True Blood the HBO series was what introduced me the knowledge of this series, and a friend began to read the books after our mutual obsession with the show. She was at book 5, but she spoiled me to book 4 (per my request) and I couldn’t resist picking it up, basically devouring books 4-8 in a few days. Then a bit slowly, I listened to books 1-3 on audiobooks. My favourite books are probably books 4 and 8 though I enjoyed each of them thoroughly. I was addicted. I am very surprised I’d never heard about this series before the show. I guess it is the fact that I tend to read more literary and classics than genre fiction, but this is an excellent series. The characters diverse and fun, and I can not help but love Sookie Stackhouse. I think she is an interesting and dynamic protagonist and there is enough mystery, action, and romance. For those who read the books, I am very much on the side of Team Eric as I find him the most compelling and entertaining of the males in the series. As a vampire series, it’s hard not to compare to the other ones I’ve read namely Anne Rice’s and the Twilight books. These are by far my favourite vampire books and series. I like the idea of supernatural being integration in society, and these vampires are powerful without being invincible and kind of silly (sorry Twilight). Likewise, it is serious and adult without being cheerless and morose (ahem Anne Rice).
Speaking a moment of the audiobooks… maybe I’ve been very fortunate in my limited experience of audiobook listening, but I have really grown to love the format and many of the narrators are so true and make it so much their own that I think they do an incredible justice. The narrator for this series is Johanna Parker who I think delivers especially as Sookie which is very important. I can hear her more clearly than Anna Paquin’s Sookie at this point (but I do like the TV portrayal so far). I recommend the audiobooks.
The show seems to be working at the rate of one season/series per book which I hope they speed up because it’s not often any show especially on HBO to go 8 seasons. I really like the tv show, but now that I have read the books, I am finding myself a little more critical of how Alan Ball and his writers incorporate elements from the books. They have definitely added their own characters, taken out some, and infused a lot of depth to characters the books didn’t. Like the author Charlaine Harris, I do respect the vision Ball seems to putting in. On the other hand, I worry the show is being paced too slowly and a lot of good stuff in the books is down the line (including lots of revealing information about the characters they have hinted at on the show). As well, I think that while some characters have been given more (Tara, Sam, Jason, Bill to an extent, lots of minor ones), a couple of others should be getting more (Eric was severely underused considering the role he plays in the series). Still, it’s only been one series and I count it as one of my favourite new shows of 2008 so I look forward to its return.
While the addictiveness and the plotlines make the books slightly trashy sounding, it really is fun and well written vampire series. The next installment #9 is coming out May, and I eagerly await it.