Book Reviews

Book Review: Living Dead in Dallas, by Charlaine Harris. (Book 2 in the Sookie Stackhouse series 2002).

The first book Dead Until Dark, ended with Sookie surviving a series of murders in her home town Bon Temp, which were committed by Arelene’s (co-worker at Merlotte’s and friend) on again off again boyfriend Rene. She is battered and bruised but alive. She also finds out that her should have been savior, boyfriend Vampire Bill Compton had gone to a regional political meeting to campaigned for a higher position to rival that of Eric Northman, the “Sherrif of Area 5″. Eric, along with Pam are from neighboring Sheverport and Eric is seen by Sookie as his “Boss”.

This book, Living Dead in Dallas, authored by Charlaine Harris, begins with Sookie bruised, but back at work, and trying to get on with her stranger than average life. However this “normalcy” doesn’t extend far into the first chapter! The cook at Merlotte’s Lafayette, is found dead in Andy Belefluer’s car, and goes from bad to worse when Bill is summoned by Eric to assist Vampires in Dallas find a missing nest brother. Sookie did make a promise to use her gift to help her new-found “friends” freely (a vital mistake in the last novel) and is now at liberty to follow through. However, this pays a toll on the Sookie and Bill love affair, as things turn sour and Sookie returns home after their trip alone.

When she arrives home there is still the issue of what happened to poor Lafayette. Determined to help Andy, Sookie asks Eric to accompany her to a “sex party” so she can use her gift to listen in on people’s thoughts. Not only do they reveal the murderer and provide an offering to a Maynard which just happened to demand respect right when things were already difficult, but Sookie also finds that she could be a part of a possible love triangle, and with Eric of all human and supernatural beings!.
What a whirlwind of events! And that isn’t all that happens. Charlaine Harris has packed this novel so full of action that it’s almost difficult to keep up. The reader often feels sorry for Sookie, as she goes through physical and emotional trials, all for the love of her Vampire. Not to mention the numerous near death experiences by various assailants, including a religious cult! And where did all this hard work get her? Alone and forced to ask a favour from a Vampire who would do anything to climb between the sheets with her. I don’t think anyone would blame Sookie if she packed her bags and headed for the proverbial hills. Bon Temps and anywhere with Vampire interest doesn’t seem safe. But even so, the risk still seems exciting.

Even though these events are all way out of the ballpark, Charlaine Harris has discovered a way to tell the story with truth and conviction from the characters point of view. Sookie Stackhouse does live in a world of Vampires and the author has taken the readers on a “sky-dive” of adventures. I think she has really created something special. I love it. The story line is so fun and it runs together like clock work.
My rating for this book is 8/10. Fabulous series so far and lots of openings for more to follow. Even though plot is very far-fetched, those who don’t ordinarily like books with a supernatural taste, would still get a kick out of this series. Recommend for ages 15 years and older.


Book Reviews

Book Review: Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris. (Book 1 of the Sookie Stackhouse series 2001).

Originally before writing this review I had begun this series after purchasing “True Blood Omnibus”, which contained the first three novels of the series. After re-hashing the beginning of this post several times, I realized why I was having such a  difficult time writing. I just can’t heap these books together and review them. It just doesn’t do it justice. Not only have I found the first book of this series to be extremely entertaining, but I have found the subsequent novels do not fail to keep me enthralled for hours when technically I should be sleeping! Thus I have decided to review each of the Sookie Stackhouse series individually, the way they were originally intended, even though I have the Omnibus. If nothing else I feel it respectful to the author.The first novel of the Sookie Stackhouse series is – Dead Until Dark, and is authored by Charlaine Harris. In this novel, Charlaine introduces the idea that the supernatural could one day wish to “come out of the closet” so to speak, and join main stream society. A world where the impossible becomes the possible, and something as insane as Vampires join the human race. Dead Until Dark establishes such a phenomenon with the simple creation of – “True Blood”. A synthetic form of blood which allows Vampires to feed and sustain themselves whilst not requiring Humans as “live prey”. With this in mind, the whole story begins with Sookie Stackhouse and her first meeting with a vampire.

Sookie Stackhouse is an ordinary 20 something girl, or so she would like to have you believe, with a secret. A curse as she calls it. She works in the local bar and lives with her grandmother in the house her father was raised in. She doesn’t have a boyfriend, and she doesn’t often date. That is mainly due to one reason. She is able to read people’s minds. She is telepathic. Which turns out comes in handy when there is a serial murderer in town killing women who have been known to fraternize with Vampires. Especially considering she meets her first Vampire who also becomes her boyfriend!

