Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Review - Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Companion

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris
Published by: Ace
Publication Date: August 30th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 480 Pages
Challenge: Vampire Challenge, Horror and Urban Fantasy
Rating: ★★
To Buy
If this book proved one thing to me it's that, while I consider myself a Sookie fan, I'm truly a dilettante. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about Sookie, truly. I enjoy the books, they are fun, do I need a Sookie Encyclopedia? Perhaps a pared down one because the general plot lines and characters are getting unwieldy and out of control. Do a need more than three hundred pages of this? Hell no. While I agree it is fun to have reference books to your favorite authors, these really aren't meant to be read cover to cover but only picked up on occasion for a query here or there. Consisting of some fun elements, like a map of the town (which seems to have too little distance between some locations like Sookie's and Merlotte's) and correspondence snarkiness that takes place during the books between Eric and Bill, it also contains questions and answers with Charlaine and Alan Ball that are deathly dull and a recipe section. Now that's what I find odd. Recipes! Now, I can see that with all the mention of food in the books that a recipe book for the series is a good idea... but... do a separate darn book don't put it in a book that I don't want anywhere near food or a kitchen, especially when the foods use a lot of deep fryers. The mere thought makes my blood boil and the risk to any book, even if it's one I'm not overly wild about. No books near anything that has heat or flames or grease people, jeez.

The main reason to buy this book though is not the minutiae of every character that was ever mentioned or ever had a line, or even the book summaries which by the final book are so long and incoherent, you can see how this series is getting the better of it's author, the reason is the short story. Well... it's really more of a novella. I originally thought when we first had mention of Sam's little brother's wedding that it might be a full book, heck, it would be more plot than some of the more recent installments. But instead we got a little novella, which showed more about Sam, resolved some issues with Quinn and Sarah Newlin, and felt more like Sookie than a lot of the short stories do. It was a quick little story that once again made me wish that Sookie ends up with an actual human like Sam. But like all the short stories it just seems like a way for us to spend more money on this ever greedy franchise. These books are fun quick reads and that's all. This Companion seems to be giving the series more weight than it rightfully has. A "companion book" indicates something of note, something worthy of further discussion and research, and I don't know if Sookie and her vampires are that... but perhaps I'm wrong and all those people who watch True Blood and actually liked it past the second season will disagree.


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