Living the Fictional Dream

Erin M. Kinch’s musings upon the writing profession

Sookie Stackhouse vs. Anita Blake

Over the weekend, I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries by Charlaine Harris. (These are the books upon which the HBO TV show True Blood is based, but I think the books are better than the show — different, but in a good way.)

I won’t do an in-depth book review on the series right now, as I’m still in the midst of reading it. However, this series really has me thinking about one thing writing-wise, and I wanted to get some thoughts about that down while they are still fresh.

Reading this series, really got me thinking about what makes a good character.

It’s fairly inevitable that the Sookie Stackhouse series would get compared to the Anita Blake series written by Laurel K. Hamilton. They are both urban fantasy. Both include significant vampire and werewolf/shape shipfter action. Both involve vampires “coming out” as legal citizens of the United States. Both have strong female protagonists with supernatural abilities of their own, and both women have significant romantic relationships with other supernaturals over the course of the series.

Despite all these similarities, I find myself heartily preferring the Sookie Stackhouse books to the Anita Blake books — both the books themselves and the heroine. I started asking myself why this was, and when it gets down to it, it’s all about the main character. (There will be some points in this post that would be considered spoilerish if you have not read the series, but I’ll try not to get too specific.)

I read a lot of the Anita Blake books when I first discovered the series, and I really enjoyed it at first. However, as the series continued, my enjoyment in it began to wane. The focus of the series seemed to me to shift in a direction that just wasn’t to my personal taste. Even if you have not read the Anita Blake series, you may have heard it described as “erotic” or “sexy.” At the beginning, though there was a lot of sexual tension and romance, it wasn’t the focus — the focus was more on the plots and mysteries, as well as on Anita’s life. But, by the point where I finally gave up the series, it felt to me like the plot in the books was merely an excuse to allow Anita to have crazy supernatural sex with a huge harem of guys — the love triangle beween Anita, vampire Jean-Claude, and werewolfe Richard widened to include more vampires, more shifters (especially the werepanthers), and others.

My other problem came with Anita herself. Over the course of the novels (I gave up the series after reading Narcissus in Chains), she became more and more powerful — to, what seemed to me, an absurd degree. In the beginning, Anita was a normal woman who just happened to be an necromancer. She also had trained herself physically to be a vampire hunter. As the series went on, she gathered more and more powers and titles to add to her burgeoning collection — lupa of the werewolf pack, part of a triumverate of power with Jean Claude and Richard, alpha of the werepanther pack, etc., etc. And then she suddenly developed Jean Claude’s talent of drawing energy from sex (and getting weaker if she didn’t get said sex), which made things even crazier for her personally and for her huge amount of powers.

I liked Anita when she was a normal person with one significant power and some skills that she’d trained into herself by working hard. I didn’t like it when suddenly she was all-powerful.

Sookie Stackhouse starts out her series similar to Anita (I’m currently in the middle of Definitely Dead). She’s a normal girl, a barmaid in a restaurant, but she has one supernatural power to deal with. She’s a telepath. Then she meets Bill the vampire and discovers that she can’t read vampire minds — she is immediately intrigued because it is restful for her to be around Bill — she doesn’t constantly have to fight against being bombarded by stray thoughts.

Through her association with Bill, Sookie is introduced to the supernatural world (both the world of the recently legalized vampires and still underground supernatural creatures, like Weres, shifters, and fairies), and becomes embroiled in supernatural affairs.

Like Anita, Sookie is given some enhanced powers — the difference is, they don’t last. In Sookie’s world, humans gain power from drinking vampire blood — it enhances their strength and speed, their looks, and other abilities. However, the effect is temporary, based on how much she’s had and how old the vampire in question was. So, she has these abilities, but only for a while. Other than that, she never adds to her supernatural skills, though, over time, she does learn how to control her telepathy better and use it in new (and believable) ways, such as projecting thoughts to other telepaths (but not to regular Joes).

Also like Anita, Sookie becomes greatly in demand in the supernatural world. However, unlike Anita, the supernatural world doesn’t fall at Sookie’s feet. She’s dragged into it (or sometimes rushes into it head first), but she has to work for the acceptance that she gets there (and she is not always accepted).

