Kristin's Reviews > All Together Dead

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
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Aug 15, 09

Recommended to Kristin by: Alan Ball--I blame you!
Recommended for: no one--watch Alan Ball's version.
Read in August, 2009 — I own a copy, read count: once, and you can't make me do it again.

** spoiler alert ** OK, so I love the HBO series "True Blood" and wanted to learn more, so, like a fool, I went to Amazon.com and bought a specially priced box set of the first 7 books. What. A. Mistake.

The first two books of the series, "Dead Until Dark" and "Living Dead in Dallas" were passable. The author certainly has a great imagination, which is the foundation of great storytelling.

But the main character, Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic waitress from Bon Temps, LA., is an unbearable, anti-feminist, hypocritical and just downright bitchy female who turned me off so entirely I prayed for her death at the hands of any demon/fairy/vampire/shifter/plain old human.

There are themes in some of these books that set my teeth on edge: Sookie is raped (yes! although even the author calls it "near-rape" later in the books) by her ex-boyfriend, Vampire Bill. But, of course, he'd been starved and...wait for it... he couldn't help himself. Sound familiar? But it gets better--later that night, that very same night that she was viciously bitten, drained of nearly all her blood and raped by this man, she is comforted BY HIM and lies peacefully in his embrace. I wish I were kidding. He's REALLY sorry, ladies. He wasn't himself. Sookie's trauma is minimal. Wow. Maybe she can teach "talent" this to other women.

Granted, vampires really aren't themselves when they're starved--very few can show control, although some can. But it seems to me that, given the history of rape not only in this country but worldwide, to set foot into this territory is dangerous and misogynist. And it baffles the mind to believe, even if she did forgive him, that Sookie could stand to be in the same room, let alone be physically comforted, by her attacker only hours after the attack. GAWD, did that one stick in my craw. It was truly offensive.

Later in the series, Sookie, working for money from vampires, who are clearly dangerous creatures and who have repeatedly put her life in terrible danger (hey, but she needs the money, y'all! She's poor and she won't go beggin'!) is able, with the help of fellow telepath Barry the Bellboy, to find live bodies in the rubble of a bombing which she has escaped. These are the bodies of vampires and their human minions, mostly. Charlaine Harris, the writer of the series, even goes so far as to mention 9/11. When Sookie is approached by "the government" in the form of an aging rescue worker, she and Barry run from him to hide their identities. She doesn't want to use her powers for the government for search and rescue. Yes, she would rather be a waitress who barely subsists, who has to work to make extra money for creatures who nearly kill her and regularly put her life in danger than work for the US government in search and rescue. Cuz hey, ya'll, she loves her life in Bon Temps. It's her life. Well, yes, it sure is. And what a great life it is, Sookie! You're regularly beaten, raped, hospitalized, shot--your life's in danger almost all the time, you've been horribly betrayed and no one in your hometown likes you much as they think you are "crazy Sookie" for your "curse" (what she calls the gift of telepathy). Yeah, I can see why you'd want to stay there and not help at bombing sites for good money doing good for actual regular humans. Yup. Sure.

There are so many staggering leaps (or lacks) of logic in these books I can't even enumerate them. The bombs set to kill them al in this book were left in UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE--yes, in a post-9/11 America. Like the bomb squad wouldn't have come in within hours of a hotel employee seeing unclaimed baggage with nebulous, almost unreadable tags. Sure, Charlaine.

Harris has a great imagination, but the sad fact is, the woman cannot write. Her prose is boring, much of it is filler and she stuffs so many plots and sub-plots into her books that it's tantamount to watching a Jerry Bruckheimer movie on steroids. You want to scream, "enough already!" after a certain number of ridiculous and unnecessary plot points. (Well, you just want to scream). Also, the writing is somewhat hard to follow due to just plain bad writing and editing. I had to re-read simple sentences several times because I had no idea to what Harris was referring. And the "previously on Sookie" plot synopses that pepper every novel after "Dead Until Dark" are clumsy and omnipresent. In a numbered series, why is this even necessary?

Harris should've given her ideas to Alan Ball, or a writer who could do them justice without the seemingly requisite dose of Harris misogyny, plot overload, skimpy character development and crap writing. It could've been a great fantasy world and Sookie could've been a great character/heroine. But she is awful and the books are awful. I take extreme exception to Sookie's character and its casual hypocrisy, false moralizing, general poor-mouthing and above all, her willingness (or compulsion?) to be a victim time after time after time, having learned nothing.

But hey, she's so beautiful and all the supernatural men adore her, so isn't that enough?

These are romance novels with a lot of violence and some fantasy thrown in. And they're not written as well as most romance novels, so that ought to scare you. Hell, I've seen better writing in fanfiction and that is downright scary.

According to HBO threads, there's already "Sookie hate" and the "True Blood" Sookie is miles and miles better than the book "Sookie", so there you have it.

Perhaps the most maddening thing was that I really couldn't stop reading this series of awful. I wanted simply to see what happened next. Harris' imagination is really great, but her characters, her tone, her abysmal writing and everything else, made me really dislike this entire series. It was the strangest disconnect between great imagination and writing I've ever encountered.

Oh yeah and if Quinn said "Babe" one more time, I was going to light the book on fire.
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Reading Progress

08/15/2009 page 200
61.92% "this series is killing me."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Ahdelina It looks like everybody hates these books, but nobody can stop reading it. Isn't it weird?
Thumbs up for your review! I myself truly dislike Sookie, she pisses me off every second of her excistense.


Kristin It is truly weird! It's like they're the crystal meth of reading. They're horrible for you but you can't overcome the compulsion to READ the crapitude! I should probably 2-star it, just because I couldn't stop reading them, but I hate Sookie too much.


Marie Curfman i just want to point out... the suitcases were able to sit unclaimed because it was the HOTEL EMPLOYEES planting them. they werent going to call in a tip on themselves!

but otherwise, I agree with you. and also, I cant stop reading either... its a compulsion that always leaves me frustrated.


Marie Curfman i just want to point out... the suitcases were able to sit unclaimed because it was the HOTEL EMPLOYEES planting them. they werent going to call in a tip on themselves!

but otherwise, I agree with you. and also, I cant stop reading either... its a compulsion that always leaves me frustrated.


Marie Curfman woops.. double post? lol


Crystal I am like 63% done with this book and I couldn't agree more. I been saying that I am not fond of these books but for some reason I can't stop reading them. Sookie is infuriating because she is just so bitchy and I don't get why she is so appealing to all these people that want her so badly. She gets pissed off about the slightest thing that a guy does. I am surprised she hasn't taken Quinn's head off for calling her babe all the time. God knows I want to beat him for that. I am glad I am not alone in being annoyed with the "babe" usage. Something about Quinn bothers me more than others though.


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