Book Review: From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (Series, #8)
Hurricane Katrina and the bombing of the vampire assembly at Rhodes have left the Louisiana supernatural community reeling and disjointed. This naturally creates the perfect atmosphere for attempted violent takeovers in both the were and vampire communities. Sookie finds herself smack in the middle, as usual, both due to her telepathic abilities and her desire to help her friends. Of course her telepathic abilities can’t tell her where her boyfriend, Quinn, has disappeared to. In the middle of all this, she also finds out some interesting family secrets.
Not only is Sookie’s character developing and changing, but the series is as well, and that’s what’s keeping it interesting this many books in. If you’ve stuck it out this long, then you’re clearly enjoying something that Harris is doing; however, I would say that the previous book and this one mark a stark change in the style of the series away from paranormal romance to just paranormal fiction. I’m actually not sure what exactly one would call this genre, but From Dead to Worse definitely reads like modern-day fiction just with supernatural characters tossed in. I really enjoy this partly because Harris’ sex scenes are cringe-inducing anyway, but also because it allows for that modern day connection but with problems that I will never have. This makes it a relaxing read.
Unlike some paranormal series, the main character of Sookie has gone through significant character developments. She went from a naive girl desperate to fit in to sadder but wiser woman who enjoys being different. In the first book, we see Sookie being cared for by her grandmother; in this one, we see Sookie caring for not only the witch, Amelia, but also an elderly woman, Octavia. It’s not just this that’s changing, however. Sookie’s experiences leave her wondering if she’s a good person or not, and frankly the reader is left trying to figure that out as well.
Some readers will be thrown by the absence of sex in this book. However, I enjoyed the various types of sexual and romantic interest tension Sookie has with the various men in her life. It is evident that she’s attempting to figure out which direction she wants to go in her life before settling on a man. Racking up this tension throughout one book is a great set-up for the next one.
My only gripes with this entry in the series are two-fold. First, I really don’t like the Jason/Hotshot storyline. Jason could be a very interesting character, as we know from the direction they’ve taken him in True Blood. He’s not used well in the books, though, and I hope Harris fixes this soon. I’m tired of cringing over the Hotshot scenes. Also, this book yet again features a northern woman who yet again is an evil bitch in Sookie’s eyes. This is obviously Harris’ own prejudice coming through as Sookie has been established as a person who is staunchly not prejudiced against anyone. What is with this hating on northern women? It says a lot about Harris that this prejudice seeps into her writing even when writing a character who is not prejudiced. I’m sick of seeing it, and it stings as a northern female fan of the series.
However, in spite of these short-comings, the series is still enjoyable. This book marks a distinct change in the writing from paranormal romance to simply paranormal. Readers who’ve stuck it out this far will either enjoy this change as I do or give up on the series due to its lack of romance. If you’re reading it for the characters and the world Harris has created, you will enjoy this entry into the series. If you’re reading it for paranormal romance, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
4 out of 5 stars
Previous Books in Series:
Dead Until Dark, review
Living Dead in Dallas, review
Club Dead, review
Dead To The World, review
Dead as a Doornail, review
Definitely Dead, review
All Together Dead, review