There’s been a lot of talk recently about Charlaine Harris’ novels, ever since Alan Ball (creator of Six Feet Under) turned her books into a TV series. TrueBlood has been described as ‘trailer trash vampires’, so I decided to take a look at what the fuss was all about. And I can tell you, it’s a lot of trashy fun.
The first book in the series is called Dead Until Dark, and all the proceeding novels include ‘dead’ somewhere in the title. Sookie Stackhouse is a southern bartender with a disability – she can read minds. So when Bon Temps gets their first vampire, she is more than happy, because vamps don’t project their thoughts. But with the arrival of Vampire Bill also comes a series of murders. Someone is targeting women who have sex with vampires. And let me add, there’s a lot of vampire sex.
The books follow Sookie’s investigations in the vampire world, with her ability to read minds making her a valuable asset to the supernatural community. There’s a great sense of humour throughout the novels, with a little something for everyone. The books are often labeled as ‘Paranormal Romance’, but oscillate between mystery, comedy and romance in a balanced way.
It’s interesting to see how Charlaine Harris has interwoven ancient mythology into the modern South. Vampires have come ‘out of the coffin’, after the Japanese developed synthetic blood (you can order a drink of blood in a bar). But not everyone is happy about the outing of the vamps. Other supernatural creatures, shape-shifters, telepaths and even a maenid, want to stay unnoticed. For better and for much worse, Sookie becomes a bridge between the two worlds.
There’s lots of blood and titillating sex scenes, in case some of you felt a bit ripped off by Twilight’s ‘no touching’ policy. After all, vampires are notorious for their wanton lust for women, men and anything in between. I don’t recommend you buying this for your teenage daughters if they’re looking for the next Edward Cullen – there’s possibly a little too much naughtiness here. Orgies… Murders… Sex outside of marriage… You get the picture.
One glance across Charlaine Harris’ website has introduced me to a whole new genre of writing. I really want to read Must Love Hellhounds, which has a great cover. Harris looks exactly as she should, your typical Southern woman with a toff of big hair. Don’t be put off by the notion of reading a romance novel, they’re a lot of light fun with a bit of intrigue to boot. For those people who thought Twilight was too wussy and Dracula was too stiff, I totally recommend the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries.