So, I read the newest Sookie soon after it was released, and I can say it was a more complete novel than the previous one, which seemed to contain a lot of filler and not a great deal of substance from what I remember. I mean, I enjoyed that one, too; it just seemed like there wasn’t much there, like it was all incidental stuff, not a main event.
Still, you’ll probably remember that at the end of last year’s Sookie, we meet Dermot and – guess what? – he’s really not the hideous beast that Niall claimed him to be. At least that’s how it seemed and, frankly, how it still seems, for the most part. This newest Sookie took the plot forward in many ways, and I can see that Harris is setting up – rather well, depending on how the last book goes – some conclusion in the series. So, Dermot was completely innocuous last year and, this year, may be the same, but there may be reason for a wee bit of suspicion creeping in. Well done, there, I’d say. It’s rather interesting and done with subtlety.
Then, of course, there’s the rotten feeling that you may be getting – I’m certainly getting it – that Sookie’s life has not turned out all that well. I have been perhaps unfairly critical of Charlaine Harris’s writing ability – I was quite mean actually in the past – but I should perhaps have not been so harsh. There is a building that’s been going on, particularly in this latest book, that shows how vastly different Sookie’s character -really, the personal traits that make her her – has changed since the beginning of the series. Remember how worried she’d always be about right and wrong? Well, Harris has done a good job of showing how this quality has kind of evaporated from Sookie’s make-up. Harris says as much, but she also demonstrates it through Sookie’s actions and thoughts and words. Sookie is now more no-nonsense. It’s almost more like what I imagine to be a more warrior-like mentality: if she doesn’t kill them, they will kill her. The ‘them/they’ being adversaries to her circle of paranormal friends. This was not the original Sookie and it demonstrates a dynamism that has been at work that can be missed because of some weaker plot points and definitely weak editing on the part of Harris’ publishers.
What’s got me enthused about the next and, I believe it’s been reported last, book is the cluviel dor which, you’ve got to give to Harris, is a great phrase. I’m recklessly hoping that, with it, she undoes all that she’s done and can disengage herself from the sticky web of paranormal intrigue she’s gotten herself into. But, we have to wait to find out.
I also just noticed what a good job Harris does with naming characters. They are sometimes a bit over the top – really, Sookie Stackhouse – but who cares. A name that’s just too much is good every once in a while. But there are other names, too. For example,
Quinn – A short no-frills name for a physically compact and pragmatically-natured were-animal who’s had a lot of personal issues to deal with while juggling work responsibilities, too. The sparse, controlled quality of the name fits. It helps express the flavor of what he brings to the books, as a good name should. (Please Note: He’s not in Dead Reckoning.)
Mr. Cataliades – A name most readers, like me, are probably not quitesure how to pronounce for a character equally mysterious in his comings and goings. Exactly what is the realm he comes from like? He’s different than the Fae, though perhaps it’s the same land that he’s from? I can’t remember.First of all, how can anything called a demon be pleasant and amiable as he nearly always is? How can he have two lovely nieces, animalistic and violent tendencies notwithstanding? His name is as exotic as his nature, and still so human.
Eric Northman – Well, this is more obvious, but it basically says it, doesn’t it? Eric is a man from the north, just your everyman viking who still walks the world. He’s (literally) cool, he’s Nordic and his human life is a long, long time in the past, just another unnamed person from a thousand years ago.
the Pelts – Come on. How did I not think of this before? Why does this fit a were-animal so well? Pelt?Isn’t that a thing hunters bring home stripped from the carcass? Well, yeah. Also, the Pelts are very good at hunting themselves. Of course, they end up dead at the end.