Book Review: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey (Audiobook narrated by Steven Boyer) (Series, #2)
Will Henry, 12 year old orphan and assistant to renowned Monstrumologist, Pellinore Warthrop, is shocked to find a refined woman on Warthrop’s doorstep. She is the wife of Warthrop’s best friend who has now gone missing in rural Canada while looking for the elusive wendigo (aka werewolf). Warthrop insists that there is no such thing as a wendigo, but he agrees to go looking for his missing friend anyway, even if he believes his mission was ridiculous and an affront to monstrumology’s reputation.
I can’t believe it took me this long to get to the sequel of one of my rare 5 star reads, The Monstrumologist. I gave my dad a copy of The Monstrumologist for his birthday, and his enthusiasm for the series brought my own back to me, so I joined in with him to read through it. I had a bunch of credits stacked up on Audible, so I went with the audiobook versions. My speedy father reading in print quickly outpaced me, but that’s ok. I’m really enjoying the audiobooks, although I’m sure I will be reading the final book in the series in the fall when it comes out on my kindle. Can’t wait around for the audiobook! All of which is to say, my enthusiasm for the series remains high, if not steady, and the audiobooks are just as enjoyable as the print.
Yancey does something brave for a second book in the series. Instead of following the formula that worked so well in the first book and basically doing a monster-of-the-week-in-our-town method like Buffy and so many other urban fantasies, he changes things up. There is a monster, yes, but it is entirely different from the first one. This is a monster that might not even exist, unlike the anthropophagi in the first book who are almost immediately clearly real. Additionally, Warthrop and Will must travel away from New England to go looking for the trouble. It does not come to them. Another good plot twist is that the story does not entirely take place in Canada. It moves to New York City. Thus we get both the dangers of the wilderness and the dangers of the city in one book. These plot choices mean that what makes this series a series is the characters, not the fantastical nature of their world. By the end of the book I was thinking of the series in terms of the relationship between Will and Warthrop, not in the context of what nasty beast we might meet next. It thus does what great genre fiction should do. It looks at a real life issue and dresses it up with some genre fun. And the issues addressed here are big ones. What is love and what should we be willing to sacrifice for it? Is it more loving to stay with someone at all costs or to let them go to protect them? At what point do you give up on someone?
The horror certainly felt more grotesque this time around, although it’s possible I just wasn’t remembering the anthropophagi that well. This is a bloody book full of horrible things. Precisely what I expect out of my genre. There’s not much more to say about the horror than keep it up, Yancey. Also that this might not be for you if blood and guts and profanity are not your thing. But they *are* mine and, oh, how well they are done here.
Just as with the first book, the language Yancey uses is beautiful. It’s rich, eloquent, visual, and decadent. It’s a word-lover’s book. An example:
But love has more than one face. And the yellow eye is not the only eye. There can be no desolation without abundance. And the voice of the beast is not the only voice that rides upon the high wind….It is always there. Like the hunger that can’t be satisfied, though the tiniest sip is more satisfying than the most sumptuous of feasts.
The characterization here remains strong for Will and grows much stronger for Warthrop. Will grows and changes as a 12 year old in this time period in his particular situation would be expected to. With Warthrop, though, we get a much clearer backstory and motivations for his actions. In the first book we came to know Will. In this one we come to know Warthrop, although Will is not left without any development. It’s a good balance. I also enjoyed the addition of two female characters, who I thought were well-written, particularly Lily, the budding young feminist determined to be the world’s first female monstrumologist. She is truly three-dimensional in spite of her rather limited screen-time compared to Will.
The pacing doesn’t build steadily from beginning to end. It rather builds to a first climax, comes back down and builds again to a second climax. This makes sense, particularly in a werewolf book, but I must admit it felt a bit odd in the moment. It almost felt like reading two books in one until it all came together in the end. In fact, this is one of those books that gets better the more you look back on the story as a whole. Be prepared to enjoy it more in retrospect that in the first reading.
The audiobook narrator, Boyer, has a tough book to work with. There are a wide range of characters of multiple nationalities to act out (Canadian, German, French, New York, Massachusetts, etc…). Additionally, at least three different languages are spoken (English, French, and German). I’m not fluent in anything but English, but I did take German in university, and I can say that his German accent is at least passable. He also does an excellent job creating a unique voice for each character. I only rarely got lost, and that was generally due to rapid-fire conversation where each character only had a word or two. I must say, though, that he does mispronounce a few words, which detracts from Yancey’s gorgeous writing. I blame the audiobook director for this, though. S/he should have realized and corrected this. Overall, though, the mispronounced words are only in a couple of locations and do not deeply affect the reading of the book.
Overall this is an excellent follow-up to a remarkable first book in the series. It brings to the table that which made the first so powerful: YA horror with rich language set in a historic time period. But it also changes things up enough to avoid falling into the monster-of-the-week trap. The entries in the series are part of a larger story, and that can be seen. Fans of the first book should pick up the second book asap.
5 out of 5 stars
Lilith Grey has spent her entire life living below ground–among the lucky descendants of the humans who escaped there before catching the virus that turned the rest of humanity into monsters from fairy tales. But one day Lilith and her friend Emma get temporary vaccines and go above ground to a tourist theater to view these vampires and shapeshifters in person. When everything goes horribly wrong, Lilith finds herself whisked away from the carnage on the back of a werewolf. Can she ever get back below ground?
I was hesitant to accept a YA book for review, since the genre is not one I tend to enjoy. But I had previously read and thoroughly enjoyed a book by this indie author, so I decided to give it a go. Her other work, Hungry For You, is a collection of zombie themed short stories that manages to put a fresh twist on that genre, so I was hoping for more of that unique glint in her YA work as well. This, her first full-length novel, is more unique than what is currently saturating the market, but I did not feel that it lived up to the expectations I had based on her short story collection.
The basic concept is intriguing. Many post-apocalyptic stories feature humans living in bomb shelters or other similar underground enclosures but not for the reasons put forth in this novel. This unique twist is what I’ve come to expect from Harte’s writing, and it definitely was the part of the story that kept me reading. Seeing how the mutated humans lived above ground versus how the non-mutated lived below ground was intriguing and interesting. I wish more time had been spent building this world and less on the emotions of the main character (not to mention her friend, Emma, and the werewolf, Silver). The scifi explanations for the fantastical creatures was also engaging, but again not enough time was spent on it. Similarly, while the typical werewolves and vampires exist among the infected above ground, there are also the more unique such as the ewtes who mutated to live in the water but can walk on the ground with water tanks. Actually, I could have easily spent an entire book among the ewtes. They were far more interesting than our stereotypical main character Lilith. The world and minor characters are what kept me reading….not the plot or main characters.
The initial plot set-up is painfully stereotypical. Clueless teenage girls wind up in danger. Two men save them. One is an angst-ridden werewolf. The other is a mysterious, handsome intelligent fella. The girls protest they can care for themselves but the reader can see they can’t really. The main teenage girl feels inexplicably pulled to the werewolf angst man. The werewolf angst man feels drawn to the teenage girl and angsts about it. And on we go. The last few pages of plot, thankfully, didn’t take the typical turn, but honestly the pay-off was incredibly minor compared to the rest of the stereotypical YA plot. Even just making it a teenage boy from below ground saved by a female werewolf would have been a change enough to make me more interested. I also was disappointed to see no depth or examination of the human condition here, which I saw in Harte’s previous work. I was excited to see what depth she could bring to YA but she didn’t even bring an empowered female main character to the genre. Quite disappointing.
Ignoring my own quips with the plot and main characters, the book simply does not read like a solid first entry in a series. It gives the reader mere tastes of what we want to know from a first book in a series, like who the DEI are and why everyone is afraid of them, while lingering on things like how the main character craves the werewolf. That is fine if it was a paranormal romance, but it feels more like it is meant to be a post-apocalyptic/dystopian style novel. A clearer world needs to be established and characters more fully fleshed-out if they are to hold up a whole series. There has to be a clear world and a three-dimensional main character set up before the danger if the reader is to feel any connection or caring at all. As it is, I mostly just wanted to wander off and follow the ewtes.
Overall, then, this is definitely a book for YA fans only. It’s the basic plot from YA with a twist set in a unique future world that was fun to visit. YA fans will have to try it out for themselves to determine how much they will enjoy that visit.
3 out of 5 stars
Source: Kindle copy received from author in exchange for my honest review
Giveaway! The author is running a giveaway along with her month long blog tour. Check out the rafflecopter for details!
Alexia Tarabotti isn’t just suffering from being half-Italian in Victorian England, she also is soulless. Unlike vampires, werewolves, and other supernaturals who successfully changed thanks to an excess of soul, or even having just enough soul like day dwellers, she simply has none. Plus as a preternatural she turns the supernaturals human when she touches them. Obviously they aren’t a fan of that. Except for one particularly persnickety werewolf, Lord Maccon, who is Scottish to boot. And to top it all off a mysterious wax-faced man suddenly seems very interested in kidnapping her. None of this seems particularly civilized.
The Parasol Protectorate series was all the rage when this book made it onto my tbr pile back in 2010. That was kind of the beginning of the steampunk craze, before you could find gears on everything in the costume shop. I can see why this series is popular, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
The world building is wonderful and is what kept me reading. A good steampunk blends history, science, and fashion to make for a semi-familiar but deliciously unique world that’s delightful for history and science geeks alike to play around in. Carriger pulls this off beautifully. The fashion is Victorian with a steampunk edge. The politics are recognizable but with the supernatural and steampowered sciences taking a role. A great example of how well this world works is that in England the supernatural came out and became part of society, whereas America was the result of the Puritans condemning the acceptance of the supernatural who they believe sold their souls to the devil. This is a great blend of reality and alternate history.
The plot wasn’t a huge mystery, which is kind of sad given the complexity of the world building. What really bothered me though was the romantic plot, which suffered badly from a case of instalove. Although we hear of delightful prior encounters between Alexia and Lord Maccon, we didn’t see them. We mostly see him going from hating her to loving her and demanding her hand in marriage. It just felt lazy compared to the other elements of the book. I get it that Carriger could be poking fun at Victorian era romances, but I think that would have worked better if it didn’t have such a Victorian ending. Plus, I didn’t pick up this book to read a romance. I wanted a steampunk mystery with a strong female lead. I didn’t like how quickly the romance took over the whole plot.
Potential readers should take a glance at the first chapter and see if Carriger’s humor works for them. I can see how if I was laughing through the whole book I’d have enjoyed it more, but the…decidedly British humor just did not work for me. It didn’t bother me; I just didn’t find it funny. I mostly sat there going, “Oh, she thinks she’s being funny…..” Humor is highly personal, so I’m not saying it’s bad. It just isn’t my style. It might be yours.
Overall this is a creatively complex steampunk world with an unfortunately average plot overtaken by instaromance and seeped in dry, British humor. It is recommended to steampunk fans who find that style of humor amusing and don’t mind some instalove all up in their story. That does not describe this reader, so I won’t be continuing on with the series.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Reuben Golding is a talented new journalist who feels as if he is floundering around with no direction in his family of wealthy, talented people. That all changes when he’s bitten in a mysterious attack while writing about an old house on the seacoast. He shortly discovers that the bite has turned him into a man wolf–like a werewolf, but with the ability to change every night. Oh, and also he has an insatiable desire to devour those who smell like evil. His quest for answers about his new situation will open up a whole new world to him.
It needs to be said that having read only Anne Rice’s earlier books, I somehow missed the memo that she went from atheist to Catholic in the early 2000s. As an agnostic myself, one of the things I love about her earlier novels, beyond the poetic writing, is this search for meaning without belief in a god that the characters demonstrate. So. I was less than thrilled to find god all up in my werewolves. *growl*
But it of course is more than philosophical differences that make this book bad. The writing is just….not what it used to be. The pacing is off. Parts of the novel wax eloquent about the redwood forests, but then action sequences feel like Rice was trying to mimic the style of pulp authors like Palahniuk. (Something that she does poorly, btw). I get wanting to try a new style, but you need to pick one or the other. The up and down almost randomness of the style changes made it difficult to get into the story.
Then we have the story itself. If Rice had gone just slightly more absurd, this would make an excellent humorous novel. Of course, it’s not meant to be. A perfect example is one scene that I keep thinking over just for the giggles it gives me. The scene, is supposed to be one of the pivotal, more serious ones in the book, naturally. Reuben is in his wolf form and having just run through the forest eating animals, he stands on his hind legs and spins in a circle while singing the Shaker song “Simple Gifts.” And then a woman in a cabin sees this and naturally they have the hot hot beastiality sex. (Note: I do not actually find this scene hot at all. In fact I find it really fucking disturbing, and I don’t find ANYTHING disturbing usually). It isn’t like scenes of sex and violence in other novels that are part of an overall narrative designed to help you understand something. It’s not an allegory of anything either. It just is there because….yeah, I don’t know why it’s there, actually.
Then we have the wonderful presence of an atheist character who is clearly there so Rice can lecture atheists via her book. Oh you silly atheists! Of course there’s a god! The whole of nature is reaching toward him and yadda yadda yadda *eye-roll* This is just bad writing. It’s such an obvious attempt to be able to directly lecture the readers that it’s painful to see. Particularly after knowing that Rice is capable of actual eloquent writing.
Also the whole entire concept of having werewolves actually be evil-fighting do-gooders is like a furry version of Batman. And who wants that? Nobody, that’s who.
Speaking of Batman, if I have to read one more book about a poor little privileged white boy, I’m going to lose my mind. Aww, poor Reuben, he has a high-achieving lawyer girlfriend who loves him, a surgeon mother, a giving brother, and a professor father, but Reuben is bad at science and everyone tells him a 23 year old can’t write. People need to take him seriously! Poor Reuben. And Reuben claims he changes after getting the “wolf gift” but he really doesn’t. He still whines to anyone who will listen and runs around trying to tell everyone else what to do but never bothers to actually force himself to grow up. He could have been an interesting main character if the wolf gift actually challenged and changed him. But it doesn’t. He’s still the same, whiny, privileged rich kid. Only now he’s surrounded by the slightly creepy doting wolf pack.
Oh, and Rice? Wolf packs don’t consist of only one gender, idiot. Research? Have you heard of it?
Overall, this was an incredibly irritating and frustrating read that I disliked so much I’m not even going to do my usual of passing on my reviewer’s copy to my dad. This one is going in the recycling bin. And you all should give it a pass as well.
1 out of 5 stars
Source: Copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review
Jacob Marlowe finds out he’s the last werewolf living and has just been informed by the WOCOP that they plan to kill him during the next full moon. That’s just fine with him. He’s been living for almost 200 years and is just plain tired of it. So he plans to let the WOCOP’s tails follow him and just let the death happen. The fates don’t quite see it that way, though, and nothing quite goes according to Jake’s plans.
Think of this as what would have happened if Anne Rice chose to write about werewolves instead of vampires. The Last Werewolf reads very much like Interview with a Vampire only with the characteristics of werewolves instead of vampires of course. By this I mean that the sentences and story structure are incredibly literary while addressing the highly genre topic of werewolves.
Unlike vampires, werewolves must eat a human during each full moon or they become ill. Animals are no substitute. They cannot take a bite and leave the victim alive. No, they must completely ravish the victim. This is no weak True Blood style werepanther or werewolf that can simply shift at will and avoid killing people. Jake is affected by The Hunger and must eat and kill to stay alive. The rest of the month when he’s not in wolf form he has to come to terms with his actions. The crux and root of the dilemma at the heart of the story is this:
We’re the worst thing because for us the worst thing is the best thing. And it’s only the best thing for us if it’s the worst thing for someone else. (page 197)
It’s quite the moral conundrum and is addressed eloquently in the story.
There is also of course Jake’s suicidal mentality. He wants to die, but he doesn’t want to be the one to do it. He’s completely over life. Life is boring and pointless. There are absolutely some beautifully depressing passages about the emptiness of life that both perfectly depict depression and remind me a bit of the Romantic period of poetry. Think of Lord Byron. That type of thing. Beautifully suicidal. That may bother some readers. To me, it’s often a part of great literature. This overwhelming sadness and feelings of helplessness. They’re common human emotions and lend a great force to the narrative.
