THE DRESDEN FILES Reading Challenge



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Saturday, May 11, 2013

DEATH THREATS? SERIOUSLY?

Let me preface this with a disclaimer: I did NOT like Aurora Teagarden, I wasn’t fond of Lily Bard, and I loathed Harper Connelly. So, when I was given a three-fer of the SOUTHERN VAMPIRE MYSTERIES by Charlaine Harris, well . . . I was in the hospital at the time and any book was preferable to NO book.

Imagine my pleased surprize and delight, then, with Sookie Stackhouse. Wow. Just, WOW. A steel magnolia in training, with the added difficulty of being a telepath? With vampires that weren’t prettied up, supernatural elements of all sorts, and, eventually, the entire pantheon of supernatural and supranatural creatures and beings? Hoo boy – I fell in love and haven’t fallen OUT of love with this quirky, insane at times and thoroughly entertaining series. I’m like any other rabid fan: I wanted it to go on and on and ON forever. So, like any other rabid fan, I was upset at Mrs. Harris’s decision to end the series and move on to something else, while at the same time I was eagerly anticipating the ending. Would Sookie get her HEA? Who would it be with? What about Sam – does he get over being dead and resurrected? And Tara and JB? And the villains, of course: what was going to happen to them? Steve Newlin/Fellowhip of the Sun? Felipe, the King of Louisiana, Arkansas and Nevada? Her cousin Claude in jail in Faery? What happened to him? How about the other characters? How about the Eric/Freyda mess – how is THAT going to be resolved, or is it?

So MANY questions – and all of them answered. All of the storylines crafted throughout the series were ended. NOT neatly, no, but in my opinion satisfactorily. While I wasn’t exactly pleased with some of the endings, they were logical within the framework of the world that Mrs. Harris crafted. The characters were true to themselves and their back stories, the plot lines and story lines were consistent with the internal logic of the universe, and it was, to me, an altogether satisfying read.

DEAD EVER AFTER is, at times, incoherent because the action and dialogue jumps around from person to person and place to place. It is, at times, a bit hard to follow. It also, at times, makes no logical sense until you’ve read the entire book at least twice. Fortunately, with a book, you can do that. That’s one of the most wonderful things ABOUT a book, it’s always there to be read, re-read and savoured. While I was surprized in a good many places with this one, I was also delighted.

Which is why I was so unpleasantly surprized when I read the newspaper reviews of the book. Almost without exception, they were scathing. AND rude. When I read the Amazon reviews, I was appalled at the reaction of most of the reviewers. When I read the interview that Mrs. Harris gave, I was not only appalled, I was – well, angry. Apparently, Mrs. Harris has gotten death threats for her endings. It seems that her fans were just as fickle and as rude as the troos of another urban fantasy writer, only her fans were threatening her with mayhem and murder simply because she didn’t write the ending that *they* wanted and felt that they deserved.

Death threats? REALLY?

I think what everybody has lost sight of here is that these books are Mrs. Harris’s creations, the people that inhabit her world are *her* children, and that, unlike some other alleged writers I could name, she has always been aware that they are fictional and not actually real people. Even the books that she’s written that I wasn’t real fond of have had an internal logic that has been followed faithfully. The rules of her universes have been consistent, her character development has been both logical and consistent, the storylines have been good (even if I didn’t much care for them) and basically she’s followed her own rules. The characters are always developing and growing which I think is important.

Now, does the fan base have the right to complain? Of course they do. I myself have complained on occasion when an author that I have enjoyed in the past has taken a direction that I didn’t care for. RIVER MARKED by Patricia Briggs is one of the books that almost put me completely off both the author and the series. WAKING THE WITCH by Kelley Armstrong is another one. I found it very hard to like either one of these books because the author took a differing point of view from the one that I expected and thought should be taken. OK, they were bridge books but I didn’t like them and I was quite vocal about my dislike. However, complaining about a direction that I don’t like is NOT – repeat, NOT – the same thing as threatening the author because said author didn’t do what you wanted them to do.

Back to DEAD EVER AFTER: I never liked Eric Northman. Not even a little bit. He was abusive to everybody around him. He used Sookie as if she was an object – after all, she was nothing but a mostly human person, not important to him – until he decided that he needed to have her as a sex object. He tricked her into a marriage that she didn’t want to one-up his new king (although he did that to “keep her safe”), he ordered her around like a slave, he never really appreciated her for just herself – and, despite her stated wish to NOT be turned, he was contemplating that anyhow. He tried to make her into a kept woman, again against her wishes, and got angry with her when she declined the “honour”. Control freak, much, Eric? I must confess that it gave me an inordinate amount of pleasure when his life finally caught up with him and he was forced into the same position that he tried to force Sookie into.

Sookie’s HEA was not what I expected, at all – and I loved it. Her HEA was not what everybody wanted, oh, no. However, it’s the one that she secretly wanted and got. Not every woman in the world has to have a protector or even really wants one. Full circle back to mostly human but also recognition of her own worth as a person. One is, after all, a whole number.

I’m sorry that Mrs. Harris is having such a hard time, and I hope that all of the angry fans get over themselves.

They need to.

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