Dead Until Dark, has been an experience in it itself. Reading this roller coaster has been so entertaining I have honestly devoted way too much time to it! The idea of Vampires becoming public and existing on synthetic blood has put an entirely new spin on the supernatural stance. It really is a fantastic twist, and has opened a huge range of possibilities. The murders kept the story flowing at a rapid rate, and gave fate to pull twists and turns on young Sookie’s love life, which also kept me glued to each page throughout the book.

I would recommend these books to anyone who is interested in Vampire’s and Werewolves. Those who enjoyed – “Supernatural” and “Vampire Diaries” on TV may also find this series interesting. This is a book for young adults, though does contain a lot of older material which could also be offensive to some people. However, I think that it would be suitable to anyone aged 15+. Out of 10, I would rate this book a definite 8.

So far so good. I am getting into the story. Charlaine Harris has really let her talent shine with this book, and I am looking forward to some time to read more.


Book Reviews

Book Review: The Fathomless Caves, by Kate Forsythe (2002). Book 6 in the Witches of Eileanan series. 

The Fathomless Caves is the final novel in the Witches of Eileanan saga, and deals with the final battle with the Fairgean. Thanks to Jorge the Seer, Isabeau and her counterparts are aware of a colossal tragedy about to occur in the form of a tidal wave. The Fairgean have used powerful magic in their attempt to eradicate their enemy’s and anything that dwells on the land. Iseult and Lachlan attempt everything they can to avoid their disaster and the strength of their relationship is tested.
Meanwhile Isabeau struggles with her own challenges in order to become a sorceress and ultimately heal the lands and people of Eileanan of the past wars inflictions. Facing past enemies she also must earn the right to wear the scar of a soul sage. As usual she faces one disaster while her sister deals with another. Honestly I was hoping for more “togetherness” so to speak.

Kate Forsythe has written a great ending to a fabulous series, giving the reader entrance into a whole other world and introducing magical and wonderful characters. I enjoyed The Fathomless Caves, though it really wasn’t the finale that I had expected. For some reason I felt it lacked unity of the characters towards the end. A real sense of something missing or dragged on too long. I recommend this book to mid teens and up and give it a rating of 6/10 stars.

As a series I felt that the storyline and setting where phenomenal, and the writing and style amazing. However, it did seem that the series storyline was dragged out in some ways and lacking in others. As a series I give the Witches of Eileanan series a rating of 5.5/10. Great work Kate Forsythe.


Book Reviews

Book Review: The Skull of the World, by Kate Forsythe (2001). Book 5 in the Witches of Eileanan series.

Isabeau remains with her sisters people, the Khan’cohbans, after helping Maya escape and giving her back her daughter Bronwyn. She is in exile due to the misunderstanding of her actions and Lachlan being unbending in his wrath. However, she does have the opportunity to get to know her other family, spending summer with her parents and winter amongst the Khan’cohbans as the dragon Queen had commanded. It is when she travels to find her true name that she also discovers her true witch gifts.
Meanwhile, Iseult and Lachlan have been busy with the invasion of Tìrsoilleir. While they are away fighting the Bright Soldiers, Margrit the Thistle kidnaps their son Donncan, the heir to the throne, and her grandson, Iain’s son Neil. 

The Skull of the world is a riveting and surprising instalment to the series, expanding on Isabeau’s character and world in general. Admittedly I enjoyed this episode greatly, though I did find the storyline becoming complicated in places and hard to follow. I recommend this book for mid teens and up and rate it 6.5/10 stars.


Book Reviews

Book Review: The Forbidden Land, by Kate Forsythe (2001). Book 4 in the witches of Eileanan series.

With Eileanan trying to recover from war and Lachlan now ruling the lands, it is time for more evil to be cleansed from the lands and the rightful rulers put back into their seats. Elfrida NicHilde, is one of these such rulers, and along with a small party of witches loyal to Lachlan and implored by him to help, sets out to take back Tìrsoilleir, and free a long term prisoner Killian the Listener.
These tasks set before the small party are not an easy feat to achieve and Lachlan appeals to the banprionnsa Finn for help. As Finn has fought beside Lachlan and the Eileanan Witches many times before it didn’t take much convincing to get her to join them. It isn’t long before the party are deep in the thick of their mission facing dangers and testing their resolve, but what they find may not be what they had counted on. 

Again Kate Forsythe has given us another thrilling episode in the Witches of Eileanan series. Filled with magic, action, and suspense, The Forbidden land is a nice addition to an epic storyline. I recommend this book for mid teens and up, and I give it a rating of 7/10.