By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — Vampires seem to be in season year-round these days, but this is a particularly good time of year to contemplate the great sisterly vampire wars of 2010.
Forget team Edward vs. Team Jacob.
For my sister Sally and me, it comes down to Team Sookie vs. Team Bella. If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past decade, or more likely, out in the bright sunshine away from any news of vampire literature, you may have no idea what I'm talking about. Bella is the heroine of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series, basis for a hot movie franchise. Sookie is the mainstay of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, which inspired an HBO series.
Our differing vampire preferences may seem strange in sisters with nearly identical voices and tastes so similar that, even living and shopping in locales thousands of miles apart, we've often managed to give each other identical Christmas presents as esoteric as Guatemalan hand-woven patchwork tote bags.
But then again, there are some differences. Sally likes smokin' bad boys, big bowls of peel 'n eat shrimp and the smell of the ocean at low tide. I'm more partial to health-conscious, spiritually inclined guys with doctoral degrees and cowboy boots, green chile and cilantro, and the fresh aroma of ozone during a lightning storm.
So maybe it isn't so surprising that Floridian Sally likes Deep South Sookie and I'm fonder of Bella, whose primary homes are in the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest, where I've spent most of my adult life.
We could have endless debates about which heroine and which vampires are most admirable.
Bella, though she isn’t adverse to a close friendship with a werewolf/shapeshifter and doesn't appear to care if her daughter marries one, is a one-vampire woman. And whatta vampire!
Edward is a “vegetarian” vampire (which means he dines on free-range wildlife rather than humans) and lives with a close-knit family of humanitarians who use their superpowers for good and healing and fret over the state of their souls (and whether they have any). Bella wants to become a vampire mainly because it can mean a very long run with her soulmate and the love of her life. Bella’s unique superpower, pre- and post-vampirism, is to shield her thoughts and her loved ones.
I wouldn't call Sookie a supernatural slut, but she is a rather bewildered soul who has had long-term relationships with a couple of vampires and seriously dated a few werewolves and shapeshifters and is especially fond of the human/collie who owns the bar where she works.
Sookie has had trouble coming to terms with her superpower, the ability to read the minds of humans, but not vampires, in whose company she therefore finds some degree of peace, except, of course, for all the vampire violence and shenanigans. Eventually, Sookie discovers she is descended from a fairy (as in Tinkerbell) ancestor, a heritage that apparently heightens her appeal for vampires.
I love both the Twilight books and movies and concede that the Sookie books are page-turners, too, but the extreme and icky violence has dissuaded me from watching the TV series, "True Blood" (named for the synthetic blood developed by the Japanese that enabled the vampires in Sookie’s world to go public and hang out in blood bars).
Sally and I can agree that both series are well-written, and I'm grateful that Sally's Sookie partisanship has introduced me to the other series by prolific author Harris. I'm enjoying working my way through her books, including her three other mystery series starring Harper Connelly, who is able to communicate with the dead after being struck by lightning, smart Southern Belle librarian Aurora Teagarden, and crime-victim-turned-karate-aficionado Lily Bard, who leaves her upscale professional life to clean houses (and become an inadvertent crime-fighter) in a small Arkansas town.
Hmm. It takes all kinds — of humans, pixies, werewolves, vampires, crime-fighting heroes and other assorted critters — to make our big, wild, imaginative world. This is a great season to treat yourself to a good, perspective-stretching, original read.
Happy Halloween — and viva la difference!
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450