annathepiper: (Page Turner)
I was in the mood for mystery, and I thoroughly blame the holiday season as well as having just read the first of the Aurora Teagardens on picking up Shakespeare's Christmas, the third of the five Lily Bard novels. And, as it's turned out, the last of the ones I hadn't read yet (in no small part because it was only recently re-released to paperback).

It's odd to have read the series out of order, and dealing with the oddity of seeing Lily's relationship with Jack Leeds in non-sequential stages; it's all rather Time-Traveller's-Wife-y. Yet it was also oddly satisfying to read this book last of the five--because even though Lily's still in the opening stages of her relationship with Jack here, she gets quite a bit of emotional closure with members of her family. This lends my entire trek through the series a sense of resolution I might not otherwise have gotten.

As with the other four books in this series, too, this one is very compact, without a single wasted word. The main plot arc is stark and straightforward against the chaos of Lily coming back to her hometown for her sister's wedding, just as Jack's investigating a missing child case. Ultimately the culprit is not surprising. But what sells the whole story is Eve's interactions with everyone, not just her family members who are still struggling to deal with her past, not just Jack who's doing his own feeling out of their growing affection, but all the townspeople she meets as well, especially the children.

I'll have to go back and re-read the whole series in order now that I have them all. But for this one, four stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
Charlaine Harris has clearly gotten famous enough with the success of True Blood that her publishers are going all out to reprint her older work as well. So I picked up a copy of Real Murders, the first book of her Aurora Teagarden mystery series, just to check it out.

This book was originally published in 1990, and it's a very different read than the Sookie Stackhouses, or even the Lily Bards. We are well and thoroughly into the realm of the cozy mystery here; our heroine, Roe, is about as cozy-mystery-heroine as it's possible to get. She's a librarian, self-described as 'intellectual' and 'drab', yet a member of a club called "Real Murders", which meets regularly to analyze murder cases of different eras. It's quite the most excitement she ever has in her life--until someone starts committing murders deliberately staged to match cases the club members have discussed. And Roe, lucky, lucky Roe, keeps coming across the bodies.

Bodies, plural, because there are indeed multiple murders committed; this strikes me as a touch unusual for a cozy, especially given Harris doesn't pull her punches in her descriptions of grim scenes. (Though she doesn't go over the top, either; the amount of grimness we get is exactly right.) Set off against this is an unsurprising initial stages of a rivalry for Roe's affections, as she has two different men interested in her.

All in all it's not as tight a book as the Sookies and the Lilys, which come later in her writing career. But it's pretty enjoyable and a quick read. Three stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
The Bowl of Night, Book 3 of the Bast Mysteries, is not a comfortable book. After the highly disquieting experiences of the previous two books, protagonist Bast is not unscathed, and her yearly attendance of the HallowFest gathering makes her look at her own community with new eyes when she's the one to discover the body of a local fundamentalist Christian on their campground.

As with the previous two books, Bast must wrestle with the conflict of her community's habitual tolerance and her own internal moral code. This time around, though, it's aggravated by the clash of her own beliefs against that of the coven she's left, not to mention those of the victim. Moreover, she has to face the prospect of branching out to start her own coven--which leads her to facing renewed contact with a lover from ten years past, even as her relationship with the enigmatic Julian progresses. All of this makes for quite a bit of tension, packed into the brevity of a couple hundred pages.

The ending, though, is where this book surpasses its predecessors for me; it's shocking and yet entirely not, now that I've re-read the first two books. It's the only possible ending for this particular story, and yet its strike, athame-sharp, cannot help but sting the reader as it does Bast herself. Four stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
I'm not sure whether it's a function of authors I've previously known and adored in the fantasy realm, of the Bombshell line of romances being generally way more about the suspense and less about the romance, or both, but [ profile] rachelcaine's Devil's Bargain has joined [ profile] mizkit's Cate Dermody novels in demonstrating to me that there are in fact category romances that I can read and enjoy. It is therefore a damn shame that the Bombshell line is now defunct.

Devil's Bargain has the same crackling action and pacing familiar to me from the Weather Warden series, and much the same general level of badassery on the part of the two central characters, Jazz Callender and Lucia Garza. They are approached by a mysterious organization and offered $100,000 to found a private investigation agency--as long as they give any cases that come to them in red envelopes top priority. It doesn't take long at all for the two women to discover that they've been pulled into a shadowy game with stakes of worldwide consequence, and that refusing to join in is not an option.

