance out there. (less)
I picked up a copy of this book with some trepidation. Who's trying to cash in on the urban fantasy fad that Dresden Files started now? I was actually...moreI picked up a copy of this book with some trepidation. Who's trying to cash in on the urban fantasy fad that Dresden Files started now? I was actually pleasantly surprised to discover that while the the Dresden Files and the Iron Druid Chronicles definitely share some similar tropes - snarky, smartass magic user finds himself opposing forces that everyone thinks are out of his league, and survives by a combination of skill, luck, bravado, and stubborn refusal to die - that's where the similarities end. This is its own book and really fun read to boot. Things I especially liked about it were the use of the Celtic pantheon, the careful historical research that went into the construction of all the character's back stories, and the novelty of the main character's perspective on the world. He doesn't have a strong drive to prevent harm to innocents, which makes his behavior slightly more difficult to predict. The only downside is that because the character is not driven by strong moral convictions, but rather a sense of pride and a desire to survive, it was harder for me to feel emotionally involved in whether or not he triumphed. I liked the main character, but I didn't have a strong sense of what this battle meant for him and what was at stake. That said, I liked the book enough to head to my local scifi/fantasy bookstore and pick up the next two in the series and am looking forward to finding out what happens next. (less)