Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review: Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampires) - Book1) by Charlaine Harris

Publication Date: May 200l
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Paranormal/Vampires
ISBN-13: 9780441008537

(E-book from the Library)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Books-A-Million, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library

Charlaine Harris on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Excerpt from Dead Until Dark
Trailer: This is from the HBO original series True Blood based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels.

Synopsis (Google):

Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana, but she keeps to herself and doesn't date much because of her "disability" to read minds. When she meets Bill, Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's the type of guy she's waited for all her life, but he has a disability, too - he's a vampire with a bad reputation. When one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears shes next. Sookie Stackhouse is just a cocktail waitress in small-town Lousiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life - and one of her coworkers checks out. Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea. A new vampire mystery, in the vein of a lighter and more romantic Laurell Hamilton.


Charlaine Harris has created one of the most popular vampire series out there. Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire boyfriend took the world by storm and by the imagination. With the HBO original television series, True Blood based on these books, Harris was catapulted into even bigger fame. All lot has been said about the series, a lot has been written about it and many people have strong opinions about it. One thing is for sure, it gave paranormal writing a huge boost along with other paranormal vampire stories, like the Twilight Saga and Laurell K. Hamilton's books.

Sookie Stackhouse is a young girl who isn't like everyone else. She has the uncanny gift of being able to read peoples minds. But, Sookie doesn't see it as a gift it's more of a problem which makes people a little uncomfortable around her. "Don't mind Sookie, she's crazy!" They aren't sure quite what to make of her, which makes having a boyfriend a challenge. When Bill walks into Merlotte's bar where Sookie works, he changes everything. The very first vampire in Bon Temp, Lousiana. The vampires have come "out of the closet" since they are able to obtain synthetic blood to feed on and that has led to some very strange goings on, including murder. When two women end up dead, and some blame Sookie's vampire friend Bill, she decides to do a little snooping of her own. She gets a lot more than she bargains for.

I had heard all the hype about the True Blood TV show and the Sookie Stackhouse books for a long time, so I finally decided to try the series for myself. Sometimes I like the books that get all the hype, like Twilight and sometimes I don't, but I started reading the book with an open mind and I liked it, though it didn't stand out to me as much as some vampire books I have read of late. Perhaps I am bit jaded because I recently read Dark Lover by J.R. Ward and fell in love with her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Dead Until Dark didn't have quite the same impact on me, but there were things that I really liked about it as well and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Sookie is a great character. She's charismatic and takes her "disability" in stride. She loves her grandmother and is loyal to her boss and her brother. But, like a lot of people she is just too curious for her own good. She was curious about vampires and enthralled when she met Bill. She was curious about what the Rattray's were up to and she ended up saving Bill from being drained, but brought a lot of trouble her way. She was curious about the murders and got herself into hot water with a very old and powerful vampire. Curiosity didn't kill the cat, but it wasn't for lack of trying. I loved her spunk and her sensuality. Her relationship with Bill was interesting and a little scary.

Bill seems to be a somewhat honorable vampire, though we can tell from the company he keeps that, that probably hasn't always been the case. I found it interesting that he was returning to an old family home place of sorts. He seems to have a very clear sense of the past and his role in it. I thought the way he talked to the Historical Society was poignant and his stories seemed believable from a paranormal standpoint. The scene where Sookie goes into the graveyard and he comes up out of the grave was definitely a little chilling. It reiterated the fact that he was essentially dead. But he still made a great dark hero.

Sam is an interesting character indeed. When he starts to let Sookie in a little bit she is really engaged and shares a moment with him, but then he slams the door on her and I think at that point she knew something was different about him. He was a lot more than he seemed and his feelings for Sookie seemed very real. I almost wished he mentioned that he cared about her before it was too late. I'm really interested to see how their relationship will develop in later books.

I enjoyed the book a lot,it just didn't pack the punch that Dark Lover did. The writing was excellent and I really got into the whole vibe that Charlaine Harris was giving off with this book. The sense of urgency was really there, and the plot was very well done. I'm not really sure what was different about it... it was a bit lighter, but I don't think that was it. I may figure it out when I get the chance to read the next one... LOL!

I recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a good paranormal vampire story. There are some other supernatural abilities, like Sookie's mind reading and a little shape-shifting thrown in for good measure. I think it will appeal to a lot of readers and it is obvious that it has because of the huge amount of hype associated with it.

Dead Until Dark is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!