The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories, by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris's The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories is a collection of nine short stories and a novella. I'm not sure how hardcore Sookie Stackhouse junkies will feel about this book, but as a casual fan I actually found it more fun than a full-length novel—it offers a tantalizing glimpse of Harris's characters and world-building, but you get to skim over all the tedious background drama created by thirteen books' worth of storytelling.

Each story opens with a brief note from Harris about her suggested chronology. Standouts include “Fairy Dust”, “Two Blondes”, and “If I had a Hammer”, all of which feature Harris's signature blend of creepiness and humor. The novella, Small Town Wedding, has too little plot for too many pages. It should have been either edited down to a short story or bulked up and expanded into a full-length novel. And for Harris completists, the final story in the collection, “In the Blue Hereafter”, establishes a link between Sookie's world and some of the author's other series.

This collection is extremely satisfying, particularly for those of us who dislike Harris's romantic storylines. Over the course of the series, Sookie dates what felt like half the supernatural men in Louisiana, making it hard to get invested in any of her partners. I'd rather read a dozen stories about Sookie and Pam running errands or Sookie reading minds while she waits tables than a single scene of Sookie fretting over her dysfunctional relationship with Bill (or Eric, Quinn, Sam, Alcide, etc.). Lucky for me, that's pretty much this book in a nutshell: very little romance, but a bunch of enjoyably creepy glimpses of Sookie, her job, her friends, and her unique position in the supernatural world.
Posted by: Julianka


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