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Dead and Gone

Posted by Steve the Bookstore Guy On Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Yes, we have read the full Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Short stories included. Call it a not-so-secret guilty pleasure. The fact of the matter is that Harris makes us laugh, and we enjoy it when an author intentionally makes us laugh through comedy rather than the alternative...

DEAD AND GONE, is the latest entry into the Sookie Stackhouse series about a girl (Sookie) who can read minds, and vampires who have come out of the coffin (Harris' pun, not ours) and have announced themselves to the world. You may not have read the books, but we can almost be positive that you have at least heard of the HBO series, True Blood. It's the adaptation of the novels. Unlike our recent discussion about Dexter, True Blood has yet to come close to surpassing the novels in terms of quality. The comedy that makes Harris' novels so enjoyable is all but omitted from the TV show.

Anyways. The book. DEAD AND GONE.

If you've been following the series, you know that all manner of supernatural beings exist in the world Harris created (adapted). This particular novel deals with the announcement to the world from the bajillions of were-creatures that they exist. It's their own coming-out party, and it includes the apparent and immediate consequences. Consequences in Harris' novels usually means someone (or something) being murdered. In this case, it's a were-panther being crucified.

Look, this series is marketed to females. We probably wouldn't have read the series except we know her agent, and we were interested in what all the hoopla was with the TV series. This is what TWILIGHT ripped off and watered-down to a pathetically safe and sucky (you knew we were going to throw this pun in sometime...don't act so surprised) level. This series (and thus, this novel) has all sorts of violence, swearing and sex in it, though this novel had the least out of all the books in all three categories.

Harris tells her stories in 1st Person, and it really lets the readers focus in on what Sookie is going through that she keeps hidden from everyone else. This is DEAD AND GONE's strong point, and gets us back on track after last year's disappointing FROM DEAD TO WORSE. Without letting loose and spoilers, stuff actually happens in DEAD AND GONE, and we get some very interesting revelations on Sookie's past. Not to mention, the ending to this book is actually pretty grim. People die...and they stay dead...and un-vampired (We can make up any words we want! We are WRITERS!). If feels even more grim when compared to the comedic tone that saturates Harris' novels. The contrast was extremely well done.

When all is said and done, this feels like we are going back up in quality. It isn't the strongest of the series, but enjoyable and satisfying nonetheless.

Our major quip here has nothing to do with the storytelling, and more with the format of the novel. DEAD AND GONE, like Harris' other novels, is a one-night read. Considering the $25 price-tag on this novel, we just don't know if we feel justified in seeing a person buy this novel for a quick couple-of-hours read. We are going to suggest you wait for the paperback, but if you need it NOW, go to the library, or buy the novel off Amazon for $14 (still a bit rich of our...blood...har har).

Charlaine Harris' novels are quick, entertaining reads that a majority of females will enjoy. Parts of them read a lot like romance novels, which will be enough to turn most guys off to them. We read them for the comedy, and as a stick-out-our-tongues gesture to the Twilight novels that so blatantly ripped off Harris' hard work. But yeah. These are definitely 'Books for Chicks,' though now we are invested, so we kinda feel obligated to keep on reading. We'll survive. Harris' characters and comedy are solid (especially her dialogue), so we don't feel too guilty.

Recommended Age: 16 and up.
Language: Not anything close to what the TV series throws at you, but still a noticeable bit for a short novel.
Violence: Yeah. Harris' novels are thankfully (for us guys) high in violent content. Remember, these are actual vampires, so they rip out peoples throats and stuff.
Sex: Uh yeah. Harris' scenes are fairly graphic, though there was only one scene in this particular novel.

If you haven's started this series yet, you should definitely start from book one. In fact, check out this box set of the first seven novels:

Sookie Stackhouse Box Set

And also, go send Charlaine Harris some emails of love. She's a good author who thoroughly enjoys writing. The one time we met her in passing, she seemed like a genuinely nice person as well.


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