Saturday, September 27, 2014
Review: Dead but Not Forgotten: Stories from the World of Sookie Stackhouse
Dead but Not Forgotten: Stories from the World of Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I reluctantly picked this book up (in audiobook format) for a long drive with a fellow Sookie Stackhouse fan. I think my expectations for these stories was a little different than the actual set of stories. I wanted closure, or happiness for the characters that didn't really get a good HEA. These stories are mostly not designed to do that. It truly is what it says: Stories from the World of Sookie Stackhouse. No promises not to mess up a good happy ending, no promises to give you a happy ending. Overall, I got some closure, but some of these stories made me sad all over again. If you are happy with the closure you got from the series, I don't think I'd recommend this set of stories. If you're a glutton for punishment (like I sometimes am), it can't hurt to dive into this world again.
"Nobody's Business" by Rachel Caine (featuring Kevin Pryor & Kenya Jones)
While this story had a bunch of characters we know from the series, it just felt a little bit like things we already knew. The romance between Kevin and Kenya really solidifies in this story, though, and since I love those two, it wasn't so hard to get through. There was mystery, romance, and vampire action to pull the story along. Also, hey, remember the sheriff of Texas? He's in this one, too.
"Tyger, Tyger" by Christopher Golden (featuring Quinn)
This story was definitely a lot darker than I wanted a follow-up Quinn story to be. He's always been my favorite (until the series essentially broke him) and I was really looking forward to seeing him in his new life and maybe get a little taste of what I loved about the character before. This story has a lot of darkness in the form of rape, torture, and other types of manipulation. There's some shocking twists, but overall it left me feeling a little dirty, and not in a good way.
"The Real Santa Claus" by Leigh Perry (featuring Diantha)
By far one of my favorites from the collection. We get to check in with Diantha, another often overlooked character from the series. She's still as perky and quick as ever, and we get to watch her solve all of Sookie's problems in this holiday themed story. Mr. C, Sam, and all of Sookie's kids (?!?) make an appearance. Overall, a happy holiday read.
"Taproot" by Jeffrey J. Mariotte (featuring Andy Bellefleur)
Poor Andy. He really can never catch a break. When an old girlfriend comes back into town with a camera crew, things sure do look pretty odd. The story is that they are going to do a special on Merlotte's that involves renovating the place and changing everything. Why? The mystery was actually a good and engaging storyline that shows that Andy isn't just the comic relief. The timeframe for this one is while Sookie is in Dallas.
"Knit a Sweater Out of Sky" by Seanan McGuire (featuring Amelia)
Amelia has always been a character I'd like to see more of. She was dealt a pretty crappy hand, but she's come out as an amazing witch. This story shows her as the tough, capable witch that I think was somewhat overlooked in the series. Here, I actually felt like the characters were natural, entertaining, and strong. It was a good change of pace.
"Love Story" by Jeanne C. Stein (featuring Adele Hale Stackhouse)
This made me feel strange. As the author notes point out, talking about Adele's infidelity is not the safest of stories to tell. Hearing about Sookie's gran having sex is also not the most comfortable thing in the world. That being said, the author did give a little dimension to what I generally viewed as a betrayal before (or maybe faerie magic).
"The Million-Dollar Hunt" by Jonathan Maberry (featuring Mustapha Khan)
While I love Mustapha and miss him a bunch, this story read like something I've definitely seen before. A bunch of weres are recruited for a television reality competition that becomes "too real." Mustapha got to show that he's got brains and the muscle to back it up, while still being a softie when it comes to his partner. It also delivered a somewhat satisfying ending.
"Borderline Dead" by Nicole Peeler (featuring Desiree Dumas)
I freely admit to having no clue who Desiree is before listening to this story. Maybe back when I first read the series I might have been able to remember the character (like I remember Stan and a few others from earlier), but she could be a new character for all I know or care. She was a tough chick, and I really enjoyed her point of view. She's sick of vampire drama, the insanity that creeps into their lives, and just wants out. Of course, trouble comes knocking and she stabs it with her crossbow. Definitely a highlight of the collection.
