Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris

Ace (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0-441-01971-7
September 2011

Present Day

Welcome to Bon Temps and the world of Sookie Stackhouse and her assortment of vampire, were and “other” friends and acquaintances. This nifty novel companion is sure to be a hit with fans of Ms. Harris’s wildly popular Sookie Stackhouse series. It’s filled with interesting information and offers up a short story as well.

Where to begin … at the beginning I suppose. The Sookie Stackhouse companion starts off with a forward by Charlaine Harris and includes a map of Bon Temps and the story, Small Town Wedding. Featured in this tale are Sookie and Sam, (Sookie’s shape shifting boss and friend). Sookie and Sam head for a small town in Texas to attend Sam’s brother’s wedding. There is some concern that it won’t go off without a hitch because ever since the “weres” came out and Sam’s stepfather Don shot his mother, (no she didn’t die and Don is in jail) there has been hostility and tension in the small town. Sookie agreed to attend the wedding for a number of reasons, first because she is Sam’s friend, and second because his real girlfriend is not someone he is ready to bring home to mom. From the moment Sam and Sookie arrive in Wright, Texas things begin to go wrong—and Sookie wonders if there will be a wedding at all. Mayhem ensues as the anti-were factions do everything they can to stop the wedding. Will they succeed? You’ll have to read the book to find out Small Town Wedding is filled with familiar and new characters and as in each story the character interactions and dialogue make this a treat to read.

The next section is titled Life in Bon Temps and I found this section particularly interesting. While I am a fan of the series I am seriously behind on my reading and Life In Bon Temps gives very short descriptions of each of the books, focusing on the key issues of each book and includes a timeline. By the time I got to the end of the section I was intrigued and more determined than ever to catch up on my reading about Sookie. There is also information on the Sookie short stories and other relevant information.

Section Four is titled Vampires, Two-Natured and Fairies…Oh My! In this section the reader gets Sookie’s unique perspective on the “other” natured characters she has encountered throughout the series. A fun section, and very much in Sookie’s voice, and it ends with Sookie’s family tree…interesting relatives!

Section Five reminded me once again it’s time to get back to reading the series and maybe even starting over with the first book, DEAD UNTIL DARK. A terrific series of trivia questions where true fans can test their memories. (I definitely need a refresher course!) A lot of questions pertaining to facts in each book, such as in DEAD UNTIL DARK, What is Gran’s full name? Name? Gran had a name? You can see my memory is shot.

Section Six is delicious—don’t read if you are hungry. Titled What’s Cookin’ in Bon Temps, this section is, yep you guessed, filled with delicious recipes! I personally want to try the Crossroads Jambalaya. Yum

Section Seven is sure to please fans to the HBO Series and is titled Inside True Blood. The creator and writer of that show answers a multitude of questions from the readers. From how he discovered the books to why he has changed things a bit...such as letting Lafayette live. While I don’t watch the series, I might just give it a shot after reading this interview.

Section Eight, From Mystery To Mayhem, discusses Ms. Harris’s work not related to the Sookie books. The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, the Lily Bard series and The Harper Connelly Series. All sound good, and they have me reaching for my list of books to buy to make several additions. Next up are Reflections Around the Duckpond, a section by and about Ms. Harris’s fan club, followed by a questions and answer session with Ms. Harris, and wrapping up this entertaining and enjoyable companion book is a Guide To the World of Sookie Stackhouse with codes, definitions, and character descriptions.

Whether you are a long time fan, new reader, or just curious about the series, THE SOOKIE STACKHOUSE COMPANION is a fun and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon and learn (or relearn in some cases) what makes these novels so popular and unique. Get your copy…and then get back to the books!

Terrie Figueroa

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