For example, Sookie meets a werewolf named Alcide and they are attracted to each other. However, (1) they do not hop immediately into bed together and (2) Sookie does not gain any type of leadership position in his pack. She is named a “friend of the pack,” but that is because she alerts them to a problem in their territory and helps out a pack member who gets hit by a car. In fact, despite dancing around the issue for a couple of books, Sookie and Alcide never actually have a relationship. They are interested in each other, but each has a load of personal baggage (in the form of exes and other issues) that gets in the way, and the relationship is never even consumated.

Sookie does have a relationship with vampire Bill, and a couple of other supernatural guys are interested in her, but the interest is believable. I never wonder why all the guys are so taken with Sookie (like I did with Anita), and there are plenty of guys in the series who aren’t actually taken with her. Also, every supernatural guy Sookie meets does not automatically become her bedmate.

The difference between Antia and Sookie, I’ve decided, is the Mary Sue phenomenon. If you haven’t heard of a Mary Sue, this is a term that came from fanfiction writers. A Mary Sue is a character written into a story about an existing universe (Buffy the Vampire Slayer was always my fanfiction neighborhood of choice) who basically represents the author’s wish fullfillment. This character is instantly loved and embraced by the main characters of the existing universe — all the guys fall for her and all the girls want to be her best friend. Everything a Mary Sue does comes easy for him/her, and she gets everything that she wants in the end. And any “weakness” a Mary Sue has is usually a strength in disguise and never gives her much trouble.

As the series progressed, Anita felt more and more to me like a Mary Sue. Everything came too easily for her, too many guys liked her (without enough reason) and liked her so much that she was able to treat them like crap and they would still give her whatever she wanted. Her powers got exponentially stronger to an insane degree, and even her weaknesses just don’t seem that bad.

Sookie, however, doesn’t feel like a Mary Sue to me. She feels like a real, vibrant character of her own accord. She’s strong, but she has real weaknesses. She might have a selection of cute guys to be interested in, but she doesn’t get to have all of them. And the relationshpis she does have include real life issues and don’t always work out. She also has issues in her life that don’t magically get solved — like money problems, problems with her brother, and problems with the law. Sometimes she will find ways around them — like earning a significant sum of money using her house as a hide-out for a vampire on the run — but inevitably something will happen to set things back again — like a house fire resulting in a huge expenditure setting her finances back to ground zero.

The writing lesson I’m taking away from all this debate is a reminder of just how important characters are to a story. Without characters the reader can really invest in, they are more likely to stop reading (like I did with Anita Blake, whom I could no longer relate to). But a character a reader really likes becomes an old friend that they want to visit in every subsequent novel (like Sookie is for me — at least so far, I’ve got a few more books left to read).

Part of making characters that readers will like and identify with, in my opinion, is being willing to be hard on them. They need real obstacles to overcome. You can’t be too easy on your characters or there is no real struggle for them to go through and suddenly your character is a Mary Sue.

When I first started writing, I was way too nice to my characters, and the stories suffered for it. I still struggle with that, but I’m becoming much less benevolent to my characters as I mature as a writer.

If you enjoy urban fantasy and murder mysteries, I would definitely give the Sookie Stackhouse novels a chance. And if you like True Blood, I think that you’ll enjoy the books, as well.

Happy reading, watching, and writing, y’all!

28 Comments so far

  1. Jackie M (Literary Escapism) April 29th, 2009 7:27 pm

    That’s sad you stopped with Anita at Narcissus in Chains. Yeah, LKH introduces the ardeur in that novel, but she fleshes it out with NiC, Cerulean Sins and Incubus Dreams and then it gets back to normal. Not to say the sex stuff isn’t there, but it’s not as important.

  2. Alexander Burns April 30th, 2009 1:14 pm

    I’m always terrified of accidentally created a Mary Sue (or is it Larry Stu?) and not realizing it.

  3. emkinch April 30th, 2009 1:18 pm

    Alex — I always heard Harry Stu for boys. :-)

    Jackie — Maybe I’ll give Anita another try someday. It just got to the point where I was skimming over more pages looking for the next plot point than actually reading and enjoying. Anita rocked back in the first two or three novels of the series.

  4. vmarion May 5th, 2009 1:18 pm

    I’m checking out the book, and the series. Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. emkinch May 6th, 2009 1:16 pm

    I think you’ll really like it, VA! At some point, you would be welcome to borrow my copies (they are on semi-permanent loan from my friend in California), but I just loaned them to my mom. I’ll let you know when I have them back, though.