Overall it wasn't what quite what I expected, given the title of this book and its sequel, Devil's Due; I'd gone into this expecting a paranormal romance, with a probable main theme of demons. That I got a suspenseful shadow-game instead is not at all a problem. I quite enjoyed the chemistry between POV character Jazz and her love interest, James Borden; extra points, too, for James being atypical in my romance-reading experience, which is to say, not a macho action-man. Instead, he's a lawyer, fit enough and rather on the pretty/gorgeous side, yet not at all a wimp. (Though I'll have to admit that I was vaguely disappointed that the paranoid ex-FBI guy, one of the more interesting side characters, did not actually turn out to be the love interest. Nor, as near as I can tell, is he queued up to be the featured love interest in the sequel. Drat!)

Anyway, a fluffy read and easy to blow through quickly, but enjoyable all around, with exactly the right mix of action and romance for my tastes. Four stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
It is no fault of this book that every time I think of the title, I keep songvirusing myself with "Riders on the Storm". The titles are merely similar, not identical, and certainly the book's rather cheerier of atmosphere overall.

Book 2 of Julie Czerneda's "Stratification" series, this one focuses on the efforts of Aryl Sarc to forge her exiles of Yena Clan into a new incarnation of the previously destroyed Sona Clan. Thrown up against this are any number of challenges for Aryl: the Oud and Tikitik's ideas about what exactly the emergence of a new Om'ray Clan should mean, the discovery by her human friend Marcus Bowman of the forbidden talent she possesses, and her own blossoming as a Chooser. Meanwhile, Enris Mendolar of the Tuana continues on his own Passage--and discovers secrets about the most reclusive Om'ray Clan of all, the Vyna.

There's no real sign yet of the "Stratification" to come, although hints have now been laid down that Tuana Clan as well as Yena have taken their own steps to quell the rising of forbidden talents. Ominous hints are given, too, about what exactly the news of Om'ray gifts would do out in the surrounding galaxy. And Aryl is definitely now coming into status as well as power, in this installment. One therefore presumes that Book 3 will bring in the actual Stratification--and that we'll see the rising of the M'hiray.

For this installment, three and a half stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
Much like Speak Daggers to Her, its predecessor, Book of Moons is a tight, thoughtful little mystery. Its selling point isn't necessarily the complexity of the crime at hand; since this book's only a couple hundred pages in length, there's not much time for things to get too complex. Rather, what makes it interesting is Bast and her interactions with everyone in her neopagan community, and in particular as a followup to the events of Book 1.

Several of Bast's fellow Wiccans are noticing strange disappearances of their personal Books of Shadows. But the strangeness of this is nothing compared to the claim by one Ned Skelton that he has discovered the Book of Moons-the tome with the secrets of Mary, Queen of Scots, which can prove that modern Wicca's lineage extends back much farther than anyone had ever proved before. When a shocking death overshadows both these events, though, Bast is pulled unwillingly into dealing with all three.

All in all, a not very surprising book; the astute reader will figure out fairly quickly who the culprit is, given the nature of Bast's community and who she interacts with on a regular basis. But I actually liked this in some ways better than Book 1. Since Bast and her community are now established, there's less of the obligatory addressing the reader about her (presumed) misconceptions about the religion, and more story as a result. Three stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
Rosemary Edghill gets in a lot of work these days co-writing things with Mercedes Lackey, but in the 90's, she did three books in a mystery series featuring a neopagan named Bast in New York. They--or at least, the first two, the only ones I ever got around to reading before--are short but fairly gritty little books. They're also an interesting little window into the neopagan and Dianic community, seen through the eyes of Bast, a.k.a. Karen Hightower.

Speak Daggers to Her starts off with Bast getting the word that an acquaintance of hers has been found dead in her apartment. As she reports the crime, Bast learns that the dead girl had become involved in a coven with far darker intentions than the ones with which she herself is familiar. And when she discovers that Miriam had left her an urgent message on her answering machine before her death, asking her for help, she realizes that that unsavory coven may have brought about Miriam's murder. Bast must risk the censure of her notoriously tolerant Wiccan community, the wrath of the legal authorities, and the vengeance of Miriam's former group as she investigates what truly happened.

As this is a book heavily featuring neopaganism and Wiccan traditions, it arguably skirts the edges of the paranormal mystery realm. Yet nothing in the book is truly paranormal. If anything our protagonist Bast is more academic than anything else, which shows up a lot in Edghill's strewing of the narrative with older literary quotes as well as highly unusual word choices (like 'exophthalmic', 'hele', and 'plosives'). The tension of the crime against Miriam, though, is very real. Overall it's a tight and effective read, albeit slightly dated for mention of BBSes in a pre-Internet time frame. Three and a half stars.
annathepiper: (Starbuck)
Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries is one of the free ebooks I got off the site in its promotion for going live. It's pretty much what the title advertises: a novelization of the story depicted in the opening miniseries for BSG.

