After 11 novels in her Sookie Stackhouse supernatural mystery series, as well as an extremely popular TV adaptation (HBO’s True Blood), Harris (Dead Reckoning, 2011, etc.) has provided her dedicated fanbase with this mostly superfluous companion work.
The primary appeal of the Companion is a new Sookie novella by Harris, “Small-Town Wedding,” which finds Sookie accompanying her boss and friend Sam Merlotte to his brother’s wedding in a small Texas town. Sam, a shape-shifter who can take the form of various animals, is worried about prejudice directed at his shape-shifting family now that the “two-natured” (as they’re known in the series) have revealed themselves to the general public, just as vampires did in Harris’ first Sookie novel, Dead Until Dark (2001). “Wedding” features a simple story that adds dimension to Harris’ wider fictional world while remaining squarely focused on two of her long-running characters, and it serves as a nice spotlight for Sam and his family. The rest of the book is mostly filler, including painstakingly detailed (but completely dry) summaries of all the Sookie novels and short stories to date, as well as similarly exhaustive entries on every character, no matter how minor, who’s ever appeared in the series. Those sections might at least be informative for readers who can’t be bothered to check Wikipedia or fan websites, but features like the history of Harris’ fan club, a selection of recipes inspired by the books and an instantly outdated interview with True Blood creator Alan Ball are almost completely useless. This hodgepodge of material will only become more irrelevant as Harris continues the series, adding narrative pieces outside of the scope of the Companion.
The previously unpublished novella is charming, but the rest of the book is for hardcore Sookie completists only.