Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I am a reading fiend

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (2001)
Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic barmaid in Northern Louisiana, meets the man of her dreams: Bill, a Civil War survivor and the hottest dead man she's ever seen. Too bad about that little vampire thing. A-

This is the book that kicks off the Southern Vampire series. I've read Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, and Living Dead in Dallas - all of the series currently in paperback - so I guess I'm a fan.

I'm a bit overwhelmed right now by Sookie's romantic options. There are a couple constant interests, which she takes more or less seriously and that appear more or less in every book: Eric, the head honcho vampire of the area, and former Viking; Bill, the first vampire she meets, mentioned above; and Sam, her boss. (I won't tell you what's unusual about him - go read the book!) Potential love interests introduced as the series goes on are Alcide, a werewolf; the head of a clan of werepanthers (whose name escapes me at the moment); and a weretiger.

So many options, all with their good and bad points. Let's break it down, because that's the kind of mood I'm in. (Spoilers in this break-down. You are forewarned.)

Bill. Bill is in love with Sookie, and he tries to protect her, (good points) but he's very much a vampire and as such has limited self control in certain situations (feeding frenzy, anyone?) , and tends to be secretive and a bit patronizing. He also is so reserved he's kind of a cold fish, in my opinion. Maybe this is supposed to be a kind of Mr. Darcy thing going on, but I'm not really feeling it. (Bad points)

Eric. Eric is a bit obsessed with Sookie, but he has no scruples whatsoever. A brief bought of amnesia turns him into what he probably was before he became a vampire - years and years and years ago - a nice guy - and he and Sookie have a fling during this period. Eric in this state is the perfect vampire for Sookie, since he is more warm and cuddly and vulnerable than Bill, and also declares his *cough* undying *cough* love. However, his memory is returned, wiping out his memories of their relationship, and he reverts to his usual ways. That is, being evil and dangerous (bad points) and on her side (good points) because he has a thing for her, even though he would probably rather be staked than admit to that kind of weakness.

Sam. (Spoilers here, too) Sam is not a vampire, but a shapeshifter who usually shows up as a dog. A dog is quite apropos for Sam because he is loyal, sensitive, and affectionate. Sounds boring next to vampires, eh? Well, not really. He can be any animal he wants, is good in a pinch, and probably understands Sookie more than the other dudes. (Good points, obviously.) His flaws? Other than that he knew Sookie for years but didn't realize he wanted her until all these other guys showed up? Maybe he's not as good of a protector as the vampires or some of the bigger shifters (Sam's not a big, hulking guy) - I always feel a little more afraid when it's him defending her because he seems so vulnerable himself - but other than that, it's just his lack of Go Get Her. Sam is getting to be Sookie's #1 loyal sidekick while she dates all these other guys, the poor bastard. He tries to make a move every now and then, but he always overshadowed by some gorgeous hunk who can turn into a tiger, or a vampire with hundreds of years of sexual experience to build upon. And it's not like he's unattractive. Did I say poor bastard already? Poor bastard. After six books, I'm gunning for him to be Mr. Right because he's the one I'd want to wake up with. (And then maybe take to the park for a game of fetch.) But I don't have high hopes: Sookie resists even thinking about him that way because he's her boss, and this series is really about her and vampires.

Alcide. The big werewolf guy. At first I liked him. He's good looking, and he's not evil. (Good points) But he lacks character. I don't mean he's not defined for the reader - he is. He's just too cloudy on the difference between right and wrong, even by his own definition, and he's caught up in the werewolf culture. I wouldn't count on him to guard my back. Not a poor bastard: just a bastard. He needs to get his priorities and loyalties sorted out.

The Werepanther. He likes Sookie, but in a kind of "She looks like a good breeder" kind of way. He'd guard her back, but he'd probably expect something in return for it that she wouldn't be comfortable in giving. There's too much keeping score with him about who owes whom even on little things.

The Weretiger. I hardly know this guy, but he seems fair-minded and honest. He is also an incredible physical specimen. (He reminds me of Arnold Vosloo, or maybe Billy Zane.) Poor Sam.

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