The Sookie Stackhouse Companion: The Ultimate Sookie Resource

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When a book series (or TV series or movie series) has been around as long as Charlaine Harris’ Sookie novels, the amount of information to keep straight can be overwhelming. A reference to a minor event from book 2 or a question about how this character is related to that character can be frustrating, especially if you can’t remember where they’re mentioned in the book (or in which book!). Enter The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, an encyclopedia of Sookie knowledge and so much more!

Advance review of The Sookie Stackhouse CompanionPenguin USA sent over an advance copy of the book and I had so much fun with it! First, a note about the timing: The Sookie Stackhouse Companion was supposed to be released in early 2011, but due to the unfortunate passing of Charlaine’s mother, it was pushed back to August 30 to allow enough time for completion. As a result, parts of The Companion are a little outdated, most noticeably the Q&A’s with Charlaine and Alan Ball.

The wealth of information about Sookie and her world is organized into various sections, including an overview of the short stories, recipes mentioned in various books, Sookie’s take on various supernaturals, a trivia section, and a brief history of the Charlaine Harris fan club. I’ll let you discover those for yourself, but let me share an overview of what were the highlights of The Companion for this reader.

“Small-Town Wedding”

Set between books 10 and 11, this novella has Sookie accompanying Sam to Wright, Texas for his brother’s wedding. This is shortly after the “twoeys” had their own Great Revelation in book 10, and Sam’s stepfather shot his mother. Tensions are high as the townsfolk grapple with the latest supernatural development in their midst, threatening the wedding and turning neighbor against neighbor. The allegory isn’t subtle here, but it doesn’t need to be.

No vampires appear in the novella, just a couple of references to Eric who Sookie talks to on the phone. Instead the twoeys get the run of the story as weres come to aid Sam’s family. It’s heartwarming to see that community coming together in support of their fellow twoeys, and also conveniently provides the opportunity for Sookie to interact with some familiar faces. Quinn is one of the first weres on the scene, insisting on getting time alone with Sookie when he finds here there. We (and Sookie) get genuine closure, a definite ending to a relationship.

Also making an appearance is Luna, the were who saved Sookie from rape and possible murder at the hands of The Fellowship of the Sun in the second book. Speaking of FOTS, the Newlins have a hand in riling up hatred toward the Merlottes. Of course they do.

Obvious social commentary aside, “Small-Town Wedding” is a study of Sookie’s friendship with Sam. She attends the wedding as his girlfriend because Sam fears he were girlfriend, Jannalynn, wouldn’t be well received by his family. Sookie ponders the implications of that, but decides to leave it to Sam to untangle his feelings on the subject. How important this trip will be in the grand scheme of things has yet to be revealed, but at the very least, like the short stories in the Sookie oeuvre,  it highlights an important relationship in Sookie’s life that doesn’t get as much attention as we might wish in the novels.

Map of Bon Temps

One feature in The Companion that I’ve been anticipating for months is the map of Bon Temps, and it does not disappoint. Finally, a visual reference of all the places we’ve read about in the fictional Louisiana town, from Sookie’s house to the Rattray’s trailer to Tara’s Togs. Did you know that Bon Temps has a Pizza Hut? You do now!

Timeline

This section is pretty much worth the price of The Companion all by itself. So many events are packed into each novel that all sense of time is lost. Hurricane Katrina is the only “real world” event we have as a touchstone, something Charlaine addresses in her Q&A, and from that contributor Victoria Koski has worked forward and backward to establish a canonical timeline for the first 10 books.

Glossary

Another valuable section, the Glossary is an exhaustive collection of people, places, and events from the books, cross-referenced as applicable. Just skimming through it, I found several entries for people or events that I’d forgotten about in the years since reading some of the earlier novels. Did you know that there was a Marianne in the books? She’s a high school friend of Sookie’s mentioned in Living Dead in Dallas. Also, I’d completely forgotten that Eric had six children with his wife, Aude, before he was turned.

Fan Q&A with Charlaine Harris & Alan Ball

Charlaine Harris and Alan Ball both answer fan questions in their respective sections. Most are questions we’ve heard/seen answered before, but some new information is shared. It’s also a bit of a trip down memory lane as Alan was answering questions between seasons 2 and 3 of True Blood and Charlaine was answering questions between books 10 and 11.

With so much supplemental material, this is more than an encyclopedia; it’s an essential addition to any Sookie fan’s library. The Sookie Stackhouse Companion goes on sale Tuesday, August 30 at your favorite bookseller.

Fan of the Southern Vampire Mysteries since 2001, and co-admin of True-Blood.net since 2008. Team Sookie!

10 Comments

  1. Liz

    August 24, 2011 at 10:44 am

    This is definitely going on my shelf!

  2. Sarah P

    August 24, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Pre-ordered mine as I have every book in the stackhouse collection. Have the Season 2 cover editions ( The Eric Cover is my favorite and the Group photo on Dead in the family) and read Dead Reckoning last month.

  3. summer

    August 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I’m get to meet CH next month, Yahoo!!!

    • Bethany

      August 25, 2011 at 4:09 am

      Lucky!!!! Really, I am happy you get to. I missed my chance when she was like 10 min from my house back in May. 🙁

  4. Bethany

    August 25, 2011 at 4:13 am

    I read all of the Twilight books (not nearly as good as anything CH has written btw, but I have them all the same) so I saw they put out their own “companion” type book. I bought it just to complete the set, and in reading it there was absolutely nothing new in it. But then Stephanie Meyer is just not Charlaine Harris now is she. I have to take my mother to the doctor at 10 am, and will be stopping by the book store on the way to the appointment to pick this book up, so I can read it while she has her tests and such done. LOL If it is anything like Dead Reckoning I will have finished it by the time we leave. LOL

    Thanks for the spoilers and breakdown of the book. Some people don’t like such things, but it just makes me want to read the book even more. And you didn’t give anything away that I hadn’t already guessed or hoped for (after reading DR) for a long time.

  5. Sookieeleana

    August 25, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Glad there is an ending for Quinn.
    Didn’t want him to pop up in the last 2 books doing his “babe”.

  6. Christa

    August 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I think a question that a lot of people have about his book is; should you buy it on kindle or paper. Is too hard to enjoy all the features in an electronic version?

    • Mel

      August 26, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      It’s really reader preference. I received the hard copy to review, so I can’t tell you what the e-book experience is like.

      • Adriana

        September 6, 2011 at 8:00 pm

        I just bought it for Kindle and I enjoyed it. I guess it all depends on your personal taste.

  7. Bethany

    September 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    READ IT! LOVED IT! A Must Have for any Sookie fan. Seriously. LOVE Small Town Wedding. One of the best novellas I have read. Ranks up there with Dracula Night, which is my favorite Sookie short. Honestly worth the extra 6 month wait. LOL (Well 7 if you count that it should have been out Feb 2, and FINALLY came out Aug 30.)