Now, I was sent this for review due to how much I enjoyed American Psycho in January, so I was expecting it to be graphically violent and sexual and have the two mixed-up. It is all of those things but–dare I say it–it wasn’t quite violent enough for me. I was expecting something shocking, due to the American Psycho connection, but I can see a lot of people reading this and not being put-off by the amount of violence. Compared to your average R rated action flick, it’s really not that bad. On the other hand, a lot of people are profoundly disturbed by the violence in American Psycho. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the level of violence in this book, and I think Duncan was probably smart in that, since it will have a wider appeal. What can I say. I was looking forward to something incredibly gross and twisted and instead got a lot of beautiful prose with the occasional murder. It was a happy surprise, absolutely. I just want to make it abundantly clear to potential readers that if you can handle an R rated horror movie, you can definitely handle the violence in this book, so don’t be turned off!
So the prose is beautiful and the topics addressed and discussed are important or at least interesting, so why am I not raving? The ending left me disappointed. It felt rather cliche and expected, and I didn’t like what became the focus in the end. There are so many other ways the ending could have gone that would have been amazing and powerful, but instead I finished this book and basically said, “AGH not this shit again.” *mini-spoiler* It includes pregnancy and babies, and ya’ll know how I feel about that. *end mini-spoiler*
Overall this is a literary take on a genre theme. It is violent and sexual, but not disturbingly so. Recommended to fans of Anne Rice.
4 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review
Hurricane Katrina and the bombing of the vampire assembly at Rhodes have left the Louisiana supernatural community reeling and disjointed. This naturally creates the perfect atmosphere for attempted violent takeovers in both the were and vampire communities. Sookie finds herself smack in the middle, as usual, both due to her telepathic abilities and her desire to help her friends. Of course her telepathic abilities can’t tell her where her boyfriend, Quinn, has disappeared to. In the middle of all this, she also finds out some interesting family secrets.
Not only is Sookie’s character developing and changing, but the series is as well, and that’s what’s keeping it interesting this many books in. If you’ve stuck it out this long, then you’re clearly enjoying something that Harris is doing; however, I would say that the previous book and this one mark a stark change in the style of the series away from paranormal romance to just paranormal fiction. I’m actually not sure what exactly one would call this genre, but From Dead to Worse definitely reads like modern-day fiction just with supernatural characters tossed in. I really enjoy this partly because Harris’ sex scenes are cringe-inducing anyway, but also because it allows for that modern day connection but with problems that I will never have. This makes it a relaxing read.
Unlike some paranormal series, the main character of Sookie has gone through significant character developments. She went from a naive girl desperate to fit in to sadder but wiser woman who enjoys being different. In the first book, we see Sookie being cared for by her grandmother; in this one, we see Sookie caring for not only the witch, Amelia, but also an elderly woman, Octavia. It’s not just this that’s changing, however. Sookie’s experiences leave her wondering if she’s a good person or not, and frankly the reader is left trying to figure that out as well.
Some readers will be thrown by the absence of sex in this book. However, I enjoyed the various types of sexual and romantic interest tension Sookie has with the various men in her life. It is evident that she’s attempting to figure out which direction she wants to go in her life before settling on a man. Racking up this tension throughout one book is a great set-up for the next one.
My only gripes with this entry in the series are two-fold. First, I really don’t like the Jason/Hotshot storyline. Jason could be a very interesting character, as we know from the direction they’ve taken him in True Blood. He’s not used well in the books, though, and I hope Harris fixes this soon. I’m tired of cringing over the Hotshot scenes. Also, this book yet again features a northern woman who yet again is an evil bitch in Sookie’s eyes. This is obviously Harris’ own prejudice coming through as Sookie has been established as a person who is staunchly not prejudiced against anyone. What is with this hating on northern women? It says a lot about Harris that this prejudice seeps into her writing even when writing a character who is not prejudiced. I’m sick of seeing it, and it stings as a northern female fan of the series.
However, in spite of these short-comings, the series is still enjoyable. This book marks a distinct change in the writing from paranormal romance to simply paranormal. Readers who’ve stuck it out this far will either enjoy this change as I do or give up on the series due to its lack of romance. If you’re reading it for the characters and the world Harris has created, you will enjoy this entry into the series. If you’re reading it for paranormal romance, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
4 out of 5 stars
Previous Books in Series:
Dead Until Dark, review
Living Dead in Dallas, review
Club Dead, review
Dead To The World, review
Dead as a Doornail, review
Definitely Dead, review
All Together Dead, review
Against her fairy godmother’s better judgment, Sookie accompanies the Louisiana vampire contingency to Rhodes, Illinois for the vampire summit to work for the queen reading human minds at the various wheelings and dealings. She is excited that Quinn will be there as well, but a wrench is thrown in the works of their relationship when she is forced to exchange blood for a third time with Eric. To top it all off Sookie and fellow telepath Barry have the odd sensation that something isn’t quite right at the summit. It’s a lot for small-town girl Sookie to handle in one week in the north.