"Extreme Makeover Vamp Edition" by Leigh Evans (featuring Bev & Todd)
I'm a little confused by this story, or the point of it rather, but it was fun and zany with a vampire twist. Bev and Todd are tasked (by Eric) with making a reclusive vampire presentable to a high ranking vampire official (to be his bride). I suppose if I re-read the series maybe I'd find it neat to see more from characters that were briefly mentioned. Overall, it was a little sad, a little silly, and over the top crazy. The ending made me crack a smile, so that at least gave it 3 stars in my book.
"Don't Be Cruel" by Bill Crider (featuring Bubba)
The mystery character also known as Elvis is a fun and interesting addition to the characters of Bon Temps. He's always been a little happy thing that gets thrown into the most dangerous of situations. This story happened during Bill's abduction and Sookie's rescue of him, which put Bubba in trouble again. This time, though, it was all because of a cat. This story ultimately had a happy ending, but it took a little while to get there. It was nice to see inside Bubba's head, but I wouldn't like to live there.
"What a Dream I Had" by Nancy Holder (featuring Alcide Herveaux)
Poor Alcide. He's probably cursed. This story shows you exactly that. We get to see Alcide in his youth, still battling with changing and trying to live like a normal human. His girlfriend at the time (and prom date) ends up in for more than she bargained for. He assumes she died in a horrible way, until she suddenly shows up in a bar he frequents. Think he's getting a happy ending? You're wrong. Poor Alcide -- I wish he would have gotten a nice happy story, not one filled with such bad fortune.
"Another Dead Fairy" by Miranda James (featuring Claude & Claudia Crane)
Does it say something that even though I know Claude is evil and bad and horrible, I gave this 4 stars? I know I shouldn't like him and this story shouldn't make him more "human" to me, but ultimately, this story kind of won me over. We get to see Claude investigate a murder at their strip club all while getting some insider information from his head. Maybe seeing this in the series would have made me hate him less. This story did what I wanted all the others to do -- gave me a happier look at a character in the series. I don't want authors to go messing around with any already existing happy endings, but if they can make more -- it's a welcome addition!
"The Bat-Signal" by Suzanne McLeod (featuring Luna)
I would read an entire series about Luna and Hunter, fighting crime. This group was so fun to hear about that I was sad when it ended. Luna is hunting down a missing shifter kid when she stumbles upon Hunter and his dad doing the exact same thing. Sookie is away and unable to help, so Luna steps in and makes them all seem like superheros while doing it. I wish all these stories were such wonderful additions to the series. This gave me warm and fuzzy feelings about these characters all over again.
"The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars" by Dana Cameron (featuring Pam Ravenscroft)
This story was almost like a book on its own. We get to see some really in depth Pam history and motivations while she fights for her (and Eric's) life. There's even the added bonus of seeing Quinn (without being tortured). Lily, Pam's old lover, plays a key role in most of the story (or stories, really -- we get a lot of Pam in this one). Pam has always been one of my favorites so it was like a little present to be able to spend some time with her again. There should be a separate set of the Eric and Pam series released next. I would read every single one of those books.
"Widower's Walk" by MaryJanice Davidson (featuring Eric Northman)
I wasn't sure I wanted an Eric story, because of how horribly the series let me down when it came to him. He started out as such an amazing character and eventually got downgraded to some guest star every now and then, with absolutely zero character development. I kind of didn't want to open that can of worms and be disappointed again. This story takes place in the future (200 years in the future!) where there's silly technology and, of course, Eric Northman. I will reluctantly give this one 4 stars, only because it gave me a certain sense of closure that the book series did not. It made me see Eric as a character again, like he was in the beginning, and not just a throwaway. He has some good motivations and it almost made me happy about the ending of the series. Almost. Sort of. Kind of.
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