Home > Genre, paranormal > Book Review: From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (Series, #8)

Book Review: From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (Series, #8)

Sookie and a vampire against a stormy background.Summary:
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

Source: PaperBackSwap

Buy It

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

  1. June 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I haven’t read any of these books yet, but I have a good friend who works on the show often. We were all talking about how we should read the books and watch the series from the beginning. (She hasn’t actually done either, and working on the show you don’t see the episode filmed chronologically, so you don’t always know what’s happening). So glad to see I have a reputable person to tell me about them.

    Are they scary? Are they funny, fun? Do you have to start from the beginning. Ok, I think those are all my questions… for now. 🙂

    • June 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      Glad you stopped by, Wallace! (Btw, thanks mucho for hosting the lovely summer reading contest). It’s so cool you have a friend who works on True Blood! Really cool! Ok, on to answer your questions.

      They aren’t scary at all to me. I don’t think they’d be scary to anyone with a background in mythology and/or stories with a supernatural element. There are dangerous situations, but they’re more like dangerous like someone getting mugged or held up in a bank robbery not scary like The Omen. They are definitely witty and sometimes funny (although I sort of doubt whether Harris is being funny on purpose, if you know what I mean). They are absolutely fun, if you like suspending disbelief and immersing yourself in an interesting alternate universe. Harris addresses real life issues (like rape, the gay rights movement, etc…) through thinly veiled allegory, which is also fun. I definitely would read them in order, but people who’ve seen the first season of True Blood can safely skip the first book. However, after the first season, they drift too far apart story-wise to be able to do that. Anyway, it is important to read them in order because there actually is an overarching storyline/mystery that connects all the books. It’d be spoiled if you read them out of order, and that’s no fun!

      I know you didn’t ask about the show, but! I feel I should mention the show has a different vibe than the books. It’s got the nitty-gritty south feel to it. Think like Black Snake Moan (movie). There’s lots of super-hot vampire sex, and they play up the gay angle and the Fellowship of the Sun (anti-vampire group, think fundamentalist Christian right) more. Also, they do a lot better storyline with Sookie’s brother, Jason. The show is more about multiple people–Sookie, Tara, Jason, Sam, Bill. The books are about Sookie. Which makes sense since they’re in first person.

      Wow, sorry for the really long response!

  1. October 15, 2010 at 8:00 am
  2. May 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm
  3. February 26, 2014 at 10:47 am
  4. March 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm
  5. March 5, 2014 at 11:56 am
  6. March 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: