Saturday, December 27, 2008

Well, well, well, what have we here?

Santa brought me a very interesting Christmas present. Well, okay, in reality, I ordered it myself from Amazon and DH wrapped it and "surprised" me, but whatev. :) Details, details.

What I got was Charlaine Harris's complete Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series of books. These are the books that HBO's True Blood series was based on. I watched about 30 minutes of the pilot episode of True Blood while visiting Jim's parents (we cancelled HBO after the Sopranos was over in favor of Showtime because we like Weeds & Dexter) and was really into it, but a little irked by some similarities between the show and the Twilight series.

I thought, at the time, that HBO had borrowed from Twilight on some key plot points. Turns out, after reading some of these fun little supernatural mysteries, that it might have been vice versa. The first Sookie book, Dead Until Dark, was published in 2001, whereas Twilight came out in 2003. By then, Harris had already cranked out 2 more Sookie novels. Hmmmm. Inneresting, eh?

I can't believe that Stephenie Meyer (author of Twilight) never read these books. The similarities are TOO blatant.

To wit:

Female protagonist who falls in love with a vampire? Check.
One of them is a mind-reader? Check.
Part of the initial attraction is that the mind reader cannot read the mind of the love interest? Check.
Vampires are cold and hard? Check.
Vampires are alternately unnaturally still or fast? Check.
There is a whole community/world of Vampires that humans don't know about? Check.
Vamps like to drive fast and have lots of money? Check.
Love triangle between Vamp/girl/shapeshifter? Check.
Werewolves exist? Check.
Becoming a vampire takes 3 days of agony? Check.

And that's just off the top of my head.

Now, there are some crucial differences between the two series, and I can't believe I am saying this, but these differences mean that I now love Harris's vampire books WAY more than Meyer's. I know!! I fell so hard for Twilight, too. Wierd.

Basically, Charlaine Harris's books are Twilight for ADULTS. Sookie Stackhouse is a no-nonsense Southern belle who is gorgeous, brave, self-sufficient, and strong. To the contrary Bella Swan comes off as a perpetual victim who can't go anywhere without running into life-threatening peril. Sookie can, and does, save herself about 80% of the time (and who doesn't need saving for the other 20% of the time? I know I do), unlike Bella, who is always swooning, falling, and needing to be saved. Also, Sookie has S-E-X. Hot sex.

Author Charlaine Harris may be a Southern lady who looks like the sort of person you'd want to sip sweet tea with after church on a big antebellum porch somewhere, but she delivers the goods when it comes to the sexy times. Unlike Mormon mom Stephenie Meyer, who comes off as a bit of a goody two-shoes after dodging the sex question for 3 novels then glazing over it & giving no juicy dirt in the 4th. Harris's world has a seedy underbelly. Meyers's world is all teenagers who don't have sex or drink and bad guys who are really just misunderstood. Hmmm....

More than anything, I am curious about the similarities between these two series of books. I cannot be the only one who has noticed them; I guess it's okay since they're marketed towards different groups (teen girls versus grown women). All I know is that I'm hooked. I've read the first 3 Sookie novels and have 5 more after that, and I'm loving every funny, flirty, scary, sexy moment of them! I may not be getting any smarter from reading them, but I'm certainly enjoying myself. And I can't be sure, but I think that is the point. ;)


Anonymous said...

Bev. Send this review to some magazines. You are a great writer. People get paid for writing articles that are far less interesting and bright than yours.

I will be quoting you to customers! Thanks for the rec.

Jill said...

Nooooooooooooooooooooo - now you're gonna get me hooked on something else???? like Twilight, GPS, and wine wasn't enough(okay... the wine isn't new and I was already interested in getting a GPS before - but if I end up spending hours reading instead of doing housework I'm still telling Ric it's your fault).
I've got HBO so now I'm going to see if I can't find the show on demand.

Bev said...

Lisa - thank you for the compliment! You don't know how much those words mean to me. Truly. Thank you.

Jill - LMAO!!!!!!! I totally am hooking you on these books. Sorry, Ric! Ya know, I'm also considering getting HBO just to watch this shit. I am completely at the mercy of my entertainment needs, clearly.