I want to say the action in this entry into Sookie’s adventures is excellent, but it isn’t quite there. The minor side-mysteries are quite good, but they are meant to distract from the main event, which frankly I had figured out way way way before Sookie. It was pratically hitting her in the face, and she didn’t get it. So the mystery leaves a little to be desired.
On the other hand, the plot point where Andre is trying to force Sookie to exchange blood with him, and Eric steps up to exchange blood with her instead is excellent. Quinn is unjustifiably angry, and Sookie discovers that trading blood three times is a magical number. She is more closely tied to Eric than she is comfortable with, and she is left incredibly confused about her feelings for him vs her feelings for Quinn. This is a love conflict that is bound to prove interesting because she has feelings for Eric but intellectually believes Quinn is a wiser choice. Now this is juicy romantic conflict!
Something that has been bugging me about the series that is featured epicenter of this book though is the whole idea of the vampires arranging their kingdoms based on the states. There’s the King of Tennessee and the Queen of Louisiana, and they even call each other simply by the state (as in, “Oh hi, Louisiana”). This makes zero sense. Why would the super-powerful and, for the majority of existence, hidden vampires arrange themselves based on arbitrary human dividing lines? Sure having multiple kingdoms in the US makes sense, but not arranged based on the human-created state lines. It doesn’t fit into the characterization of what a vampire is.
I think what really bothered me about this book though was that it made me dislike Sookie. I don’t like how she behaves, her superficial focus on clothing, or her prejudiced view of northerners. (Not a single northern woman she runs into does she view as anything other than a rude bitch). I don’t always need to like my main characters, but I think in a paranormal romance that’s problematic.
Overall, the action is excellent, even if some of the world-building doesn’t make sense and the characterization can be off-putting. I think this may be a set-up for a major, character-changing circumstance in Sookie’s life, which would make it more understandable. We’ll see if I’m right.
3 out of 5 stars
Source: Bought on Amazon
Sookie needs to go to New Orleans for both personal and business reasons. Her cousin Hadley had been a vampire but died her second death leaving everything to Sookie, so she needs to go clean out her apartment. As far as business goes, the queen of Louisiana has also requested her presence to figure out if she will require Sookie’s services for the upcoming vampire summit. When Sookie finds out that Hadley was the queen’s lover, a connection between the two purposes for the visit shows up that may be more significant than she at first realizes.
I’m glad I learned on some blog (wish I could remember which one) that a short story comes between the previous book and this one in the series, otherwise I would have thought I missed a book or something. That annoying tendency to retell things that already happened? Actually awfully helpful here, since I haven’t read that short story. You don’t need to read the short story to enjoy this book, but I wish I had and advise you to as well. If you’re interested, some investigation reveals that short story is contained in the collection of Sookie short stories called A Touch of Dead.
Also thankfully, my prediction that Dead as a Doornail was a random clunker and not a death toll for the series was correct. Definitely Dead is a step back up in quality. The multiple storylines actuall do reveal to be related and not just random throwaways designed to throw you off the scent of the main mystery. We also get the addition of a new supe–part-demons–and some serious reveals. I mean makes you rethink how you look at the entire story reveals. To give you non-spoilery hints, you learn something about Bill and something about just why Sookie is so darn appealing to the supe guys. I personally love that sort of thing, and I’m hoping these two reveals will help the series continue to grow and expand.
