Written by: Matt Molgaard
Sookie Stackhouse is a special creature. Telepathic, with an affinity for the world’s monsters: werewolves, vampires, fairies – you name it. I suppose being single for any extensive amount of time might lead to lowered standards… or perhaps Sookie does simply prefer the darker side of life. Author Charlaine Harris certainly understands the needs of her focal character, and she exhibits no fear in sating the appetite of the story’s “heroine”.
In a few well illustrated passages, Harris outlines a meeting between Sookie and a supposed werewolf, Preston. It seems as though Preston’s been the center piece of a werewolf feud (serve him up!), and against better judgment, Sookie leads him to her rural home, where he’s gifted everything from tea, to a shower, to a nice sensual night (it takes some buildup to reach this climactic engagement) with the woman.
Charlaine exercises mild mystery quite well, leaving readers constantly curious and scratching their heads over the whole encounter, as it certainly smells a bit fishy. And, fishy it is. There are ulterior motives at work in this tale, and while not every act of deception is malicious, there’s still some serious manipulation to contemplate in this tale. In fact, were I woman, I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be embracing this tale.
Who likes a snake, really?
Ultimately, Sookie emerges from the tale with her life, and a few perks, so to call her a victim feels inappropriate, quite inappropriate to be honest. Hell, women readers may stand up and cheer: score one for the woman! This lonely young woman ultimately… thrives in this story, which abandons a bleak setup early, triggering a not entirely unpredictable conclusion.
Predictable or not, the finale conjures a chuckle, and feels very… fitting, if you will.
I like Charlaine Harris’ prose. She tells a straight-edge tale that’s easy to follow and fairly engaging. While I can’t help but feel her work is likely more appealing to a female market, as a man, I still found gratification in this unique little Christmas tale that features (at the least) mention of some of horror’s most recognizable creatures.
I’m not sure this is a story that’s likely to strangle the attention of the bloodthirsty horror fan, but if you can enjoy a light hearted seasonal tale of unease, Gift Wrap should work to appease.