I’m going a little off-course today. I’d originally planned another “Toppling the TBR Giveaway,” but I read this interesting interview on the SF Signal site with author Charlaine Harris and thought I’d talk about Sookie Stackhouse instead.
Well, heck, why can’t I do both? Comment at the end, and you can win a Five-Book Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Mystery Box. How about that!?!
So, back to “Soo-kay.” I have Deadlocked, book twelve in the series, sitting atop my TBR pile and haven’t had a chance to read it yet because life is insane these days and my reading is almost stalled. But there will be one more book next spring before what began as the Southern Vampires Series draws to a close.
I was a latecomer to the Sookie series. After not reading urban fantasy for a number of years, in 2009-10 I began devouring all the big series I’d missed, reading Dresden and Nightside in order, then moving to Anita Blake 1-16 (I’m woefully behind with that series too). But Sookie was somehow off my radar until someone who’d read early manuscripts of my first two books, Royal Street and River Road, made a comment that they were “kind of like Sookie” since they were paranormals with humor set in Louisiana.
So, off I went in search of Sookie, filled with both alarm and curiosity. I have to admit now that it took me three tries to read the first book. I loved the idea but I got squinchy over the first Sookie-Bill sex scene where she loses her virginity and he…blood…mouth…ick. In theory, I thought the scene was clever; in practice, I was squeamish. So, confession made.
Eventually, I pushed past it and fell in love with the series and got all into the Team Eric and Team Bill drama. (Oh yeah, Team Eric all the way, although I had serious Quinn-love for a while there.) And, as it turns out, other than being set in Louisiana (very different parts of Louisiana) and having elements of humor, my Sentinels series and the Sookie series aren’t similar at all.
But I’ll always care about Sookie (as she is in my head, as formed through the books. I don’t even think of “True Blood” as being the same characters). She has a fascinating blend of naivete and hard-headed practicality that I fell in love with…and that would be hard to sustain across that many books.
I think any really long series runs into that issue–how do the characters keep growing and changing as people do…and yet remain the same characters we fell in love with? I think it’s why we often see such drastic steps taken in long-running series.
Laurell K. Hamilton seemed to have written Anita Blake into a corner trying to keep her developing and changing without losing her essential character, and it took the series in a direction a lot of readers didn’t like, although I personally didn’t have a problem with it (which might sound strange coming from the woman who got all squeamish over Sookie and Bill’s first love scene). Charlaine Harris broadened her world–and Sookie’s–with the fairy element. Jim Butcher…well, I can’t talk about the Big Change he made to Harry Dresden’s world without major spoilers, in case you haven’t read the last few books of that series. But it was a ballsy move. It’s interesting to watch as JR Ward expands her fabulous Black Dagger Brotherhood world now that the original brothers have all had their bhooks (no, that isn’t a typo).
I don’t really have a point to make in all this except that I hope to read Deadlocked soon and that, whether you’ve stuck with Sookie through all her changes or don’t like the fairy storylines, I think we’ll miss Sookie and the wonderful blend of urban fantasy and paranormal romance Charlaine Harris brought to the table.
Now…want to win that Five-Book Surprise Box? Just tell me your favorite character from the Sookie Stackhouse book series or the “True Blood” TV show–or admit it if you haven’t read or watched–and you’ll be in the running! I still love Quinn and Eric in the books, and Lafayette on the TV show. As always, one entry for a comment, and extra entries for blog followers, Twitter followers @Suzanne_Johnson, and for a Tweet or RT of the contest. Now, let’s all say it together: “Soo–kay!”