Book Review: Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Book: Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Published March 2002 by Penguin USA|196 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Sookie Stackhouse #2

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face to-face with a beastly creature that gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it).

The point is: they saved her life. So when one of the bloodsuckers asks for a favour, she obliges – and soon Sookie’s in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She’s supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave and let the humans go unharmed. But that’s easier said than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly….

The Sookie Stackhouse stories are delightful Southern Gothic supernatural mysteries, starring Sookie, the telepathic cocktail waitress, and a cast of increasingly colourful characters, including vampires, werewolves, and things that really do go bump in the night.

I liked Living Dead In Dallas!  I needed something light and fluffy and this book was a good choice for that.

Sookie finds herself in some interesting situations in this book, and some of it is traveling to Dallas.  I wonder if she’ll have to do more work for Eric, and if something will ever happen with them.  I know she’s with Bill, but I can’t help but feel like there’s the possibility she’ll be with Eric at some point.  Maybe I’m reading a lot into it but I get the impression he’s really interested in her.  Whether it’s romantic or not, I just want to know where things stand with them.

We really see Sookie use her abilities in this one, and I am kind of curious to see if it’s something she can hone or develop more, and if there are different ways to get what she needs.  Assuming she’s asked to get information from people in future books.  It seems like there are ways to turn it off, or at least mute it, so it’s not overwhelming or horrible.

As Sookie spends more time in the supernatural world, we see different groups and creatures.  The world she lives in is opening up to both her and to us, and I have no doubt that it will continue to open up.  She lives in an interesting world, and the South is the perfect setting for all of the weird happenings.  It makes a perfect backdrop for the vampires and shapeshifters we see.

Like the first book, this is one that I don’t have a lot to say about.  It’s an enjoyable read, and good for this time of year, when I don’t want to read anything heavy.  It’s a fun, quick read.

3 stars.  I liked Living Dead In Dallas, and I can’t wait to see what adventures Sookie has.

Book Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Book: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Published October 2004 by Ace Books|219 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Sookie Stackhouse #1

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out…

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.

Dead Until Dark was a book I read years ago, and I decided to pick up and re-read it.  It was fun, and I liked it.

Honestly, this is a book where I don’t have a lot to say.  There’s definitely a mystery to be solved, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I was quite surprised by who was behind the mystery.  Things definitely changed for Sookie once Bill came into town, and I had a fun time reading about everything that happened.

I liked Sookie, and I was really interested in her ability to read minds.  It’s interesting that she works in a bar, and you can see glimpses of how hard it is for her to shut it off.  I imagine it’s a lot easier for her to do it as an adult than it was as a kid.  One thing about it that didn’t make a lot of sense was the town knowing.  It seemed like everyone knew there was something going on with her, but a lot of people didn’t seem to know what it was.  And yet, it also seemed liked at least some people knew but pretended like it wasn’t something she could do.  How it didn’t spread like wildfire, I don’t know.

I really liked her grandma, and it’s a shame we didn’t get more of her.  She seemed pretty cool, and her exit from the book (and series) was way too soon.  I know there’s no hope that we’ll see her again, but I really wish we saw more of her.  Maybe we’ll get some stories about her in the rest of the series.

The world is pretty cool, and I know there’s more to it than what we see in this one.  Fairies, vampires, shapeshifters…what else are we going to see, and how does it all fit together?

3 stars.  I liked Dead Before Dark, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Audio Book Review: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Book: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Published May 2017 by Record Books|Length: 9 hours, 25 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Menagerie #2

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

In this riveting sequel to New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent’s acclaimed novel Menagerie, Delilah Marlow will discover that there is no crueler cage than the confines of the human mind…

When their coup of Metzger’s Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of “exotic wildlife.” Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle’s owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price. 

But Vandekamp’s closely guarded client list isn’t the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

This is another book I’ve really enjoyed!  I really liked the first one, and I’m glad I switched to the audio book, because Gabra Zackman is one of my favorite narrators, and she was a great choice for this book.

I liked seeing the aftermath of what happened in the first book at Metzger’s, and what happened once they were taken to the Savage Spectacle.  What they had to endure there was horrible- more so than what we saw in the first book, and I hated seeing them go through that.  In particular, I hated what Genevieve, Gallagher and Delilah had to go through, but I think that’s because Genevieve’s story really stood out, and we get chapters from Delilah and Gallagher’s perspective.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the different perspectives we see in the book.  I really liked in Menagerie, and I did like it in this book, but not as much as I did previously.  I think part of it is that I didn’t find the other perspectives as interesting.  And I think part of it is that it didn’t translate well to audio.  At least for me, but there were points were I was paying attention but also had my attention elsewhere, so maybe I just wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been.

Like Menagerie, we get snippets of headlines and other stories about cryptids and the Reaping.  I’m curious to see how what’s going on now will come together with everything that happened before.  It’s more creepy and horrifying and it really opens up this world that Delilah is now living in.

Life at the Spectacle is pretty contained, much like life at Metzger’s was, but somehow, this book opened up more of this world.  I think it’s because of everything Vandekamp was trying to do, with the collar, and the clients that frequent the Spectacle.  When you have a lot of wealthy and powerful clients, it’s going to change things, and I’m curious to see the fallout from what happened there.

With being able to control them at the press of a button, and trying to break them to learn what their triggers are…it’s a brutal world they’re now living in, and it’s a lot more threatening, especially where reproduction is concerned.  There’s no consent for the cryptids (as far as humans are concerned), and that’s something to keep in mind if you pick up this book.

What’s interesting is that while Menagerie would make a great stand-alone, there’s still a lot of story that could be told in this world.  Spectacle is a great addition to the series and adds to the world we get introduced to in Menagerie.  I can’t begin to imagine what we’re going to see in the next (and last) book, but I’m hoping it’ll add more to the world while wrapping things up.

4 stars.  The brutality and cruelty was a little hard to handle, especially on audio, and the multiple narrators didn’t work as well as I thought they would.  Gabra Zackman did a great job narrating the book as well.