Dead to the World

By Charlaine Harris

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Ace Books, c2004, 2005

Genres: Mystery, fantasy, dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy, paranormal, paranormal romance, romance, vampire

Series: Southern Vampire Mysteries (Sookie Stackhouse); 4

ISBN: 9780441012183

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 291 (310 including an excerpt from the next book – Dead as a Doornail)

Setting: Bon Temps & Shreveport, Louisiana

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Sookie begins her New Year by finding her former boyfriend’s boss, the vampire Eric Northman, running naked through the woods on her way home from work.  When Sookie realizes that Eric has no idea where he is, who he is, or who Sookie is, she invites a whole new set of problems into her life when she takes him home and calls his friends.  Eric has been put under a spell which made him lose his memory.  Unfortunately for the rebounding Sookie, this has made him much more attractive.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Similar to the previous three books in the series; this story is very fast paced.  Sookie must do most of her resting between books.

Characterization: As with previous books, the story continues to be told in first person through Sookie.  Many familiar characters are found in this story including Alcide Herveaux and Debbie Pelt.  Also, a few new characters are introduced who will probably reappear somewhere later in the series.

Frame: The story begins with Bill trying to explain his actions in the previous book to Sookie before leaving for Peru.  This scene establishes Sookie’s emotional frame for the story – lonely and confused.

Story line: Sookie’s New Year’s wish is to not get beaten up.  While she manages to avoid much physical trauma in this book as she tries to both protect Eric from harm and seek her missing brother, her life continues to be an emotional rollercoaster.  By the end of the book, she is feeling the downhill effects.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Vampires — Fiction.

Louisiana — Fiction.

Telepathy — Fiction.

Waitresses — Fiction.

City and town life — Fiction.

Horror fiction.

Occult fiction.

Mystery fiction.

Stackhouse, Sookie (Fictitious character) – Fiction

Similar authors: Charlie Huston, Laurell K. Hamilton, Marjorie Lui, Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Jeaniene Frost, Sherrilyn Kenyon

Personal notes: I love how quickly these stories move, although this story had a much rougher ending for Sookie than the previous book (even though she didn’t get beat up).  It’s definitely part of the series appeal, though – Sookie’s loneliness and longing for both romance and some semblance of a “normal” life.

Other (themes, diversity): Diversity – telepath, vampires, shape shifters, werewolves, witches, Wiccans, fairy, amnesiac

Since the series has grown quite long and complex, the author recommends reading the series in order.

Charlaine Harris’ website

2 thoughts on “Dead to the World

  1. I guess reading this book will depend on whether you enjoyed the other books or not. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah says:

      I think one could enjoy the story without reading the other books first, but it might be much more confusing and one would be missing many of the details of the ongoing story. Charlaine Harris is an excellent writer, though, and it’s easy to get drawn into her stories. My very first introduction to the series was actually a story published in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, a compilation of holiday stories which focus upon werewolves. I knew nothing of the series, but still really enjoyed the Sookie story – “Gift Wrap”. However, if you’ve read some of the Sookie books and didn’t care for them, then I would be surprised if you liked this one.

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