TV VS Book: TrueBlood – “We are forming an elite spiritual army.”

I’m rereading everything I own as part of the mad dash to have less stuff to move house with and finding a surprising number of books that I don’t feel the need to keep. This is surprising, despite knowing that I am fussy about what books I really like, and I think is largely due to my Weltanschauung changed after the events of last year.

Weltanschauung can be simplistically translated from the German to mean “world view” but the real meaning is closer to “wide world perception” – a mixture of ideals, experiences and beliefs that act as a framework for how we view the world and react to it.

Wiki tells me that Michael Lind says “a worldview is a more or less coherent understanding of the nature of reality, which permits its holders to interpret new information in light of their preconceptions. Clashes among worldviews cannot be ended by a simple appeal to facts. Even if rival sides agree on the facts, people may disagree on conclusions because of their different premises.”

This allows people to see the same film but have very different reactions to it, to see one news article and understand it in a drastically different way, or to read the same book and have massively differing opinions on it. Because my world view has changed I feel differently about certain things and am reading into things differently.

Starting honestly, I read ‘Dead Ever After’ as soon as it came out and I hated it, the writing style was awful and the ending felt like it came out of the blue. I was aware that I’d felt that book 8 onwards had seemed poorer quality and that book 11 onwards had been a struggle for me to care about.

It was actually this feeling of annoyance combined with a desire to know the ending of the series that prompted me to start this blog, I wanted somewhere to scribble down spoilers and endings in order to remember why I hadn’t kept certain books and why some series I’d just walked away from before they ended.

So it made sense that at some point I would have to reread the entire set of The Southern Vampire Mysteries, aka the Sookie Stackhouse series, aka TrueBlood.

I have seen all of the TV adaptation and due to the noticeable differences between the two things I deliberately avoided rereading the books until after that was all over and I’d had some time for the memory of it to fade. However when I reread the books the series kept popping into the front of my mind.

Sookie is a waitress in a fictional town in northwestern Louisiana. She is also a telepath and over the course of the 13 books finds herself increasingly involved in supernatural hi-jinks. The TV show doesn’t really skimp on the amount of supernatural hi-jinks but thankfully doesn’t scrape the barrel by bothering with the dodgy “devil” plotline

At the start of the series the only supernaturals who are public (aka out of the coffin) are vampires. But werewolves, shapeshifters, witches, fae and similar all exist and we encounter them as the books progresses. The TV show is pretty faithful in following this.

It is a first person narrated series and I will say now that this isn’t an issue for me – I know some people who detest it as a style. It was interesting to see the TV show wasn’t all about Sookie and actually wandered off to develop other characters in ways beyond the book.

I do have a tiny little issue with having references to things that only occur in short stories that are spread over a number of other books – according to wiki there are 18 short stories that relate to this series which are all separately sold, which seems a bit cheeky to me. I’ve read seven out of the 18 and don’t feel the need to read anymore.

In terms of the plots to the first five books (please note there will be spoilers):

Dead Until Dark’ – we meet Sookie, Sookie meets Bill Compton – a vampire. Sookie and Bill start dating. Sookie’s brother Jason shags anything that moves so when women start turning up dead he has slept with all of them and looks rather guilty. But it’s actually his friend Rene who is killing women that he deems to be vampire sluts. Rene kills Sookie’s grandmother, who had raised Jason and Sookie after their parents were swept away by flood waters.

Whilst trying to solve the murders Sookie goes to a vampire bar called Fantasia and meets the Vampire’s area sheriff Eric Northman.

Blood and sex are pretty much the same button for vampires.

Living Dead in Dallas’ – Sookie and Bill squabble, Sookie gets attacked by a maenad and Eric is primarily responsible for saving her. Eric asks for a favour, Sookie ends up infiltrating the Fellowship of the Sun Church – they don’t like vampires very much. Sookie meets werecreatures.

Club Dead’ – Bill goes missing after lying to Sookie about where he is. Eric suspects Bill’s maker Lorena might be involved, so sends Sookie to investigate Mississippi accompanies by a werewolf whose father owes Eric, the werewolf is called Alcide and this book is the most charitable portrayal of him – his later appearances are not overly flattering. Alcide has a violent ex-girlfriend called Debbie Pelt.

Elvis is a vampire. Bill rapes Sookie after he is tortured and deprived of blood. Eric saves the day repeatedly. Sookie dumps Bills.

Dead to the World’ – Sookie is driving home from work and finds a naked Eric running along the road, he seems to have lost his memory and Pam suggest that he stays with Sookie for a little while – at least until the witch coven responsible are dealt with.

Despite her brother Jason having gone missing Sookie has sex with Eric. Jason transpires to have been kidnapped and turned into a werepanther.

Alcide had the poor judgement to be date Debbie again and she decides to kill Sookie, she fails, Sookie kills her and Eric hides her body.

Dead as a Doornail’ – the shifters and were-beasties come out of the closet. Not everyone is happy, some get shot. Sookie’s fairy godmother Claudine has to work overtime.

After some contrived and silly circumstances Sookie is effectively blackmailed into telling Eric what happened during his stay with her.

Despite having waited sometime after watching the show I am remembering how much better certain aspects of the show were – for example in the show Eric and Pam were fantastic in a way that the book only alludes to.

I do need to crack on with reading the other books, but I was surprised that ‘Dead to the World’ wasn’t as good as I remembered and was handled more entertainingly by the TV show.

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