Friday, December 27, 2013

The Aurora Teagarden Series, by Charlaine Harris

I have two weeks off from work.  Two gloriously weeks.  I have a plan, and that plan is to read.  A lot.  I love having large chunks of time off where nothing is expected of me, where I can give my time of things that interest me and that have caught my attention, and during which I can really dig into a good book (or a dozen good books).  So, because I knew I had a chunk of time coming up, I’ve been hoarding books.  There is nothing like a big chunk of time off to get into a really good book series, so the books I was stocking up on were the Aurora Teagarden series by Charlaine Harris, author of the True Blood books.

I’ve read other Harris series before (see here and here and here), and have considered her a favorite author of mine for a few years now.  The Aurora Teagarden Series is comprised of eight books: Real Murders, A Bone to Pick, Three Bedrooms One Corpse, The Julius House, Dead Over Heals, A Fool and His Money, Last Scene Alive, and Poppy Done to Death.  As the name of the series implies, the main character is Georgian librarian Aurora Teagarden who, like the rest of Harris’ heroines, seems to find herself at the centre of a murder plot at every turn.  As with the rest of Harris’ heroines, Aurora is independent, capable and very resourceful at handling the situations she finds herself in.  There is always a healthy dose of risk to Aurora, but through either her character-traits or a healthy dose of luck, everything seems to turn out right for her.

I have to say, this wasn’t my favourite series by Harris that I read.  I do believe that these are some of her earlier books, and that’s reflected a bit in some of the choppier passages, a lack of the humour that is seen in her other books, and in the more tentative attempts at character development that Harris makes.  While it’s interesting to be able to compare Harris’ more recent work to this series, I do have to say that I enjoyed the Harper Connoley, Lilly Bard and Sookie Stackhouse books way more that I do these ones.

What I will say about these books is that Harris shows how brilliant of an author she is, in that she leaves the door open for more Aurora Teagarden books in the future.  She slams no doors on the possibility, which is a brilliant move, financially speaking, and one she’s done with all her other series that I’ve read to date – it seems like it would always be possible for her to add to her runs with new books, should the fancy take her.

So, final verdict?  If you’re a die-hard Harris fan, then these books are for you.  If you’re just getting into Harris as an author, but don’t want to commit to the True Blood books (it’s by far her most famous and largest series), then I would suggest you try one of the other runs first.  While there are a lot of good points to these books, they almost read like examples of how Harris has refined her styles and abilities over the years; they’re good, Harris has written better.  However, having said that, these are still good books to spend time with if you’re look for a series to get into.

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