I'm really tired of being disappointed by books. Maybe I need to just get out of the paranormal genre in general, maybe I need to start reading Great Literature (TM), or maybe I need to just give up any expectation of a good book. In any case, the most recent book I read in the Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead as a Doornail was not up to my standards. Keep in mind that my standards for these books? Very, very low.
For starters, the mystery was absolutely ridiculous. I had figured out who the baddies were before the mystery was even introduced- and trust me, that's not something I like to do. I use books like these to check out, not to try to sleuth ahead of the main character. I don't put much, if any, thought to clues and the like while reading these kinds of books. So the fact that I figured it out really says something. The mystery/mysteries were put on the back burner at best. Someone is killing shifters- oh no! Jason is going to get killed- panic! Except... Sookie didn't. It really didn't seem to weight that heavily on Sookie's mind, and the mystery only took a couple of pages. The entire weight of the book rested on Sookie and her romantic escapades.
Alright, second big beef: the romantic escapades. I liked Sookie when I started the series. Maybe it's because I enjoy how developed her character is on the show, maybe it's because initially the author did have a sassy and imperfect main character. In any case, sassy and imperfect Sookie was not. Once upon a time, Sookie's character wasn't the object of every man's attention- if anything, many of the thoughts of the men surrounding her were freaked out about her. Now, it seems that has all gone to the way side while every male salivates over her. Uh, what? I get that she's supposed to be pretty, but when not one, not two, but at least six men are prominently vying for her attention in one book, I find it pretty hard to handle. The only good thing I suppose was that Alcide's potential as a love interest seems to be pretty much eliminated in this book, along with Calvin. Thank god. It's not that I Had anything against these characters- I absolutely love learning more about their back-stories- but pitting them again the epic love triangle of
Sookie's annoying dictionary of the day habit seemed to diminish, as did her reflex to refer to herself as stupid. In fact, she seemed every bit of a strong and independent woman in this book, something I really enjoyed. What I didn't enjoy was her rationalization of being raped, beaten, and almost killed by her romantic partners. Uh, no. Just no. That pretty much took all of her independence and strength and threw it out the window. I just can't get over that. I was absolutely disgusted at that point.
But, enough of the bad. There at least was some redeeming qualities to this book. Like the fact that Harris' writing skills have progressed to the point where I almost cried when Sookie lost her house. It was absolutely heart wrenching. I can't even imagine how horrible that might be, but reading that passage sure gave me an idea. Another example of Harris' writing skills? The entire werewolf subplot. Hello, heart-wrenching. It was horrible and hard to handle, and Harris portrayed it very well. I was practically screaming along side Sookie with frustration- great stuff.
What wasn't such good writing was when Harris continued to put summations of Sookie's emotions and dilemmas after essentially every few pages or so. I absolutely hate it when authors do this. It's one thing to remind after half the book- it's another to excessively abuse the tactic. This constituted abusing the tactic in my book.
Basically, this book was a huge step back for me. After the awesomeness of the last book, this was intensely disappointing.