From Dead to Worse, by Charlaine Harris

Yes, I’ll admit it. I read vampire novels. This weekend, I read From Dead to Worse, the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel. What I like most about these books is that, unlike a lot of other contemporary fantasy/vampire novelists (*cough* Laurell Hamilton *cough*), the story isn’t bogged down in unresolvable character problems or sex, even though this is the eight book of the series. These books rely on plot, and Harris isn’t afraid to wrap up plot threads and move on instead of spinning them out over two or three books. She brings in new characters; she actually kills off old characters who’ve served their purpose to the plot.

For those who aren’t familiar with this series, Sookie Stackhouse is a Louisiana barmaid in a small town who is telepathic. Over the course of the last seven books, she’s gotten inextricably involved in the vampire and supernatural communities. For me, this book felt like a clearing-the-deck sort of book. A lot of old plot threads were wrapped up. It feels like Harris is going to move on into new territory in the next book. (Hurrah!) I don’t really want to say too much about this book because, if you’re interested, you’ve probably read the other books and I don’t want to ruin how things turn out.

I will say that I really liked this book. Part of this satisfaction may be coming from the fact that I feel frustrated when I read other vampire/contemporary fantasy novels. After a while, they get so bogged down that the books feel like quagmires. With Harris and Stackhouse, I always feel like progress is actually made. The rest of the satisfaction comes from the fact that Harris can make you laugh, feel apprehensive, worry about the characters, feel curious about what’s going to happen. She’s a very fun writer to read.

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