Thank you, lovely Anon! This has made my WEEK! :)
This week Erin and I led a open book discussion about Stitches by David Small, the first time a graphic novel was...
Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
My journey with Harris and her band of characters in Bon Temps began in 2009. I had to force myself through the first book and distinctly remember telling my reading circle of friends that I felt slightly dumber after reading it. Suffice it to say I wasn’t overly impressed; however, what Harris had done was create characters that I liked and really wanted to follow, and so, I kept reading.
Advance to the previous two or three books and it was obvious that Harris had committed herself to more books than what she had stories for, sadly. Since I was already noticing a decline, I wasn’t overly surprised by this last book.
First, Sookie’s final relationship. I’ll offer no spoilers here, but I was not surprised by Harris’s choice for Sookie’s final beau. I think it was poorly supported and not even remotely well developed, but not surprising.
Second, again while trying to avoid spoilers like the plague, I’ll just say that for some reason Harris brought back old characters that didn’t really need to come back. They had received sufficient ends to their stories in past books and didn’t need to be resurrected (yep, pun totally intended).
Thirdly, Harris’s writing really seemed to get worse in Dead Ever After. Remember that I mentioned feeling a bit dumber having read the first book? Well, as she continued in the series, Harris’s writing actually did improve, but in this installment totally reverted back to the horribly scripted, poorly thought out roots – I felt a little dumber once again. I had to reread passages because they were so poorly constructed it was hard to find the meaning, and there were several times where dialogue or prose would just jump from one thing to the other – no real transition.
Lastly, and this falls in the relationship category a little, she wrote what is possibly the WORST sex scene known to writing. She’s been writing intimate, sensual, climatic sex scenes since book one and all the sudden it was like a Harlequin flunky stepped in to write the sensual scene in this one (yep, just one – because the relationship is thoroughly ignored until the last few chapters of the book).
Those are my opinions about some of the more important aspects, but I will offer this last thought. I’ve often wondered why a publisher, author, and/or agent would ever want to create and sign a contract for a specific number of books in a series. Only an author knows when a character’s story has come to an end, and I’d think that VERY RARELY would an author know how many books that equals. My opinion on what happened is this: Harris signed a contract for 13 books meaning she had to provide 13 books whether or not she had a good story. SO, the last few books have been whatever she could mush together to fill the covers of the books. I think Sookie’s story was probably ready for its ending many books ago, but for the love of money was dragged out until now. Sad, but more than likely true.
Several points here:
1. Charlaine Harris is handling things well (unlike many authors I’ve witnessed lately - some of her sheeple fans…not so much).
2. I expect to be somewhat disappointed by this book (the last few haven’t been up to snuff so no big surprise).
3. I was planning to wait for a library copy, but due to all this chaos, I’m going to find the cheapest one I can find tonight and read it this weekend (yep, even though I know I probably won’t love the book).
4. I’m going back to point #1. While I may think Harris probably tried to drag this series out for money, I’m impressed with how she’s handling the criticism and hope that she uses the feedback when moving forward with her future endeavors.
5. GET A LIFE PEOPLE…threatening to harm someone or yourself over the outcome of a book?? You need bigger issues in your life obviously. I’m referencing info gathered for this article.
*EDIT - I will be buying my copy at Half Price Books in Overland Park. They weren’t the cheapest, but they are 1) always pleasant 2) on my way home from work 3) where I will sell this book back to when I’m done 4) one of my FAVORITE places in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!
Thank you Atria Books via NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!
Admittedly I was only five when the VJs first hit the tube; however, I fondly remember when MTV was so much more than a “cruel joke” (as stated by Gavin Edwards in the Intro). The VJs were superstars to me and my friends and the videos were our picture into the lives of the rockstars we so lovingly wanted to be like – we’d dance and sing along all day! So imagine my excitement when the opportunity arose to read VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTVs First Wave! I mean, wow! Get to know the first set of VJs up close and personal while also getting some backstage dish on all the superstars they met as well? Heck yes, sign me up.
The book is set up in a VH1: Behind the Scenes type format. Each chapter has a theme and the VJs each have a section (or several) to discuss the theme at hand whether it be experience, a specific superstar, or their thoughts on a particular co-star/VJ. I found the format a bit choppy and impersonal – I never really felt the excited connectedness I was craving with these pioneers of music video. The formatting is really better fit for TV.
There were definitely some inside scoops that made the book fun to read, like Nina’s true feelings and motives behind being photographed for Playboy, J.J.’s insecurity with his age (even though he was clearly one of the most accepted in the industry right from the beginning), and Mark’s and Allan’s forays into drugs alongside some of their rockstar interviewees. Additionally, seeing the pay differences between the VJs and the way they changed over the years was very interesting, yet not surprising.
While I enjoyed getting to know the original VJs a little better (hearing how each met their prospective spouses and how they each handled leaving the show were interesting sections), the book itself came off feeling sterile and disconnected. I was also disappointed and surprised at the lack of pictures. I thought maybe some still shots of some of the more memorable guests on set with the VJs or maybe of the VJs palling together – anything that would have made the book a more memorable and personable experience.
I landed on 2.5 stars for this one because I found the info enjoyable, but had to go into “skim” mode to finish the book.
Purchase your copy here (from Rainy Day Books)
I was provided an ARC copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.