12 December 2011

Review: From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

From Dead to Worse is the eighth book in Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series. This review assumes you've read the other books in the series or at least know the premise (perhaps from the True Blood television show). There are no spoilers for this book or for any other.

Let me start by saying how much I love Sookie Stackhouse. Yes, she always seems to be getting herself in the middle of some kind of pickle with the supernatural beings that inhabit our world. And yes, it does seem odd that a waitress from a small town would be the center of so much political and emotional strife. But I can't help it, I want to know what happens next.

That said, I admit the last couple of books seemed to lack some of the freshness of the earlier ones, but I stuck with the series because I love the characters. For those in the same boat: From Dead to Worse will get you right back to Bon Temps.

From Dead to Worse is clearly a transition book, and that's a good thing. Harris did a masterful job of cleaning up and concluding some old plot lines and removing some characters from the series altogether. At the same time, she created new political tensions, new love interests, and new characters, and has left the future of many of our favorite people (creatures?) wide open.

The book takes place after two great tragedies, making the changes believable and necessary. The first tragedy takes place in book seven, and the shock waves of that are still being felt in book eight. Second, this novel addresses the effects of Katrina on New Orleans in particular and on Louisiana and the Gulf Coast in general. Few people in the area--supernatural or fully human--were left unscathed, and some of the changing relationships among the characters and factions are the result of the natural disaster.

From Dead to Worse deals with three principal themes. First is politics--not U.S. politics but the structure of the vampire kingdoms and the configuration of the werewolf packs. The weres, especially, are at a crisis point, and some pack leaders are contemplating revealing themselves in a similar way as did the vampires. Another theme is personal relationships of all types--friends, family, marriages, and lovers. There are a lot of changes in these areas, and not all of them were predictable. Finally, the novel pushed most of the characters into the next level in terms of personal growth. Some characters took a hard look at themselves and made difficult decisions, others are learning to adapt to changing circumstances, and some are succumbing to their baser natures. Bon Temps will never be the same.

With this novel, Harris revived and refreshed her Southern Vampire series. There are so many directions the books can go now, and I love all the possibilities. In fact, I bet I read the next in the series before the end of the year.

As I have done for this entire series, I listened to the unabridged audio edition (Recorded Books, 10 hr, 3 min) read by Johanna Parker. Parker does her usually excellent job. Her voice is Sookie's in my mind.

From Dead to Worse at an Indie

Published by Penguin USA / Ace, 2008
ISBN-13: 9780441017010
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: B

Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


rhapsodyinbooks 12/12/11, 8:49 AM  

I love Sookie too but I did feel the series got less and less good as it went along. However, by that time I was hooked on Sookie so it didn't really matter!

Daryl 12/12/11, 9:28 AM  

I gave up on the series after the 3rd book .. I love the HBO series and I love Sookie .. Bill has become less likable for me .. Eric on the other hand .. but I digress .. I might take a peek at the new book

Zibilee 12/12/11, 3:03 PM  

This is a series that I am going to be trying out in the new year, and I am pretty excited about it because everyone seems to love it. My mom in particular keeps telling me that I need to read these books, and she usually knows my tastes pretty well. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed this one, even if it was a little less satisfying than some of the others. Very nice review today, Candace!

Heather 12/12/11, 5:05 PM  

I"ve read the first 3 in the series and have the others sitting here. Really must get back to them as I did enjoy reading them.

Serena 12/13/11, 8:46 AM  

I have quite a few of these left to read, but I'm glad that this one recaptures some of the freshness that you missed.

A Buckeye Girl Reads 12/13/11, 9:28 AM  

As much as I love this genre, I have never been able to get into this series. I've found once a series get this high, the writing just isn't the same as earlier books. However, I'm glad this one worked for you!

Julie P. 12/14/11, 6:47 PM  

I haven't continued with the books but I am addicted to the television series. This would be perfect for Mystery Mondays.

Michelle 12/17/11, 4:12 PM  

Look at you getting through another Sookie book! I've completely failed at reading this series. Such a huge fail. Kudos to you!

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