Review of “From Dead to Worse” by Charlaine Harris

This is Book 8 in a delightful paranormal series featuring Sookie Stackhouse, a barmaid/waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana. This particular book has a bit less charm that the previous books, as the author seems to have gotten waylaid by expanding the supernatural world, and by getting bogged down by the convoluted and corrupt politics of the werewolves and vampires. It’s beginning to sound like Chicago, for goodness sakes!

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In From Dead to Worse, Sookie gets in the middle of two internecine conflicts, both of which stem in part from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Surviving werewolves and vampires from the areas hardest hit have moved into other territories, and are contesting the extant leadership. Sookie’s telepathic abilities enable her to help mediate both situations, although there is a great deal of blood shed before they are resolved, and of course the “bad guys” in both groups are now out to kill Sookie.

Also in this book, Sookie finds out that she has a great-grandfather who is a prince in the fairy world. Her paternal grandfather was half-fairy, and this fairy blood helps account in part for Sookie’s appeal among all the male supernaturals, who find the fairy essence intoxicating. [This was a disappointing development to me; I thought it should have been sufficient that Sookie was not only good-looking, but independent, not afraid of supernaturals (“supes”), bright, talented, loving and loyal. The implication that the basis of her attraction is magic is demeaning to Sookie in my opinion and shows not enough faith in her character. On the other hand, it goes a long way to explain why THIS particular human above all other humans has attracted the interest of so many supernaturals.]

In spite of all this appeal, however, Sookie continues to have man troubles. Largely though, this is a result of her own stubbornness and ego. She even breaks up with Quinn because he gives too much time to his mother and sister instead of to her! (So in another sense, yeah, maybe she does require some fairy blood to make these guys keep hanging on in spite of her behavior!)

As the story draws to a close, the once-powerful vampire area of Louisiana gives in to the reality of their diminished status after Hurricane Katrina and the death of so much of the leadership. Eric makes the decision to align with the Las Vegas vampires, who have a great deal of money and power (in large part because of all the people in Las Vegas willing and eager to have sex with vampires and perhaps a bit of a tribute to “The Godfather” saga). A last ditch attempt by an attendant of the late Queen of the Louisiana vampires to kill Eric and the handsome king from Las Vegas, Felipe de Castro, is thwarted when Sookie saves their lives.

Evaluation: This book doesn’t have the usual amount of sex, social commentary, and tongue-in-cheek humor as the previous books in the series. The author’s heavy-handedness is not as effective as her light touch in the first books. I hope her subsequent contributions to this series get back to what made the beginning so fun: Sookie’s moxy, faith in the goodness of the world, loyalty and love; and Harris’s subtle yet effective jabs at the hypocrisy of those who discriminate against others.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Ace, 2008

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21 Responses to Review of “From Dead to Worse” by Charlaine Harris

  1. sandynawrot says:

    Hee hee…love your FTC disclaimers! Well, it couldn’t last forever could it? Every series author has got to have a bad spell now and again. I usually will allow them one or two stumbles before I drop them!

  2. softdrink says:

    Uh-oh, trouble in paradise? (I’m talking about your Sookie love, not the relationship between you and your husband. Although his book buying spree was completely unwarranted!)

  3. bermudaonion says:

    You are really making me feel guilty about this challenge. I bought myself Push yesterday (since I’m going to see Precious on Tuesday) and felt guilty until my husband bought himself a DVD.

  4. J. Kaye says:

    ROTFL @ your FTC Disclaimer! I need to get off my butt and finish catch up on this series.

  5. Darlene says:

    Love your disclaimer. I should feel guilty both for not even starting this challenge yet and for spending a ton of money on eBooks recently. Yikes.

  6. Julie H. says:

    Love your humor as usual!

    And I hope Sookie gets back on track–I always find there are one or two in a multi book series that just don’t do it like the others. In fact, I’m debating even reading the next Plum offering. Perhaps if I skip one, she’ll get back on track!

  7. I love your righteous indignation about Sookie’s appeal having to be enhanced by an infusion of fairy blood! Go Jill! 😉

  8. Julie P. says:

    You just plowed right through these books. I plan on reading one or two this month to get back in the swing of things.

  9. It seemed inevitable that eventually the series would start to lost some of its charm. Thanks for sharing this review.

  10. Meghan says:

    I just read this too – I do agree that this is perhaps the low point in the series so far. This is just a whole lot of related stuff in Sookie’s life, and while it’s still enjoyable, it definitely didn’t have that cohesive feel that made me want to race to the end.

    I kind of agree about the fairy blood, too. I do think she had an unrealistic number of men hanging around her, but when you look at how many human women are okay with vampires/werewolves/etc., it becomes obvious why even without that fairy blood.

    Although I agreed with her decision to cut Quinn loose. His life is hard, but she’s gone through a lot of crap with men, and I could see her point. She doesn’t want to be dropped every time one of them has a problem.

    I have heard that book 9 is better, I’m sure we’ll both find out soon! =)

  11. Sorry about this book. I hope this doesn’t mean you are quitting on the series. I love reading your reviews even though I have no intentions toward reading them myself. The reviews PLUS the FTC disclaimer have become a favorite read. Have you considered an entire post of FTC disclaimers?

  12. Ladytink_534 says:

    The latest book was one of the best in this series. All Together Dead wasn’t bad but it wasn’t one of my favorites.

  13. Bring back the sex and tongue-in-cheek humor … AND the social commentary! I actually haven’t yet read any Sookie, but I’ll be looking for the trifecta that seems to be missing from this book.

    Please tell your husband we’ll send a file in a non-Game On Diet -approved cake …

  14. Staci says:

    Why is that men never feel guilt but we end up eating chocolate to alleviate ours???? Loving your reviews on this series…can’t wait to get to these again!

  15. Toni Gomez says:

    Ha..never feel guilty… ha ha. Your husband did what? Will this marriage survive? LOl… Nice review. This is “The Series to Read” for me. And it doesn’t help that Kindle has a nice bundle price on it. And to be honest I haven’t been thrilled with the covers of the books so I wouldn’t have to forego that cover attraction.

  16. Valerie says:

    Count me in as one who is enjoying your FTC disclaimers! My husband wil spend quite a bit on golf balls and then raise his eyebrows if I bring home yet another book! At least books don’t get lost like golf balls do :-).

  17. Rita K says:

    Ok – how do you get so much time to read? Of course, I had to wait for the new ones since I started this series a while back. I think the fairy blood aspect is a bit of a cop out to explain her appeal – plus I also agree that this is not as much fun as the earlier books.
    PS. I bought 2 new books myself the other day and my spouse did not get angry – just told me to quit buying until I get a job 😉

  18. Jenners says:

    I just finished “Dead Until Dark” and loved it! Totally fun. Gives me the same little “vampire love” thrill as “Twilight” but with a more interesting and amusing heroine! I”m in for the series!

  19. Michele says:

    Oh goodness, you made it to book 8 already?? Yikes, I’m only on book 4 (or maybe it’s 5…not sure). I’m going to have to read like mad to catch up to you. 😛

  20. Pingback: 2010: #61 – From Dead to Worse (Charlaine Harris) | Confessions of a Bibliophile

  21. Pingback: Book Review – From Dead to Worse: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris « Randomize ME

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