Friday, January 8, 2010

"Dead Until Dark" by Charlaine Harris

Summary: Sookie Stackhouse, a pert waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana, has a disability: she can read people's minds, which makes intimate relationships difficult.  When a vampire visits the bar where she works, she's immediately intrigued.  Although vampires have only recently "come out of the coffin" and are not welcomed by most humans, Sookie is attracted because she can't read the vampire's mind.  Sookie and the vampire, Bill, begin a relationship, and Sookie soon finds herself in danger from other vampires and from a mysterious murderer who has been killing young women in the area.

Musings: First of all, a huge thanks to Dominique at Coffee Stained Pages for hosting the contest from which I won this book!  I've heard about the series for awhile and had it recommended by some friends, but somehow I never got around to actually picking up one of the books (I think I'm always nervous about engrossing myself in a new long series). I was naturally thrilled the contest put the book right in my mailbox.

I found the book a lot of fun.  It does have a lot of content similarities to Twilight (though this book was published several years before, of course), but what sets it apart--positively--is its tone and peppy protagonist.  I liked Sookie from the beginning; she's aware of who she is and where she is in the world, but she's completely willing to stand up for herself and others, defying others' prejudices of what she can do.  She's endearingly concerned with manners and politeness, but this is no chaste novel.  Bill is a possessive vampire, but at least that protectiveness is identified for what it is rather than being presented as an indicator of the ultimate romantic relationship.  Similarly, while Sookie and Bill do fall in love, their love is not all-consuming.  Sookie has no desire to leave all that she is to be with Bill, and she lets him know that.

The book begins with Sookie rescuing Bill and ends with Sookie saving herself, which I loved.  And I also liked that this was truly an adult novel, with a protagonist and vampire more than willing to have a physical relationship--rather than just sigh over each other.

I think this series will be a nice treat for me that I'll savor over a period of time.


  1. I'll be interested to see what you think of the rest of the series - I liked the first couple of books, but after that it just fell off a bit for me. And most bloggers don't review a series past the first couple of books... but I'd love to hear/read your reaction. Happy reading!

  2. You're welcome, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I agree with the tone and protagonist differences to Twilight, I vastly prefer Sookie because I find her much more relatable for being independent and funny, while Bella can be pathetic and Twilight has a melodramatic tone.

    Celia, in my opinion the series improves as it goes along. I think I started to like it much more around book three or four (they've started to blend together for me a bit for me) onwards.

  3. It's interesting, because I have heard some people love the later parts of the series and others have thought them boring... guess I'll have to see myself. I know Sookie ends up with a variety of other people (namely Eric), so it'll be interesting to see how that affects my opinion. New romances keep it interesting, but it seems like it would also be strange to be loving someone new each time.

  4. I think what you think of the series as it goes along can depend on whether you like Bill or not, I don't really like him so to me it improved when his role diminished. Also I think it makes the books more about Sookie than some "epic" love story. I'll be interested to hear what you think if you keep reading them. :)