All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

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* WARNING: SPOILERS*

If you’re like me, you’ve read all of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, buying them the day they come out and staying up all night to finish, and then afterwards regretting that you read them so fast because it’ll be a year or more until the next one is published. There’s only so often I can re-read each one before going back to waiting again, so I’ve gotten really excited about True Blood, the HBO series based on Charlaine Harris’s popular books and everybody’s favorite telepathic waitress. The only problem? Sookie IS the series. She is the most important part about the entire show. Therefore the actress playing her is going to have to carry the show. She is going to have to BE Sookie. She’s also going to have a difficult time with fans of the books who have a clear idea in their head of what Sookie should look and act like. In my opinion, they should have chosen either: 1) a slightly well known actor (with a few credits, but nothing too high profile like . . . XMEN) who is so incredibly talented that she has no problem totally absorbing herself into the role OR 2) get a very talented unknown actor who hasn’t done anything much and therefore will not be associated with any other role. As I see it, the most important decision that needed to be made is the casting. Apparently, Anna Paquin is the best they could get. This worries me for so many reasons. First, she’s not a good actress. Have you seen Xmen? Have you seen Buffalo Soldiers? Yeah, not good. Sure she may have won an Oscar when she was like ten or eleven, but what has she done well since then? Secondly, she is NOT Sookie. She doesn’t look like her, doesn’t act like her (because she pretty much acts the same in every movie), and certainly doesn’t do well with the accents.

I’m worried that if the producers or casting directors or whoever have decided that Anna Paquin is the best Sookie, then what other mistakes are they making? They’ve clearly shown how little they know or understand the books or the character with their casting so how well do they know or understand the rest of it? This casting decision has me so upset that I’m at the point where I’m 99% sure I will NOT be watching the show. Sure, I’ll give it a try once, but just like all the other films that Anna Pacquin has been in, I’ll see it once and then get too annoyed to watch it again. I’m hoping to be proven wrong, I really am . . . but I don’t see it happening.

Ok, back to the book . . .

In All Together Dead, Harris’s focus is on the vampires rather than the shapeshifters, Werewolves or any of the other supernaturals. Sookie has been hired by Sophie-Anne, The vamp Queen of Louisiana, to act as an extra set of ears during a vampire conference where the Kings and Queens of every state are gathering for many reasons, one of which is to witness Sophie-Anne’s trial for the murder of her late husband, the former King of Arkansas. When Sookie arrives in Rhodes for the summit, she quickly reacquaints herself with the only other telepath that she’s met, Barry the Bellboy. Barry, who now works for the King of Texas, has done quite a bit of growing up since his last appearance, and his is quite a sizeable role as he assists Sookie in everything from trying to listen in on plots against their respective employers to tracking down a vampire assassin to saving the lives of a hotel full of vampires and humans.

Upon her arrival in Rhodes, Sookie notices strange behavior: hotel employees are acting weird, extra suitcases appear that nobody claims, the sycophantic hotel owner is around too often, supernatural bodyguards have been hired to protect the King of Kentucky, the key accuser in Sophie-Anne’s trial is murdered, and the violent and vamp hating group The Fellowship of the Sun is plotting something big. The resilient Sookie, constantly proves that she has more than earned her keep as one of Sophie-Anne’s employees with her telepathic abilities, mystery solving skills and quick thinking.

An upset to Sookie’s role in the vamp politics leaves Sookie in a bigger man quandary than she was before. Should she be with Quinn? Does she love Eric, should she choose him? As always, just enough is given to advance Sookie’s emotional journey, without sidetracking from the larger story line. Eric, and Pam and all the other vamps are great, as always. Quinn, who annoyed me with his rather stereotypical California surfer talk in the last book, is much more interesting and far less less annoying this time around. Sookie is as quirky, witty, and loveable as always. Part of why I love these books so much is because Sookie seems like just an ordinary person (with telepathic abilties, of course) who’s put in these extraordinary situations that seem way beyond anything she can manage. But, she always rises to this challenge, outwitting the bad guys (woohoo! *victory dance*) and saves the day. All Together Dead is fun, exciting, humorous, and a great installment to the series.

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~ by loonigrrl on May 2, 2007.

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