Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Witches of Shreveport

It has been almost a year since I last read a Sookie Stackhouse novel, but after recently watching the finale of the fifth season of the True Blood television series I decided to return to the books to fill the gap until next season. 

Dead to the World (2004) is Charlaine Harris' fourth novel in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series. It takes up a few weeks after the events in the previous book.

Vampire Bill Compton has gone to Peru. One night Sookie stumbles across vampire Sherriff Eric Northman walking along the side of the road, apparently suffering from amnesia. When she discovers that a coven of witches cursed Eric, erasing his memory, Sookie agrees to take him in and protect him. Suddenly her brother Jason goes missing and Sookie fears this may also have something to do with the witches. The local vampires and a pack of werewolves join forces to try and defeat the witches that have moved into Shreveport and are attempting to take over Eric's power in the area. And the longer Eric stays with Sookie, the closer they become...

Eric is a delicious character and losing his memory has brought out his softer side, causing Sookie a quandary. Bill is basically absent for the whole book (which is not a bad thing as the other characters are much more interesting), but werewolf Alcide and shifter Sam provide supernatural support when Sookie needs help.

Harris has hit her stride with this novel, setting up three different plot strands that combine to bring romance, action and suspense to Bon Temps. The humour of Harris' dialogue, and the absurdity of some of the situations make for an enjoyable read. Of the four that I have read in this series, this is my favourite. I look forward to reading the next novel in the series.

The main strands of the plot are followed in the fourth season of True Blood, with some notable differences. These changes made reading the book pleasurable as I kind of knew what was coming next, but I also knew it would likely change dramatically from the TV show. 

My review of the first three novels in this series are also available on this blog: Dead Until Dark (2001), Living Dead in Dallas (2002) and Club Dead (2003).