On the minus side, I have to come right out and say it that I am not impressed with Quinn. I’m glad Sookie has become a bit more savvy about pursuing a long-term relationship, but with Quinn? Really? The man’s looks don’t match what has been established to be Sookie’s type at all–tall and lean–he is instead the muscle-bound guy. That suits some women, but it comes out of the blue that Sookie’s at all attracted to him. Also, what’s with the purple eyes? On what planet is it sexy for a man to have eyes not only an unnatural color, but an unnatural color that’s girly? I of course dislike him for nonsuperficial reasons too. He seems far too perfect. He says those puke-inducing gushy things to Sookie that, I’m sorry, perfectly nice men just don’t say in real life, and you know why they don’t say them? Because they sound corny and false and how the man treats you is far more important than what he says to you. There’s also the fact that he originally came on to her when there was a fight to the death going on in front of them, something I find indicative of just how sympathetic he really is to other people. Frankly, I just don’t find Quinn or Sookie’s interest in him believable. Something just rings false about the whole thing. It isn’t like her interactions with Eric, for example, that are full of witty banter and internal conflict about liking this person on both sides. Quinn and Sookie’s conversations literally make me want to puke at how disgustingly sweet and false they sound. Reading their conversations is like eating a twinkie. A deep-fried twinkie.
Thankfully, there isn’t much Quinn in this book, so it’s still an enjoyable read and a sign of better things to come in the series.
3 out of 5 stars
Source: Bought on Amazon
Someone is shooting shifters in the parish, and the Werepanthers are suspicious of Jason. Sookie sets out to clear his name, but things get a bit more complicated when it becomes clear someone has their eye not only on the shifters, but also on her.
Although the back cover claims this entry into the Sookie-verse is full of entertaining plot-twists, it actually reads as a been there, done that, plot.
Jason is in trouble, again. Sookie’s fairy godmother has to save her, again. Someone isn’t what they seem. Again. Sam still has the major hots for Sookie (though I’ll never understand why. She seems to just use him repeatedly when she needs help). Bill still wants Sookie even though he’s sleeping with someone else, and Alcide is still kind of a jerk.
I think the problem with this book is that it doesn’t move the overarching plot forward much at all. There is a tiny development in the Sookie/Eric plotline, but that’s all. I guess I could forgive this if the individual storyline was new and exciting, but it’s not. Ooo, someone’s targeting the supes. Big deal.
In spite of all these complaints, I still want to keep reading the series. This book read more like a clunker episode of a tv series you really love than a death toll. I expect things will improve in the next book, and this was just a mystery idea that went bad for Harris.
2 out of 5 stars
Source: Bought on Amazon
Just because Sookie has broken up with Bill doesn’t mean her relationship with the supernatural world is over–especially when she finds Eric naked and suffering from amnesia on the side of the road. When she discovers from Pam that a league of evil witches have their sights set on ruling Shreveport, she agrees to hide Eric while the vampires, werewolves, and Wiccans attempt to fend off the witches. To top it off, Sookie’s brother has gone missing, which may or may not be related to the near-war going on.
While the books in the series so far have been improving, Dead to the World is definitely a step back.
The individual plot lines aren’t so bad, but Harris doesn’t do a good job of keeping them integrated and flowing. The book reads as if it has too many sticks in the fire. Just too much happens in such a short book. The reader is left feeling a bit of whiplash from the rapidly changing storylines and situations.
I knew Sookie would have a rebound after Bill, but I’d hoped Harris would be more creative than having that rebound be Eric. Don’t get me wrong. I like Eric better than Bill, but I also enjoyed the tension between him and Sookie. I wish that had lasted longer. Similarly, I don’t think giving Eric amnesia was a wise character development choice. I’m pretty sure anyone with amnesia plopped into the supernatural world would be a cowering mess. That doesn’t tell us anything about who Eric is underneath his persona. Sookie’s interactions with him therefore felt so fake that I not only couldn’t take real interest in them, I was also a bit grossed out by the falseness of them. I didn’t expect Sookie’s rebound to be emotional, but I did expect it to be more real.
On the other hand, Sookie’s character development takes a nice turn. Without Bill in the picture, she may have expected the supernatural world to pretty much leave her alone. Instead she finds out they still depend on her. Through the various situations, she starts to become a more empowered version of herself, and I enjoyed seeing that.
The best part of the book by far is Jason’s plot-line. I can’t say much more or I’ll give away the secret, but suffice to say that I hope True Blood gets to this part of the story sooner rather than later.
While I’m irritated by some of the character development choices Harris has made, I am still enjoying the world she has created. I am hoping though that the series returns to the tight, witty writing found in Club Dead.
3 out of 5 stars
Source: Bought on Amazon