Sunday, 3 February 2008

Charlaine Harris, Definitely Dead

Charlaine Harris has really created an enjoyable heroine in the form of Sookie Stackhouse, the mostly normal woman thrown into a world of vampires and shapeshifters thanks to her 'talent' for reading minds. The books featuring her are mostly at the lighter end of the vampire spectrum, and manage to inject a sense of fun into a genre that can all too easily slip over into taking itself far too seriously. Definitely Dead manages the same trick, as Sookie Stackhouse heads to New Orleans to deal with an inheritance from her dead cousin Hadley, then finds herself caught up in a round of vampire politics.

The characters are elegantly realised, and something different from the usual run of the mill, while the plot moves along at a brisk pace. Perhaps the ending is a little quick, not to mention slightly too easy to spot in advance, but it's so well executed that you forgive that almost as soon as you read it. Parts of the plot are quite obviously lifted from Alexandre Dumas, but openly and in a sense of good fun. Besides, who else would think to run part of the three musketeers with vampires?

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