Carver does a decent enough job putting the story into prose, but it's a very straightforward translation; there's nothing added to the story here. When I read a novelization of a TV show or movie, I'm generally hoping for something new to enhance what I saw in visual form, such as deleted scenes that didn't make it into the final cut. With the exception of an alias used by the Six who leads Gaius Baltar into betraying the human race, all the details in here were very familiar. Plus, the prose itself was very sparse. This was fitting for the general fast-paced nature of the story, but it also kept the reading experience from bringing anything new to me.

If like me you're already an established fan of the show, you can skip this one unless you're bored. If you're not an established fan and you don't have access to the DVDs, though, you might consider checking this out for an introduction to the series. Overall, three stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
Tanya Huff's Confederation novels are still maintaining combat readiness as of the third one, The Heart of Valor. This time around we've got Torin Kerr, newly promoted to Gunnery Sergeant, being grilled in depth about her adventures in Book 2--and leaping at the chance to escape endless debriefings even if it means she has to babysit a convalescent major and a platoon of Marine recruits on a training planet. Problem is, the planet's supposed to train the recruits, not kill them.

Heroine Torin Kerr has been compared a lot to Sigourney Weaver playing Ellen Ripley, and yeah, that's still about right. The level of military action in this series in general and this novel in particular is certainly comparable to what we see in Aliens, as is the romance. In fact, Torin and her love interest Craig Ryder spend most of the book apart. (Which is what demonstrates that yeah, Craig Ryder is clearly the Intended Series Love Interest; he gets extensive POV time and a whole subset of the plot to himself.) There are several stock character types that you get in any SF scenario involving Marines, but they're entertainingly executed. And while Huff doesn't top Julie Czerneda for me in her development of alien species, she's nevertheless got some fun going on with the species here, both with the di'Taykans in the platoon (complete with a particularly amusing excuse to take out the recruits' regular Staff Sergeant so Torin has to take command) and with the alien that's the driving cause of the plot.

A light read all in all, but it moves well and things explode on a regular and satisfying basis, and sometimes that's all you really need to ask out of a book. Three stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
As debut novels go, Deanna Raybourn's Silent in the Grave is a pretty tasty one. My mood was ripe for something not SF/F, and this, a nifty melange of mystery and Gothic-flavored Victorian romance, hit the ground running. Things start off with a bang when Lady Julia Grey meets Nicholas Brisbane, an "agent of inquiry", over her husband's dying body--and she's deeply shocked when Brisbane declares to her that he believes Sir Edward was murdered. At first she doesn't buy it, but when she discovers evidence to the contrary, she joins forces with Brisbane to discover the murderer.

Raybourn's writing in this novel is solid, although there are points where she went over the top for my tastes. For example, her hero, Brisbane: very interesting all in all, but she introduced almost too many reasons for him to be Awesome in one book. He's an "agent of inquiry". He's dark and swarthily handsome. He's intelligent and temperamental. His background is mysterious, as are his bloodlines. He's a gifted musician and a gifted fighter. He's even afflicted with a Mysterious Ailment of the sort that's perfect for Gothic-flavored romances, which is to say, enough to knock him senseless when dramatically appropriate, but otherwise leave him vital and whole--but I have to admit, I was muttering "oh for--" to myself by the time I got to the part about how he's a genius violin player, and I kept muttering that when we kept getting further Revelations(TM) about him. Enough that by the time our heroine gets clued in on what's causing his Mysterious Ailment, things had gotten slightly silly.

And with all this in Brisbane's arsenal, Lady Julia doesn't always match up. I quite like that she comes from a highly eccentric family and that at least initially, her main goal in life is to be as conventional as possible. Bonus points must go to her having an entertaining father and sister who do their best to pry her out of her conventional shell. And, as well, to the author for giving a nod to period mores and letting her get her year of mourning out of the way before proceeding to investigate her husband's murder. Her family background is a strong way to wedge modern-day sensibilities into a heroine who might not otherwise have them, making her more appealing to all us modern-day readers. Problem is, this also means that in the latter third of the book, there are bits where Julia reverts to what I suspect are more actual Victorian sensibilities. As a result, in those bits she doesn't play for me nearly as well.

