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Trueblood Omnibus: Book review


by tvnz.co.nz's Melanie Scott

Vampires are all the rage these days it seems.

While the Twilight series of novels (and accompanying movies) have gripped the entire world in a state of near hysteria, less fuss has been made of the Sookie Stackhouse series, from which the television series True Blood is based on, which is a real shame.

The True Blood Omnibus encompasses the first three novels from the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris - Dead Until Dark, Dead in Dallas and Club Dead - and chronicle Sookie Stackhouse's on off relationship with 161-year-old vampire Bill Compton and the dangerous adventures she's dragged into. 

Dead Until Dark introduces us to narrator Sookie - a likable, attractive and feisty Southern cocktail waitress who just happens to read minds. Tired of fighting off others' unwanted thoughts, she's drawn to the first man she can't read - the darkly handsome vampire Bill. 

But when Sookie gets together with Bill, the trouble starts and she's forced into a sinister world of vampires and shapeshifters.

Through the two subsequent books (Dead in Dallas and Club Dead), Sookie gets more and more deeply involved with Bill's dangerous world and finds herself fighting off vampire hating religious cults, biker werewolf gangs and evil vampire ex-girlfriends.  

Author Charlaine Harris wryly integrates supernatural beings into day to day American life; with vampires attending high school football games, werewolves running construction firms and even an amusing cameo from an apparently undead celebrity.

The vampires of Sookie's world may have "come out of the coffin" and appealed for equal rights with humans, but as the books progress you get the distinct impression they're still dangerous, alien and primitive. A fact which Sookie never lets us forget and even her own boyfriend Bill cannot be truly trusted.

The Sookie Stackhouse series certainly isn't a romance in the traditional sense, though definitely very sexy in places. 

Charlaine Harris's Sookie and Bill aren't presented as the star-crossed lovers of the television series. Instead their relationship is fraught with all the misunderstandings, baggage and problems that come with real relationships between lovers of different generations, ethnicities or, as in their case, mortality status.

Bill often isn't there to save Sookie and several times she's forced to rely on her own inner strength to fight off impending evil. By the end of the third book you begin to doubt (as Sookie herself does) whether she should be with Bill at all.

With Sookie narrating us through her adventures, the books take a good ol' Southern plain-speaking approach to the supernatural and put the reader in a world just one mythical step away from reality.

Though Sookie is forced to deal with these fantastical situations, the author refrains from delving too deeply into philosophical concepts of good and evil. All Sookie really wants is someone to love who won't drive her crazy. 

While the novels are enjoyable, devoted fans of the television series may be somewhat disappointed. This is Sookie's story after all, and several major characters from the show are merely bit players or don't exist at all and major storylines from the television series are skimmed over in the book. I was slightly disappointed myself when one of my favourite characters from the show gets killed off early on in the second book. 

I'd describe the  True Blood Omnibus as grown up vampire chick lit with a side of mystery. Fun, frothy and with a bit of bite.


Rating: 7/10


Title: Trueblood Omnibus
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publisher: Hachette
RRP: $39.99
Available: 1 December 2009


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