📚 Series Review: The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries

Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries

Installments (13+)

The Sookie Stackhouse Novels, also known as The Southern Vampire Mysteries, is a series of books written by bestselling author Charlaine Harris that were first published in 2001 and now serve as the source material for the HBO television series True Blood.

The series is narrated in first person perspective by Sookie Stackhouse. She is a waitress and a telepath in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. The first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001. The recently released thirteenth book, "Dead Ever After", is the final book in the series.

Please note: Each book in this series is a whole story with a beginning and an ending, however the plot of each book relies heavily on the prior books in the series. It is recommended that you read the full length novels in the order they were published.

Available purchase options for this series (via affiliate links) are located by clicking the cover images and buy links below. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

RECOMMENDED FOR LOVERS OF:

True Blood, Paranormal Mysteries, Small Town Cozies, Vamp Lit, Faeries, Charlaine Harris

SUGGESTED AGE GROUP: 18+
A Few Of my favorite things:
  • Sookie's accent
  • Pam's sassiness
  • Eric Northman shower scenes
  • Quinn mixing things up
  • Bubba being passed around
  • Jason's adorkable self
  • Sam's awkwardness around Sookie
  • Sookie's relationship with Hunter
  • BUBBA
  • The length of this series- I didn't want it to end!
  • Details, details, details
  • Novellas and side stories
  • Eric & Sookie's bond

The Audiobookworm's Review

Highlights: Triangles, Television, & World Building

The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, also known as The Southern Vampire Mysteries, will go down in history as one of my favorite series of all time. *mic drop*

*picks mic back up* To elaborate, it is everything that is pure and good in the world of paranormal books. Charlaine Harris is an exquisite author with the uncanny ability to "cozy up" a mystery series without "dumbing it down". This series is the perfect combination of two of her other series. It has the cozy factor of Harris' Aurora Teagarden series, which has been made into Hallmark movies, and the paranormal vibe of her Harper Conelly series.

Over the course of a 13 book series, a certain amount of world building is inevitable, even for the worst authors. However, Harris' descriptive writing made the quaint Louisiana town of Bon Temps as distinct as her characters. This small town coziness is a key element that was missing from the television adaptation True Blood. For that reason, I'm not sure that HBO was the right network to make the adaptation. I mean, HBO doesn't exactly do cozy, do they? They played up the sex appeal and buried the small town appeal of this series. I think HBO (purposefully?) misunderstood the tone of this series.

I didn't mention this in my review of Dead Until Dark, the first book in the series, because the TV show remained largely true to that installment (plot-wise). In fact, it isn't until later in the series that significant plot divergences are made. I have to say that I greatly prefer the book series over the TV adaptation (shocker!). If you are thinking of passing on the book series and just watching the TV show (or maybe you've already seen it and don't want to rehash everything in writing), I strongly encourage you to read the series anyway. I think you'll be surprised at, not only the significant plot differences, but the overall tone the series takes, which directly contrasts that of the show. After the fourth book or so, the book series becomes more like a cousin to the television adaptation, rather than a twin or sibling.

For example, Sookie's romantic life takes a very different path in the series and one which I definitely prefer. Without giving too much away, the book series changed my opinions of several of the key characters. It didn't make me completely switch teams in a primary love triangle, but it evened the odds significantly. In the series, Bill and Sookie have a much healthier (in my opinion) relationship than is portrayed in the show and that really changed my opinion of Bill's character (and Sookie's, for that matter).

Minor spoiler: Eric Northman has a much stronger role in the series and that is one of the biggest differences between the book and show. In the series, he, more so than Bill, is Sookie's primary love interest. Alcide is not really seen as a viable contender for Sookie's heart, but is treated more like a shallow rebound. Instead, her interests (outside of Bill and Eric) focus on Quinn, a character who does not even exist in the TV show.

With this series, Charlaine Harris has proven herself to be a master of world building. This world is made up of so many little details that knit together to create an expansive universe. There are so many side characters, each with unique back stories, that it's understandable why HBO had to cut out the majority of them. The existence of After Dead Proves this point best of all. After the 13th and final installment of the series, here is created a novella detailing, and I do mean detailing, the lives and events of (probably) every character ever mentioned in the series. That was a neat way to say goodbye to the series and it provided closure in a way I've never experienced with a book series before. It went a long way toward healing the hole in my heart that was left after finishing Dead Ever After.

I'm amazed at how quickly I was able to zip through this lengthy series. Harris' writing lends itself to audiobook listening extremely well. I was easily able to listen while I worked. Her straightforward manner of writing is easy to follow and does not require much mental energy to comprehend. She is not prone to fancy flourishes or fluff, but is descriptive all the same. Don't let the length of the series put you off. This series is like potato chips, once you start indulging, you just can't stop. ♣︎

🎙 Narration Review

Johanna Parker

Don't ask me to choose between Charlaine Harris' writing and Johanna Parker's narration because it would probably take the rest of my life to decide. I love them both equally and I also equally credit them with making my listening experience so spectacular. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have heard this series on audiobook from Parker. This is a case in which a narrator was able to elevate a written work above and beyond anything that could be found on the page or produced from the author alone. I do hope Harris realizes what justice Parker has done to this series. I do not hesitate in saying that hearing this series was one of the top three best listening experiences of my life.

Do yourself a favor today: Drink lots of water, take your vitamins, and start the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries on audiobook. You'll thank yourself (and me) later. ♣︎

Overall Series Rating

4.25 Stars

The gush-fest above and my average rating of 4.25 stars for this series may seem contradictory, but my love for this series is really about the underlying fabric and tone that stretched through the entire series, more than specific events in individual installments. It's hard to articulate, but this series just made me so happy and gave me the warm fuzzies while listening to it. That's hard to factor into a star rating.

This was a solid four star series. It wasn't perfect and the first half of the series was slightly better than the later books. I got the distinct feeling that the series changed course after the debut of True Blood (around the 7th or 8th book). Although I didn't enjoy the books after that point as much as the earlier ones, I'm a loyal listener and I was already invested in Sookie, Bon Temps, and the series enough to hang on.

Where To Find This Series

Audiobooks.com

If you are interested in giving this series a shot on audiobook (which I totally recommend!), there are a couple of great options available to you.

In my opinion, your best option for listening to the whole series is from Scribd. Scribd doesn't use credits, so you'll have access to the entire series and the novellas on audiobook. If you haven't tried Scribd yet, I recommend signing up for a free trial using this link, which will add an extra month to your free trial.

This series becomes available through Scribd around the 28th of each month, so be sure to download whatever installment you need soon after that date.

Your other option for hearing this series is, of course, Audible. If you don’t yet have an account with Audible, consider signing up through the banner below to get an extra audiobook with your free trial. Doing so will give me a small commission, but won’t cost you anything.

To sum up: You can get all or part of this series for free and help support The Audiobookworm!

Let me know what you think!

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