The murder did keep me going for a while, too, although I did guess the culprit fairly far in advance, and the ultimate motive for what brought it on to begin with wasn't quite satisfying to me. Neither was the book's habit of lapsing into the "oh if I had only KNOWN about this awful thing that's about to come" style of foreshadowing. But to balance off against that, I did quite like the chemistry between Julia and Brisbane for the most part, and I'm intrigued enough that I'll be checking out Book 2. Three and a half stars.
annathepiper: (Sookie)
From Dead to Worse, the eighth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, is an oddly transitory kind of book. A lot of plotlines from previous books--clear back to Book Four--get resolution of a kind, and groundwork is laid down for what will clearly be future plotlines for the series. We've got a New and Mysterious Relation of Sookie's showing up. We've got resolution on at least two Love Interest plots, and advancement on one other, possibly two. We've got new evidence that Sookie's brother is a mighty ass. We've got vampires vs. vampires and werewolves vs. werewolves. We've got followup on the backlash from a certain action Sookie had to take to defend herself in Book Four, and we've got followup on the screwup a side character made a couple books ago. We even get Sookie making a Significant Family Discovery at the end.

All of this is very well and good, but with so many things going on in the story, it made it a crowded read for me. All of the individual plotlines were interesting, but none of them really felt like they got enough attention. Overall, the book feels very much like a bridge between what's come before and what's due to come after. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the problem with a bridge is, it takes you from point A to point B and seldom gives you a reason to linger on itself. For this bridge of a book, three stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
The second Harper Blaine novel, Poltergeist, is a very strong sequel to a debut I'd already liked quite a bit. With the introduction of the Grey and how Harper got her ability to sense and move through it out of the way, this book can focus upon not only increasing her skill, but laying down some consequences for her further involvement with it. The supernatural setting adds a great edge of interest--but when it comes down to it, the real heart of the plot is the inflamed tensions of the people Harper has to investigate this time around, a group of subjects brought together to create an artificial poltergeist.

Added bonus points also have to be given for very strong connection to Seattle. There's great background here for the International District, a part of the city that's still an enigma to me for the most part, though I perked up at the mentions of Uwajimaya and Kinokuniya. Plus, I was particularly amused by a critical scene taking place in the SF section of the very Barnes and Noble where I bought this book.

All in all, a great read and I'll be looking forward to getting the third installment. Four stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
Blue Smoke and Murder, by Elizabeth Lowell: Mostly didn't work for me, unfortunately. Just about all of the aspects of this plot have been better handled in prior Lowell novels--the Cranky Old Lady Whose Death Spurs the Plot for the Plucky Heroine, the Illicit Goods That Are Way More Valuable Than Any of the Good Guys Know, the Decadent Rich Family With a Boatload of Secrets. But really, the overall problem I had with the book is that I never had any real sense of threat to the heroine and hero. Two stars.

The Furies of Calderon, by [ profile] jimbutcher: This is me finally getting around to reading the first book of Jim Butcher's other series, the Codex Alera. I found it a surprisingly hard book to get through--not because of any fault of the writing, because Butcher is almost always reliably entertaining to me, but more because this is a book very much in the traditional fantasy mold of "farmboy grows up to save the world", and, well, seen it. *^_^*;; I spent most of this book just not caring much about said farmboy and being rather more entertained by the older characters in the cast. To be fair, though, when I finished the book off at last today, it picked up considerably. I rather suspect the farmboy will be more interesting to me as he gets older. Three stars for this installment.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
I had high hopes for The Laughter of Dead Kings, the sixth and final installment of Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss series. I've loved the Vicky books almost as much as I've loved the Amelia Peabodies--and indeed, I'd been deeply charmed to learn as of Book 5 that the two series are in fact set in the same universe. With great anticipation, I'd looked forward to seeing how that connection would be strengthened in Book 6. However, for me at least, Laughter ultimately disappoints.

One issue is one which Peters herself addresses in an introduction to the book: i.e., the fact that the Vicky books have always been set in "present time", and yet, this book is coming out many years after the last one. Peters has chosen to move "present time" forward to reflect actual present time, and gloss over the discrepancy this causes with the prior books. I cannot fault her for advising readers not to fret too much about that; nevertheless, it did jar for me to read about Vicky and Schmidt carrying around cell phones and sending text messages, when no such technology had been at their disposal before. Moreover, one of the characters in the plot appears to have aged considerably since his prior appearance in the series--and he's the only one to have aged noticeably at all. This makes for an overall inconsistent picture of exactly how much time should have elapsed since Book 5, and it's just jarring in general.