  6. shelley May 7th, 2009 3:05 pm

    Good posts, I read all the Sookie Stackhouse Collection right after the Twilight Series. I am waiting for my next Sookie fix in the mail “Dead and Gone” the 9th book…these books are awesome! I finished up the Rachel Morgan Series by Kim Harrison…highly recommend them so well written and great characters! Now I am desperate for a new series so I have started Anitia Blake - Laurel K Hamilton. Any recommendations?

  7. emkinch May 14th, 2009 12:08 pm

    Shelley — I’ll have to check out the Rachel Morgan series. Sounds good!

    Good luck with Anita Blake. I really enjoyed the first few books, but it became too much for me after a while.

    If you enjoyed Twilight and would be interested in some other Y/A vampire books, I really enjoyed the House of Night series by P.C. Cast and the Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead. I think I wrote a blog post here about them somewhere…

    Also, I really love the Women of Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. There are eight or so in the adult series, and she just wrote the first two in a Y/A series set in the same ‘verse. They have vampires, werewolves, witches, half-demons, necromancers, ghosts, and more. It’s a really compelling world with a lot of depth. My favorite character is Elena — the only female werewolf. She rocks!

  8. hatersal May 30th, 2009 5:24 am

    I spent about 5 weeks reading all of the anita blake and Merry Gentry books of Laurell K Hamilton and now started reading the sookie stackhouse series. I havent seen true blood though but for reading the anita blake books first, i cant help but be prejudiced about the sookie stackhouse books…

    The world they live in is too similar and it’s inevitable for me to start comparing. I do agree with you that exactly right in Narcissus in chains I wanted to stop reading the books. I didn’t though and after some 3 books of *ahem* sexcapades, the Harlequin and Blood Noir is really a great improvment! It was such a relief when Ms Hamilton decided to skip the sex sessions by just making anita lose memory so she wont get too detailed.

    Anyway, I just finished Dead before Dawn but I have to say, compared to Guilty pleasures, the latter is more favorable to me! You were right, I liked anita when she was more uncomplicated and with no ardeur. Less sex and more plot but I just cant get over the fact that those two authors have the same line of imagination to think up a very similar story in an almost similar world with the same first person point of view.

    By the way, i tried to read LA Bank’s book, MInion. It’s about a vampire huntress too but I havent got the chance to get past 10 chapters then I switched to sookie. Is the books worth it to finish? It was kinda slow for me…

  9. emkinch June 2nd, 2009 7:58 am

    Nice to meet you hatersol. Thanks for the comment.

    I’ve yet to read any L.A. Banks, but I’ve always been interested to. If you pick the book up again and decide if it’s worth reading, you’ll have to let me know!

    I do enjoy a lot of the fast-paced Y/A vampire fiction. The Twilight series, of course, but even more so, I like the Vampire Academy series and the House of Night series. You have to put up with a little (or a lot, LOL, especially in the case of Twilight) teen angst, but I enjoyed them.

    It is interesting how similar the worlds are in the Sookie and Anita books. They each have their own point of view and feel unique when you get into them, but on the surface, they seem the same. Maybe they were both conceived during the first flush of popularity for urban fantasy?

  10. james June 24th, 2009 12:27 pm

    I love both series of books for different reasons.I started skipping threw the Anita Blake books at times in mid series due to the sex dependency issues of Anita in them.Still I’ve read them all.But I can not help and wonder were the story and charters are going to or what the writer has in store for them ect ect..So far I’m over halfway threw the newest book and Anita has not had sex yet so it reads like the first few books of the series.

  11. ED July 23rd, 2009 2:45 pm

    I agree that the Sookie series is better than the Anita Blake series.

    Even though I know better, I keep reading LKH’s series. In LKH’s other series, following Merry Gentry, the result is the same: solve the world’s problems with sex. I’m not shy about reading sexual scenes, but how many times can she rewrite the same stuff? It becomes boring and redundant after awhile. What happened to the plot?

    However, I also agree that LKH’s writing found its original flavor in her latest book, but it still wasn’t enough to justify reading it… (and this isn’t even touching on her editor’s poor skills.)

    Sookie’s stories are very easy, funny reads. Although I didn’t enjoy the “extra-special” bodyguard characters added at the vampire conference (you know who), I find the rest of the characters likable. I suppose we go through all of this because it’s difficult to find a sophisticated yet enticingly fun novel on the supernatural.

