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After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the man-made horror of the explosion at the vampire Summit, Sookie Stackhouse is safe but dazed, yearning for things to get back to normal. But her ... Read full review
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From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
Ever wondered what life would be like if vampires were real? If they “came out of the closet” so to speak and became working members of society like everyone else? Charlaine Harris’s From Dead to Worse, book number eight in the Southern Vampire series, relays that scenario perfectly. Harris depicts the protagonist, Sookie Stackhouse, to be a down-right southern-belle waitress faced everyday with different challenges including those with vampires and other supernatural beings. In this book, the tone is set with a conversational fashion, making it an easy-read and allowing the reader to relate more closely.
Immediately, the tone and atmosphere is set within the first page. The book begins with a synopsis of what tragedy happened in the last book that led to this one. Immediately, the reader realizes that this book isn’t your typical mystery. This book was the life of Sookie, set in rural Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where prejudices and opinions run deep.The book is written so the reader feels like Sookie is actually telling you her story face to face. The first sentences of the book exemplifies that perfectly: “If this was The Lord of the Rings and I had a smart British voice like Cate Blanchett, I could tell you the background events of that fall in a really suspenseful way.” Not only is it written conversationally, but the atmosphere is staged. The reader instantly feels the strain of the character Sookie, knowing from what she has told us, that she has gone through way more then any normal person should. But then, Sookie isn’t normal.
One of the reasons this series of books were written was to show the reader a world where vampires co-exist with humans. Another was to introduce a character who can relate to the audience by being commonly misunderstood by the people around her. This character, Sookie, has to learn how to manage her gift (the ability to read minds), which makes her a believable character many readers can relate to. Her character’s believability is enforced when Sookie explains that her gift makes those around her uneasy to the point of being known around town as “Crazy Sookie.” It enforces the fact that society has many prejudices and anyone different is considered an outsider. Even so, Sookie lives life to the fullest, eventually learning what love feels like and also, unfortunately, how betrayal does. In From Dead to Worse, the book’s theme is though love is great, it can blind you when you need to look at the bigger picture. Harris accomplishes this in a mystery format laying out clues here and there, but Sookie dismisses them and says, “I had other things on my mind...What was I so busy thinking about? Weddings-and my missing boyfriend.“ Sookie was seeing things in little pieces just as people in reality have trouble seeing the full picture, not just a portion of it.
In the beginning, Harris starts out with at least a couple different mysteries going on underneath the one main plot. By the end, Harris effectively ties all the plots into one nice neat conclusion at the very end of the book.To do this effectively is extremely difficult without getting lost in the writing process of it. I was impressed on how real Sookie had become to me once this was accomplished. One reason for this was Harris’s ability toeffectively describe each character in the story. For example, when Portia started walking down the aisle at her wedding, Harris described her saying, “She’d waited years for this.” This simple sentence described Portia as her own character who was, previously, very lonely. These type of descriptions make the characters seem more real and add to that overall theme and mood.
From the tone and the descriptions, to the plot and Sookie herself, From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris is a book that I would recommend to anybody. The book favors those who have ever been outcasts before; a scenario anyone could relate to. While maintaining believable characters, Harris was able to achieve a conversational tone and an