More importantly, though, is the issue I noticed during the last few Amelia Peabodies: to wit, Ms. Peters' traditional vivacious style seems to be lacking in her most recent works. I had hoped that this was perhaps a symptom of the Amelia Peabodies running out of steam, but alas, no, I get the same vibe in this book as well. All the proper characters are present, and they're saying the proper things... and yet, the flair that made me such a longstanding fan of this author just doesn't seem to be here.

It's sad, too, because the tie-in with the Amelia Peabodies didn't have nearly as much dramatic interest as I'd hoped in the plot; it turns out to be merely a coincidental side detail, where I'd hoped it would contribute significantly to the action. We do get some nice brief callbacks to Amelia and her family, and even a tie-in with the conceit of how the Emersons' adventures became "a series of novels" (aheh). But it didn't add nearly enough interest for me to the plot overall.

All in all not really a satisfying conclusion to the series, although I will give it points for a nice romantic resolution for Vicky and John, and for a pretty decent resolution as well to the overall crisis at hand. Two stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
Now that I've completed a sweep up through Book 7 of the Sookie Stackhouse series, I can confirm that Dead to the World, Book 4, really does remain one of my favorites of the entire run to date. Granted, a big part of this is that I'm a sucker for an amnesia plot--and I give this one points for a reasonable way to throw amnesia at one of the established characters, and make life more complicated for Sookie in the bargain.

It's this book too that confirmed me as a Sookie/Eric shipper. The thing that makes me a sucker for amnesia plots is the opportunity to have the afflicted character show personality traits he wouldn't otherwise display, and Eric certainly does this in spades, demonstrating a kinder and more honorable side to Sookie. This, put together with his prior charmingly straightforward lusting after her, gives him a nice extra dimension that serves not only to make him one of the most interesting contenders for Sookie's affections, but to also provide plot fodder for the series clear up into Book 8. So yeah, three cheers for that.

In the meantime, we've got good followup to the events of Book 3, wherein the shifter Debbie Pelt comes back to cause trouble for Sookie as well as the werewolf Alcide. And, for bonus plot complications, we've got Sookie's brother Jason spending most of the book unaccounted for. Most of all we've got an incursion of witches into Shreveport, in an attempt to take over territory from both Eric's vampires and the local werewolves.

Fun stuff all around. Four stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
I picked up Echoes from the Macabre at a library sale for only a buck or so, and it was certainly well worth that price, just for the sake of reading horror-flavored stories from an older era. I vaguely recognized the name of Daphne du Maurier--but only as I actually cracked open the book did I discover that she was the original author of the short story that became Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

Most of the stories in this volume are fairly low-key horror-wise, by modern standards; they felt to me rather akin to Twilight Zone episodes. This is not a bad thing. The issue I had with several of them, though, was that in at least a couple of cases the main characters were actively dislikeable. This of course leads one to wonder whether the entire point of such stories (such as "The Apple Tree", which is pretty much all about an irascible older gent flipping out as he equates a stunted apple tree in his yard with his now-deceased wife, or "Not After Midnight", wherein a standoffish tutor has a disturbing encounter with a treasure-hunting couple) is that these characters are getting their just desserts.

"The Blue Lenses" stood out for me very strongly, enough that I wondered whether I'd seen a dramatization of that story before--perhaps even as a Twilight Zone episode or something similar. "Kiss Me Again, Stranger" was also solid, with its depiction of a young man having a passing encounter with a captivating and unsettling young woman.

The final story in the volume was, of course, "The Birds". It's a different experience reading the short story than it is seeing the film; the story is much more claustrophobic, focusing on a single family under siege in their house. The tension and uncertainty of what's brought on the mysterious bird behavior makes the piece quite effective, and a suitable closer for the book as a whole. All in all, three stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
If Book 6 of the Sookie Stackhouse series was a turning point, then Book 7, All Together Dead, is the drawing of battle lines. Vampire politics, were politics, and an upsurge of human fanatic reaction to the undead are all in the forefront of this plot, making it arguably one of the most substantial of the Sookies to date.

Sookie is called upon to join the party of the Queen of Louisiana for a vampire summit in the (fictional) city of Rhodes. Once there, she has all sorts of competing pulls for her attention. The only other telepath she's ever met, from way back in Book 2, makes another appearance here. Rumblings about a civil war among the weres are growing stronger. And the politics between not only various factions of vampires but also between vampires and humans take center stage--forcing Sookie to question whether her life can truly be "normal" again, and in fact, to which vampire she's willing to bind herself now that she's seized the Louisiana Queen's attention.