  12. Katie July 24th, 2009 3:38 pm

    I love both the Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake Series. I got into Anita Blake about 4 years ago, and also got disinterested when trying to get through incubus dreams. I read the Twilight series about three times when someone suggested the Sookie Stackhouse series, which I fell in love with! After reading the whole series and back into the vampire novels, I started reading Anita Blake where I left off years ago. Her recent novels are really great, but I do prefer Sookie Stackhouse over Anita anyday!

    Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions, I’m gonna check out some of these other vampire novels!

  13. Darcey July 30th, 2009 11:17 am

    I agree with you on some points regarding the “Mary Sue” of Anita Blake. However, I do like that she’s edgier, has more self confidence and plays far less into the “woman’s role” that Sookie endures in the South. (And living in the South, I know that is still very much part of the small-town culture.)
    I also feel that for the first few pages of every book, Sookie/Charlaine is re-explaining all the issues that she has, which is necessary to a point, but that Sookie hasn’t grown as a person - it’s always the same issues.

    Anywho…

    For another YA Vampire series, The Vampire Diaries, by LJ Smith, are pretty good. I’ve heard they’re turning the series into a show on the CW this Fall. She’s also written some other book series: The Secret Circle (about a young coven of witches), The Forbidden Game (runes), Dark Visions (psychics). I read all of them in high school and enjoyed each for what they were.

  14. emkinch August 2nd, 2009 10:26 am

    James — I’m glad to hear the the Anita books are getting better again!

    Ed — I’m with you on those body guard characters. They were quite strange and seemed too different from the more “normal” supernaturals the rest of her world is populated by. I hope we don’t see them again too soon — or, if we do, I hope she finds some way to mesh them in better.

    Katie — Cool! I hope you enjoy those books! :-)

    Darcey — That’s an interesting point about Sookie and the woman’s role. I did like the take-charge attitude that Anita had at the beginning of the series. It was like Buffy in BtVS — empowering. I loved all those LJ Smith books when I was a teenager. Dark Visions was my favorite! I’m exited about the new series this fall — I’m thinking of pulling out my old copies of the Vampire Diaries and rereading them before it starts to refresh my memory.

  15. Lindsay August 31st, 2009 11:38 am

    I just stumbled upon this to see if anyone made a comparison between these two series, and you have voiced exactly what I have been thinking. I’m glad I am not alone. Anita does not have enough flaws for me, she is definitely a “Mary Sue.” I also only just started the Anita Blake series, and maybe since I’m not that far into it I can’t say much, but I don’t like her as much as Sookie already.

    I know a lot of people who posted before said they like her strong attitude, but seriously? She is too reckless and doesn’t think before doing anything, and I feel as if the author is tryin too hard to make her into a strong woman-type character. She’s starting to wise up as the book goes on, but she really needs to watch what she says–vampires are much darker creatures in this book than Sookie Stackhouse vampires.

    Also, do you know which series came first? I was wondering if one somehow got the idea of vampires “coming out of the coffin” from the other.

  16. emma August 5th, 2010 12:34 am

    I love Anita Blake and Sookie Stackhouse… I am very happy where both books are going!

    *for those who are wondering Anita Blake series came out in the early 90’s around 92 or 94. and Sookie stackhouse came out in the early 2000’s

  17. Candise March 5th, 2011 11:34 am

    I started reading Anita Blake back in high school when I was, maybe, in my sophomore year and fell absolutely head over heels in love with the series. There is just something about Anita that really got me going. I think its the fact that she’s such a strong girl, the kind of girl who doesn’t fit in with other women, the kind of girl who doesn’t care what you think about her, the kind of girl who will bite your ass right back no matter if you’re a man or a woman, and I really appealed to her character. I also loved Laurell K. Hamilton’s style, the way she wrote, and the voice, Anita’s voice was so strong and different. Being a vampire lover since grade school, reading about a world where vampires are known instead of in hiding was so brilliant and different to me at the time that I just fell so deeply for the series. And, writing wise, LKH has a knack for coming up with characters that just leap right off the page. She has a knack for amazing plots as well, and is the only writer thus far that has made me actually dream about her novel, it was so good. Though the sex didn’t bother me, I will admit that it started taking away from the plot a great deal. I mean, come on, you’ve got relationship problems, especially if you’re sleeping with a handful of men, but who really cares? I found myself screaming “Get to the story already!” I mean, that’s fine and all when it comes to the characters and how they grow and develop together, but what about the novel? What about what’s going on with the killing and whose the new big bad in town? I agree 100% all the way that the earlier Anita books were her all time best. She’s trying, but I think the problem is she needs to pick a place and end it, because the hard part about drawing out a series for any length of time is that the character starts to disinterest, sometimes the writer gets lazy and that translates into the writing, and we get tired of the same old thing. But she’s trying, and no matter what I can’t stop reading her books. It may be because she’s my favorite author, but at the same time I think her characters have really reeled me in. I fell in love with characters like Nathaniel, Jean-Claude, Richard (when he wasn’t being a total douche), Edward, Micah, even the body guards! I mean, you won’t find character’s like LKH’s anywhere! I mean, if you do, let me know!

