Thursday, October 29, 2009

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Book #3 in the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire series has taken things from sort of bad to much worse. With an implausible plot (even for a book about vampires) overly-filled with near-death experiences and romantic entanglements - not to mention all the book's typos and our author's use of "close proximity" (I HATE redundancies like this) - Sookie gets absolutely no time to come up for air in the few days covered in this volume.

I'm hoping this is just a glitch in the series and things will slow down just a bit in the fourth book. Being bombarded with "significant" events in rapid fire is no way for a reader to digest what's really going on which means there's no time to really care about the characters and what's happening to them.

Werewolves and shape-shifters are featured more prominently in Club Dead than we've seen them before. Harris is expanding her supernatural community by way of Sookie's latest mission and a trip to Jackson where the famous members-only Club Dead (aka Josephine's) brings together all kinds of "supes." Bill has been kidnapped and Sookie, along with a werewolf protector, must venture into Jackson's vampiric underbelly to locate (and eventually rescue) Bill.

The werewolf has a crush on Sookie. They make out. Eric, the vampire, pops up multiple times. He and Sookie hook up a bit. She also has a really rough encounter with Bill (whose cheated on her.) She doesn't get much of a break from these enamoured men. It actually gets silly - a lot of admiration isn't always good thing. I don't care how hot she is that all the guys want her. Between the kissing and groping, Sookie gets beat up, manhandled, steaked, and nearly dies twice. She's involved in two bar brawls and a hold-up at a gas station. She gets locked in a trunk and picked on by a jealous ex-girlfriend. Poor girl catches absolutely no breaks - I never once felt sorry for her.

This series borders along the lines of escapist entertainments threatening to insult even the mildly intelligent. I know action scene upon action scene works in the movies, but it's not so successful a tool in books. Spelling out all the action detail-by-detail isn't nearly as exciting as Harris seems to think. Her focus on the excitement of what's going on detracts from the development of her characters and the accuracy of her writing. I can only hope HBO does more for its characters in season three of True Blood than Harris did in Club Dead.

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