By spending most of my spare time this week reading the third instalment of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, I have managed to finish Harris’ Club Dead. Unlike the first two novels, I have a love/hate relationship with Club Dead. I found myself at moments chuckling away and enjoying myself and in others, I found myself shouting at my book, hoping somehow that Sookie would hear me. She never did. Here are my ten thoughts on Charlaine Harris’ Club Dead.
1. I called it.
I am not one to brag, but I must admit that in my last Harris review for Living Dead in Dallas I predicted that Sookie and Bill were faltering and that cracks were beginning to show in their unconventional relationship. Within three pages of the third novel, I was proven right. However, the depth of Bill’s deception was far greater than I could have ever imagined. The lack of Bill in this novel is rather refreshing, it laid way for other characters, such as Eric and Alcide to have their moment with Sookie.
2. Bubba’s back, baby!
Speaking of characters resurfacing, I squealed just a little when Bubba was reintroduced to the plot. His integral role in the storyline (not revealed until the end of the novel) made my heart warm even further towards Bubba and his simple mindedness. I must admit that I enjoyed the mention of his red sparkly ensemble. I might not have had my Lafayette, but I had my Bubba and that is enough.
3. Tara moves quick.
At the end of Harris’ last Sookie Stackhouse novel, we witnessed the death of Tara’s fiance, Eggs. In Club Dead, we discover that Tara is now dating the vampire Malcolm, who has an appearance in the HBO series. However, Tara seems rather happy in her new relationship and that dance scene with Sookie had me chuckling. I hope that we see more of Tara in the books to come.
4. Thank you for licking my shoulder, Russell and thank you for licking my tears, Eric.
What is it with vampires and licking? I always thought biting was more up their alley. Russell had barely spoken a word to Sookie before she found herself with his tongue on her shoulder. Is this normal? Is it because he is the King and he can lick whom he likes? I need answers. Besides the somewhat unorthodox first aid performed by Russell, we then find Eric, licking Sookie’s face, her face, without asking and what seems stranger to me is that no one involved feels like this is strange. Someone licking your tears away is very strange, Sookie!
5. You can hang up your coat, next to the dead body.
This plotline works very well for the relationship of Sookie and Alcide to develop. Their teamwork makes me feel all fuzzy inside, well Alcide in general makes me feel all fuzzy inside. I also think this scene works well in Sookie’s personal character development. It is the first time she is doing something seriously illegal and she must battle with her moral fibre, which I enjoy as she continues to do so throughout the book.
6. I’ll take a pair of blue satin boxers with a viking in them, please.
I shall admit it now, I am officially joining the Eric Northman fan club. The scene in those blue satin boxers managed to make me blush and chuckle at the same time. Eric is the one who sent Bubba, which is a massive plus in my book. But what I truly enjoy about Eric’s character is his ability to care for Sookie whilst she continues to insult him. His simple gestures make her life far easier and aim to protect her and even despite her preference for Bill, he remains hopeful. He acknowledges that she needs to be her own woman for the time being, but he is willing to wait, patience is a virtue.
7. Lorena and Bill sitting in a tree…
I wasn’t really surprised when I found out about Bill’s involvement with Lorena, I was more surprised at his buying off Sookie to stay with Lorena. Sookie’s reaction is a little different in the beginning of the book to what I expected. However, by the end of the novel, she has grown and gives Bill the boot, which I think he thoroughly deserves. Lorena had come and gone by the end of the novel, but I feel her impact on Sookie will stick around for a long time.
8. Were what?
Werewolves and shifters really took the spotlight in Club Dead. This is a refreshing change from the vampire based plotlines of the two previous books. However, I am still waiting for Sookie and Debbie to have a face to face argument (as I am sure they will). Alcide’s lack of allegiance to the pack gives him the same status as Bill, living outside of a nest. The comparison of Alcide’s soft nature and the barbaric acts of the congregated weres, shifters and the people associated with them gives an insight into the two types of existence for this kind of sup.
9. Russell the reasonable vampire.
Russell Edgington is almost unrecognisable from the HBO series. He is younger, seemingly less brutal and lacking the title of V dealer of the wolfpack. He still retains his precious Talbot, who is a favourite of mine, but we do not see the flare that is shown with his character in the series. At the end of the novel, in reference to Bill and his car, we are shown that Russell is not such a medieval monster as we once thought and his image at the end of the book is rather neutral, businessman-like. I look forward to seeing him again in Harris’ other novels.
10. Sookie: strong, independent woman.
In this book we see Sookie working on her own far more than we do in the other novels. There is no one there to save her during Bill’s rescue, she must fend for herself. At the beginning of the novels, one could suggest that Sookie is a little fickle on her opinions on Bill. However, after Lorena, and the attack in the trunk, Sookie has her priorities straight. Her character is constantly developing throughout Club Dead and by the end of the novel we are able to see Sookie, without Eirc, without Bill, without Alcide, laughing at their predicament and I think that is a massive win for Sookie!
All in all, I very much enjoyed Club Dead. I think I am ready to travel back to Bon Temp now, though, Dallas was nice and Jackson was lovely, but I miss Sam and Arlene and even the Bellefleurs. I hope that in Dead to the World Harris’ brings the plot back to Bon Temp and gives Sookie some time to heal. I also hope that Bill keeps his fangs out of Sookie and that Eric continues his attempt to win her affections (and a place in her bed). I shall be back to give my thoughts on the next Sookie Stackhouse novel.