Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Review of "Living Dead In Dallas"

Written by Charlaine Harris
Released in 2002

Bill: “I am a vampire, Sookie. I have been a vampire far longer than I was human. I have upset you many times. To tell you the truth, sometimes I can’t understand why you do what you do sometimes, because it’s been so long since I was a person. It’s not always comfortable to remember what it was like to be a man. Sometimes I don’t want to be reminded.”

Second book in the thrilling Sookie Stackhouse series and can I just say that Harris doesn’t waste time in delivering these books? It seems that every year since 2001 she has had a book out. It’s definitely not a bad thing, given how much stuff does seem to get crammed into these books.

The first book dealt with Rene going around murdering fang bangers in a bid to get to Sookie, so it’s interesting that we seem to have three storylines going on around here that also involved Sookie one way or the other. Namely with her being put in harm’s way as much as possible.

The death of Lafayette is interesting, given that he’s now a pivotal character in the series. Here his death put Andy in the frame and Sookie in an unenviable predicament to clear his name. Sookie’s dislike for the Bellefleur family did intensify in this book, though the reveal of Bill being related to them did serve as a good ending.

The reveal of Mike along with Tom and his wife being responsible for Lafayette’s death did feel a little rushed but they did get a comeuppance at the hand of a maenad named Miss Callisto.

That was the second storyline involving Sookie. Callisto attacked her at the start of the book and paralysed her with fear towards the end. The fact that she made it out of this alive could suggest that she’s a future threat. Her bonding with Sam however raised some interesting questions about the shape shifting bar owner.

Arguably the strongest plot in the book involved the Fellowship. Yes, these nutters were pretty prominent in True Blood’s second season and here they play a bigger role than Callisto or Lafayette’s murder. Here, they were interested in conveying a message by getting legendary Godfrey to kill himself.

It was through this storyline that we got a trip to Dallas, met Stan, Isabel and Farrell and found out just how whacky and dangerous Steve and Sarah Newlin really are. Bill warned Sookie at the end of the book that the Fellowship would be problematic for them for years to come. Given that they got a little trigger happy after their Godfrey plot didn’t go exactly to plan, I reckon that Bill is right on that one.

Another note worthy thing about the book was the Sookie/Bill/Eric love triangle. I have to admit that I actually like Bill a lot less here than I do in the TV series and there were some passages in the book where I found myself frustrated with Sookie not standing up to him.
I don’t usually fawn over perceived bad boy characters but this book made Eric more interesting that Bill too. He was more manipulative in contriving ways to get close to Sookie (showing up in Dallas, getting her to suck a bullet out of her, kissing her during a local orgy, etc). The fact that he’s more playful and less possessive with Sookie than Bill is also a plus.

The rest of the characters aren’t given much to do. Sam’s relationship with Callisto aside, he’s underused (and barely blinked when Sookie told him about the shape shifters who helped her against the Fellowship) and Jason is surprisingly more likeable here than the first book. Tara and Eggs are also introduced but aside from encountering Callisto and having their memories wiped, not much goes on with them either. Pam at least brings the snark whenever she pops up.

- Some names for the bottled blood are Life Flow and Pure Blood. I think True Blood does sound better.
- Bill is technically a great-great-great grandfather to both Andy and Portia. Portia even tried to use him to get into the orgies.
- The covers of these books are being redesigned with some crafty models, inspired by the True Blood series. They look great.
- Eric in pink and Lycra is by far an image I don’t think I can erase from my brain.

“Living Dead In Dallas” is a fine second book for the series. While everything is delightfully from Sookie’s point of view, I do want to see her interacting more with her Bon Temps co-workers and friends as well as the variety of vampires and other creatures on the series.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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