Club Dead (2003) finds Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire boyfriend, Bill Compton, arriving at a crossroads in their relationship. Remembering all that they’ve been through in the previous two books, it comes as no surprise but I am a little disappointed that things dissolved so quickly in their relationship.
Twenty-six year old Sookie Stackhouse lives in a small, rural town, north of Louisiana. She’s a barmaid at Merlotte’s and the girlfriend of Bill Compton, a vampire and Civil war veteran. Since hooking up with Bill, Sookie has been reluctantly drawn into the supernatural community.
Needless to say, she has a special gift that fascinates them: she can read minds. Her gift (or curse) of telepathy has made her an oddity within her own community and it’s a major deterrent for her dating regular guys. Reading other people’s thoughts was a nuisance for her until she met Bill. He was a godsend to her since she couldn’t read his thoughts. Through Bill’s instruction, Sookie’s been able to control her gift and eventually, she becomes sought after within the supernatural community.
As a couple, Sookie and Bill have weathered some stormy days together. However, there remains the fact that their worlds are so vastly different, and this difference makes their relationship vulnerable to the challenges that face them from the outside world.
What I enjoy most about this series, is that the author constructs a society where vampires are recognized as existing alongside humans but beyond that, they lack the rights that humans take for granted. There are the usual social issues of class discrimination, inter-species disconnect, the usual hierarchical power structure and politics, territory and boundaries that embody their world. In Club Dead, Sookie gets herself entrenched further than she’s ever been, within this supernatural world, in order to save her man.
Sookie’s been informed that Bill has been kidnapped right after learning that he has lied and betrayed her. She is left conflicted. He was working on a secret project for another vampire, who happens to be the Queen of Louisiana, before he was snatched. Sookie gets a quick lesson on what vampire has what territory in Louisiana and the complicated politics that go along with it.
Eric, who is Bill’s boss, is a master vampire who runs a tourist bar in Shreveport. Sookie’s worked for him before on a couple of assignments. She learns that Eric was unaware of Bill’s project but aside from that matters have become complicated. Bill was kidnapped by another vampire from another state. Thus, Eric can’t rescue Bill without starting a war. So, Sookie finds herself lulled back into the dangerous world of the supernatural, allowing Eric to arrange for her an escort, a werewolf named Alcide, to help her rescue Bill. Together, with Eric working undercover, they go on a rescue mission that leaves Sookie battered up good in this entry.
Another reason why I enjoy this series is because of Sookie and the secondary characters that make up this small, rural community. Their absence stuck out for me in this entry. Of course I missed Bill, too. He stayed mostly absent since he was kidnapped. There’s a bit of humor to lighten things up, especially with the ongoing “inside joke” if you will relating to “Bubba” the vampire from Tennessee, who bears a striking resemblance to Elvis Presley (except you better not tell him that), who upon occasion, provides security for Sookie, when Bill is away.
This series is all about Sookie. She is at times smart and charismatic. I like that she pokes fun at herself. She does come across as just a regular person who has all these weird and extraordinary experiences that sometimes consumes her life. In Club Dead, she proves that she is pretty tough and that there is more to her than meets the eye. When all is said and done, Sookie will always try to do the right thing, but not always. I think the author has it right, in balancing her strengths and weaknesses.
Of course, you can add my complaints with others who may find Sookie’s endless list of wanna be suitors a tad bit annoying. I really like Eric and find him very sexy but I hope that Sookie doesn’t end up with him. Also, I like the fact that Sookie has other issues to deal with outside the supernatural community and that the cause and effect of her working for them is addressed in the story.
Again, the fantasy construct of Harris’s vampire community is unoriginal and familiar. Harris did add one twist to her vampires in that they can be photographed and that relates to Bill’s secret project, which I won’t elaborate on further. Continuing on, you have the drinking of blood related to sexual gratification, the power of vampire blood to make humans stronger (older the vampire, greater the potency), the blood as a healing property, and last but not least, the sense of community with customs, lineage, and traditions that make for interesting reading.
In the end, Club Dead was enjoyable but it wasn’t a fast read nor will it be a favorite of mine in the series. I’m leaning more towards a solid B because the story is very readable, character development was nicely done but there were some slow parts (mainly when Sookie is away from home) and I missed the Bon Temps community because for me, they make this series stand out from the other lame vampire stories that seem to read alike these days. More importantly, I like Sookie, because her Southern charm has grown on me. Anyway, I look forward to reading the next Sookie Stackhouse adventure. My grade, B/B-.
This post is apart of the TBR Day event that me and my fellow readers are participating in until December 08. Please be sure to check out the other participants and happy reading.