There's a glaringly obvious "oh for fuck's sake" moment that gives away the intentions of the antagonists in this plot--or at least, obvious to the reader; I did wonder how exactly this escaped the attention of all of the significant characters in the book. Granted, they've all got other things on their minds at the time, but it's still enough to make one go "wait, what?"

But that's the only bump in an otherwise thoroughly solid story. Three and a half stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
Definitely Dead is an interesting turning point for the Sookie Stackhouse series, and if you're at all interested in reading these books, this book is not the place to start. With this novel, the Sookies have reached a point I've seen in the Dresden Files as well: enough has happened to the main character that she's had to grow emotionally, and in some ways she's not entirely comfortable with.

Sookie spends most of this book heading down to New Orleans to clean out the apartment of her formerly undead--and now permanently dead--cousin Hadley. This provides a nice opportunity to see how New Orleans is handled in the Sookie universe, and it's intriguing to see a version of the city where vampires are a huge tourist attraction. Plus, there are interesting politics between the Queen of Louisiana and the King of Arkansas. Sookie is drawn big time into these politics--especially when they result in her learning a highly unpalatable secret about her very first lover. Moreover, a secret about Sookie herself is revealed, one that goes quite a long way to explaining many of her life experiences, both past and recent.

Meanwhile, we have a distinct winnowing of the field of Sookie's suitors. A new love interest introduced in the previous book seriously comes on camera in this one; I have to admit, too, that I give Harris props for a were-creature that isn't a wolf, and furthermore, making Quinn bald. You don't see too many bald love interests in either romance or fantasy, that's for sure. That said, I'm still rooting for Eric, who isn't about to give up on the events that he still can't remember from Book 4.

All in all this is kind of a lopsided read for me. The Eric mileage is fun, as is the glimpses of New Orleans and the introduction of a new friend for Sookie, as well as a disturbing development for one of the minor characters in the staff at Merlotte's. However, Quinn as a love interest just doesn't push my buttons much. Three and a half stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
The fifth installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead as a Doornail, was one I didn't care as much for the first time through. On re-reading it, I found I liked it quite a bit better. Someone is taking shots at the local shifters, and Sookie's brother Jason--newly made a werepanther--is under suspicion. The werepanther leader Calvin and the werewolf Alcide have not yet abandoned their interest in her, while her ex-lover Bill seems bent on making her jealous. Meanwhile, someone actively has it in for Sookie, going so far as to burn down her house.

This is the book that initially made me crinkle my nose, as it introduces the weretiger Quinn, and that sort of went over a line for me of "one too many supernatural males interested in Sookie". But that one objection doesn't detract from a basically solid and engaging story. It's not too difficult to ID the perpetrators, but I didn't mind that much.

Most entertainingly, the vampire Eric spends a good chunk of the book driven to distraction trying to remember the events of Book 4--and when Sookie finally gives in and tells him what he's unable to remember, that only increases his frustration. This for me is the high point of the plot, since it lays down intriguing hints of what's to come as I plow into new territory with books 6 and 7. For this one, three and a half stars.
annathepiper: (Page Turner)
Club Dead for me is where the Sookie Stackhouse series really starts getting its feet under it. Things are definitely not well between Sookie and her boyfriend vampire Bill, and as Sookie heads to Mississippi to track him down and rescue him from lethal peril, she is torn between the attentions of the werewolf Alcide--and way more attention than she'd like from the vampire Eric, who is growing more and more interested in her with every book. Unfortunately for Sookie's peace of mind, the interest is becoming mutual. ;)

Only on my re-read through this book did I realize that this is actually one of the things I respect about this series: that it is possible in a long-running series for relationships to shift and evolve, and sometimes not necessarily in a positive way. The love interest in Book 1 need not be the love interest in Book 3 or Book 4. And love interests may never progress past the stage of "potential". There have been times in the Sookie series where I've been weary of every single supernatural male in her vicinity being interested in her, but the re-read I'm doing is shifting my opinion on that, I'm pleased to note.

I liked seeing a bit more of Tara Thornton, who I'd completely forgotten about from before--and who is an interesting contrast to her TV counterpart. Look also for some great Eric participation in this plot towards the end, as well as excellent appearances by "Bubba". My only real beef about this book is that the reason why Bill is abducted in the first place feels kind of thin. But the Eric mileage here is nifty enough that I'm willing to overlook that! Three and a half stars.


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Anna the Piper

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