This is a little spoilery, so my apologies. In Living Dead in Dallas, we, through Sookie, learn more about the vampire world. Thanks to her involvement with the vampire, Bill Compton, she gets pulled farther into the supernatural world. She/we learned about the existence of vampires and shapeshifters, and weres in the first novel, and in this one Harris introduces another mythical creature, a maenad.
I am so glad that the world Sookie lives in isn’t just vampires. Or just vampires and werewolves. With the introduction of the maenad, we see just how rich a world Harris has created, and how she’s pulling in more mythical elements. So often I see books or movies or television shows that focus on only vampires, or vamps and their rivalry with werewolves, so seeing that Harris is going farther than that in this series is great.
Now that Sookie and her telepathic abilities are known to some of the Louisiana vampires (and she owes them a favor for helping her in the early chapters of the book), Sookie, with Bill as her nighttime body guard, is being loaned out to the vampires in Dallas to read the minds of their humans to find a missing vampire.
Of course this doesn’t go smoothly–what kind of story would that be? Not everything has gone well in the years since the vampires revealed their existence to the world, and while in Dallas she trips over one of the groups that has formed as a backlash against the undead. The pacing here felt a bit uneven to me. I suspect it is because I was more enamored with an ancient vampire, Godric, who has a brief appearance, than with the trouble Sookie of course finds.
Sookie’s faith in others, her naivite, and that dogged determination to the right thing, are alternately endearing and frustrating to me. I’m jaded enough to have facepalm moments when I read Sookie’s responses to the obvious manipulations of the vampires. With her background as a small town girl who has never looked for trouble and has done her best to keep her nose clean, her reactions make complete sense, but still, I found myself frustrated at times.
I’m not the type of mystery reader who tries hard to figure out who done it, and I’m not so great at seeing plot holes unless they’re horribly, horribly obvious, so I can’t really tell you if everything here hangs together well, but I can say that nothing jumped out at me as “that’s dumb!” so I was satisfied in that respect.
The story closes with Sookie happy in her choice of Bill as her lover. His mind is blessedly closed to her, she finds him a fantastic lover, and despite the bumps and bruises she’s incurred as an associate of vampires, she has decided that her current life is good. It’s a nicely wrapped up story, with enough elements introduced here, and carrying over to book three, to keep me interested.
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