Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bon Temps roulez

For those of you who watch True Blood, I'm sure you're aware that the series is based on books, but given how much of what goes on the show came from somewhere other than the book... (Billith? Really?)

I'll admit, what I've seen of the show is good, which admittedly is about 3 episodes from the first 2 seasons. (I haven't really watched Showtime since Queer As Folk, and even then, I wound up having to download the last season or 2 just to find out what was going on.)

From what I've seen, about the only TV show that's remaining fairly faithful to the source material is Game of Thrones on HBO, and maybe The Walking Dead on AMC. (The latter did a switch up on one of the bigger surprises in the books though.) (I also won't mention Lifetime's adaptions of Blood Ties based on Tanya Huff that ignored the fact the vampire was bisexual in the books or SciFi's The Dresden Files that only ever got into the source material for one midseason episode.)

None of which is really related to Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris (aka the next to last Sookie Stackhouse book, although the last one is aupposed to be more or less an extended epilogue). I just tend to go off on tangents occasionally.

There have been some rather ugly accusations leveled at Ms. Harris about how unenlightened and sexist Sookie is, but really, it rather fits the character. Sookie is at heart, a fairly sheltered white trash woman in a remote part of Louisiana. To expect that kind of character to behave like an urbane socialite would be rather silly. Even if Sookie has dated just about every kind of "super" in the universe. (Vampires, shifters, weres...don't think she dated a fairie, mainly because most of the ones in the books were relations...)


This, the latest book, starts off in Mexico with some plotting to get a major artifact from Sookie that got used in the last book, the Cluvial Dor. Mainly, it involves the father of a recurring character and his bodyguard selling their souls to a devil (not The Devil, he rarely goes above ground anymore). When they find out the artifact is no more, it instead sets off a rather convoluted plot to get revenge on Sookie.

Sookie, completely clueless to all of this, is dealing with the aftermath of using the Cluvial Dor. Namely, Eric moving to Oklahoma, and Sam (her boss who turns into a collie on occasion) being alive and not being all that talkative with her.

What follows is almost like the Quantum Leap series finale, wherein just about every character who's appeared in the series but hasn't died, makes a cameo at the very least. Arlene, last seen going to prison for trying to get Sookie crucified for her choices in supernatural bed partners, get released by the conspirators and tries to get a job at Merlotte's, the bar Sookie works at and partially owns. Needless to say, she doesn't get her job back, and in fact gets found garotted with Sookie's scarf in Merlotte's dumpster the next morning.

Which of course ends up getting Sookie arrested on murder charges. Making it more akin to the Seinfeld series finale, actually.

Anyway, with Sookie out on bail (paid by Eric, who of course has a few ulterior motives), many recurring characters show up to help clear Sookie's name.

Which, given the book has a semi-happy ending,  they end up doing.

My only real problem was that the ending seemed rather rushed. I mean, everything gets tied up in the course of a chapter. That and I wasn't clear on how related all the conspirators were at the end. Because, one of the big surprise baddies seems to be completely unrelated to the  Devil subplot. Also, as Sookie herself points out, it would have been easier for any one of them to show up on her soorstep with a gun rather than go through all the convoluted plotting that forms the plot of the book. Of course, had they not, the book would have been a heck of a lot shorter.

In all honesty, when I read book 8, From Dead to Worse, I thought that it would be the series finale, given how many loose ends she tied up. Thankfully, 5 books down, she wound up writing something better inclined to wrap up all the dangling plot lines, and give us Karin, Eric's other daughter. Who's almost as awesome as Pam.

Satisfying, yes. But I can imagine that more than a few folks will be annoyed with the resolution. I was not among them, since it actually showed good sense on Sookie's part, which seems to be a rarity in Urban Fantasy.