    Now, Sookie is another story for me entirely. She’s too much like every other heroine that I’ve ever read. I can’t stand her to be honest. She’s so . . . generic and I don’t like the whole “part Fae,” thing, in fact I despise it. I don’t have anything against Fae, but I just don’t like it on Sookie, I guess. The other characters are just fine with me. I love the side characters more than the main character, and that is a huge issue because its the main character who I’ll be with the whole time, and I hate Sookie. I think what ruined me for that series is that I had a totally different reaction to the main character. Not even the show made me like her (once again, side characters much better than she is). And I just can’t read a book if I don’t like the main character. It has nothing to do with my own prejudices between the two series’. Believe me, I’ve tried getting through the first book, but it just wasn’t happening for me. I do enjoy that it shares some similarities with LKH while its still its own thing, but i just can’t see myself getting along with Sookie in order to stay with her even halfway through the book. She annoys me too much.

    As far as both series go, no one does the vampire justice quite like Anne Rice. She is what real vampires are all about. Granted they are some of the saddest vampires you will ever meet, Anne Rice is the queen of vampires, and you can’t not pick her up and call yourself a vampire fan (in my opinion, anyway, some might not like her, either). She’s more about the traditional, lone wolf vampire, the true nature of the vampire versus the modern day vamp.

    I vowed to stay away from YA a long time ago, just not my cup of tea, and I won’t even get into the mess with Twilight … never again!

    I also tried L.A. Banks, but as much as I want to get into it, its not my cup of tea, either. But honestly I think LKH ruined it for me with other writers in this genre. She just does it for me, sort of like my soul mate when it comes to writing in general. Not that I’ll just turn the others down, I’ll always read outside my box, and there is always something better out there. LKH’s got some issues to work out, but I’ll be with her every step of the way. So I say Anita, hands down.

  18. emkinch March 9th, 2011 10:18 pm

    Lindsay — Emma already answered the date question, but I’ve seen other “out of the coffin” series, too. Carole Nelson Douglas’s Delilah Street universe is similar, as well (and well done, so check it out), but Anita was the first one with that storyline I’ve seen.

    Candise — I totally get what you mean about having to like the main character. I’ve put down several books in my time because I just couldn’t like or identify with the main character. And it’s so much worse when it’s first person POV!

  19. Karinne May 31st, 2011 6:21 pm

    emkinch- I’m just starting the Anita Blake series, (in the middle of Circus of the Damned.) And so far I love it, does the sex really affect the writing that bad? I’m enjoying it so much and I’m trying not to anticipate dropping off from the series.
    But I did want to mention that I have read all of the Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison, Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong, and Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris. I love all of these books so much, and they are so different from each other. When I picked up Anita Blake I was really hoping for another amazing SciFi-Fantasy series.
    Two Questions
    Have you read the Rachel Morgan series yet? It’s amazing.
    Do you have any other suggestions for a series?

  20. emkinch July 16th, 2011 8:37 pm

    Hi, Karinne.

    With Anita, it got to the point where I was skimming more pages of sex looking for plot, so I just had to finally give up. It was somewhere around Narcissus in Chains. I heard later that if I’d pushed through a couple more, the sex took more of a back seat again. But you have plenty of good reading in the Anita series before it gets to that point.

    Love Kelley Armstrong and Charlaine Harris. :-) Haven’t read the Rachel Morgan series. What’s it about? I’ll have to look it up, because I love good urban fantasy.

    Have you ever read The Host by Stephanie Meyer? Twilight was young adult, but The Host was adult, and I really liked it a lot. I’m also a fan of young adult urban fantasy, and I quite enjoyed Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series.

  21. anotherVampfan August 18th, 2011 2:15 pm

    I read both. Every new book that comes out I can’t wait to see what Anita and Sookie are into. I get caught up in the whole Sookie Book vs. True Blood thing. I loved the books and I really like the TV. series but I wish some parts of the books were more dominate than the things that weren’t as detailed.

    Sookie has a way of going about her every day and things get worked out. Anita’s life is working things out. She has a day job (at night) but she drops everything to save the men she loves and solve the case. Sookie has a softness Anita just doesn’t have. But Anita is gaining a softness or conscious through the men in her life. She definitely wears the pants but they are teaching her how to be more compassionate.

    I will say, the shorter Anita Blake Novels like Micah and Bullet are basically sexcapades but the bigger books always deliver a worthwhile story. The sex-dominating books don’t offer a lot of progression to the storyline either but they always offer a little bit of Anita’s unique fight scenes. However, I find that her metaphysical weapons aren’t as exciting as the big guns she use to pull out.

    I read Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series when the first movie came out. Then I read The Host, I’m usually not big on aliens but I really liked it. Afterwards was when I read the Sookie Stackhouse series until I ran out of books. Anita Blake fell into play next. I blew through the first 16 books in the series like nothing. I would sit up all night reading for nights on end because Laurell K. knows her stuff. Then I had to fill the gaps between the next release of Anita and the next installment of Sookie.

    I read The House of Night series by P.C. Cast, Aprilynne Pike’s fairy series, and I went back to my roots with V.C. Andrews novels.

    I don’t mind the YA novels but there are certain themes that just fit better into more adult storylines. I really enjoy a strong heroine who is very intelligent but doesn’t have all the answers. Though, she always finds an answer while growing more as a Supe as well as a “normal” human.

    As I get older I find myself wanting more mystery, and more insight into the parallel worlds these writers are creating. I recently took up The Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine. It is a story about a 17 year old so it has to be YA but, it has a very different, unique twist to the human/vampire reality.

    In the Big Anita vs. Sookie Debate I’m at a point where Sookie is becoming harder and Anita is becoming softer…but that’s just how I perceive the direction these two story lines are going. Both Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris are amazing writers but what do you read once you’ve caught up with them?

  22. emkinch October 4th, 2011 11:52 am

    Thanks for the perspective. :-) I actually need to catch up on my Sookie — it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to read one. I’m starting to think that the longer a series goes, the more of a chance there is that the reader can get disenchanted. Not always, but maybe. The last Sookie book I read was definitely not as good as all the ones that had come before.

    If you like Y/A, you should try out Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade. Both are great paranormal adventures.

  23. AlexisClaire October 15th, 2011 10:48 pm

    I did the exact same thing with Anita Blake. After loving the the series initially I got to where I would just skim down the page to see if anything happened that actually moved the plot forward. Page after page of kinky sex and I just wanted to know “who dunnit”. Ya know? I mean that’s all well and good but it got old. It seemed like the author only had a plot as an excuse to get Anita from one dick to another which was *so* counter to her original character. Anita, once she gave in an actually had sex, seemed to just give up on her morals entirely which surprised me based on her personality from the first couple of books.

  24. Lestat83 February 20th, 2012 9:56 pm

    I have read all of these comments and found many of them mirror my own opinions…so I would just sum it up like this: Anita Blake was awesome until she became a slut. And Sookie Stackhouse is a twit, if not for the comedy I would have put these books down along time ago. Oh and one more thing: Anne Rice is the Queen. Peace!

  25. Dd May 22nd, 2012 5:46 am

    Alexisclaire,

    I think you bring up an interesting point about Anita giving up on her morals once she started having parasex: to me, however, Anita’s moral code seemed rediculous in the first few books compared to what she did for a living. Sometimes I’d think lkh was being too pushy about Anita’s higher moral code when she was actually a killing machine. That’s why I think she gave readers Edward. Sort of the opposite end of the spectrum (well at least the human spectrum). I liked it that Anita grew out of her dumb shit holier than thou attitude. Made her a more believable character.

    Thanks for this page emk!

  26. Sadie Hyde June 12th, 2012 10:18 pm

    Great post! I just read another LKH for the first time in years because I, like so many other people, just got bored with the sex. You know there’s a problem when there are all these stunning men performing acrobatic sexual feats and you are just skimming along like, mm, ok, when does the story start? I find Anita to just be too irritating. Until this last book, she insisted that her half dozen walking penii service her and her only, and didn’t let any of them have any relationships of their own. I just found it too unbelievable that there are that many men who would be willing to share her with seven or eight (or nine or ten…) different guys but risk having her cut them off if they went with another woman. I feel like LKH doesn’t like women- not in a sexual way but in a “every female character that isn’t Anita is weak” kind of way. Anita basically is her own deux en machina at this point, any problem is surmountable when she just conveniently develops a new power. Dull. I dislike people calling her a slut, because I think if a woman wants to go ahead and f*ck 90 different guys then that’s her choice but I feel like many of the men are coerced into bedding her to “consolidate their power” or whatever and as far as the ardeur goes, it’s an excuse for her to basically roofie any XY chromosome waking around with the gall to not want to bang her. Some of the other characters are good, Edward is interesting with his double life, Jean Claude with his political machinations, Micah exists solely to agree with Anita and give her the bit of picket fence she always wanted, Nathaniel has no appeal for me and I know it’s silly but god do I want to chop off that ridiculous hair. Ankle length? Seriously? Ugh. Damian had the possibility to be interesting but then she just sorta dropped him for 4 books and then brought him back as another extension to her power strip. Zzzz. As for the werelions, werepanthers, weretigers, werebears, and werewolves & wererats, it’s gotten ridiculous. How about werebats? Or werebadgers? It’s just silly now. The multiple colored tigers and everything- you’d need a Venn diagram to follow which animal does what and which guy is the animated sex toy for his subspecies of werewhatver.

    I like the Sookie books much more because the writing is just better. I don’t ever need a three page description of the leather pants that pale Fabio is wearing and how they match his silver swan faucets in his giant whirlpool. CH just keeps to the plot- there’s a mystery, Sookie helps solve it, and various supernatural folks come out to play. I wasn’t in love with the whole Fae thing either and there was one book (second most recent I think) that just screamed FILLER but on the whole I find the characters much more appealing. They’ve got flaws- Eric is an ass who thinks of his power and status first of all, Bill is stuck with his 1860s view of women and will always view Sookie as his responsibility, Pam has no flaws, she’s just awesome, Alcide has fallen too far into pack politics to resume the degree of humanity Sookie really wants, and Sam has had horrible taste in women ever since Sookie turned him down. I’m hoping they end up together bc in all the books, the one constant thread is their friendship and how they can always count on each other and be honest with each other.

    I can see the appeal in comparing them- urban fantasy or supernatural romance or whatever but the basics are just too different. Sookie is a normal(ish) woman who cares about other people and does what she has to do to survive and wants to find love but is content with remaining a barmaid forever, and Anita likes to kill things and show the men she’s not intimate with that she’s a Powerful Female Who Owns Her Sexuality and Can Fight/Kill Just as Hard as The Men.

    Sookie’s only got one more book, and I think not having the story drawn out into 19 different orgies/bloodbath/token RPIT scene/female who isn’t Anita making moral judgment against her/and the so overplayed “and then the darkness swallowed me and I didn’t feel anything at all”. She’s had so many head injuries/loss of consciousness that someone might think that LKH just couldn’t think of another way to end the scene and have her wake up in _______’s arms.

    I am trying to decide if it is worth reading the most recent 2 of LKH because I didn’t enjoy the last one but felt like I had to finish it. CH books are never a chore and I can’t wait to re-read them. I’d much rather go for a drink with Sookie than Anita- Anita definitely one of those “other girls don’t like me and I don’t knkw why” (coy giggle, supernatural something, sex with another man who cannot resist her and repeat x19 books…) Sookie would be a good friend, if somewhat jeopardy friendly.

  27. emkinch August 5th, 2012 6:00 pm

    Interesting comments, everyone. I find it awesome that people are still reading and commenting on this post three years later! :-)

    Sadie, great critique of both series. Very interesting!

  28. LordAzrael November 24th, 2012 1:51 am

    If you like those, also check out the Harry Dresden Series (you can find him under Wizard in the phone book) and the Iron Druid Chronicles. Dresden in particular is what Anita Blake was in the early days.

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