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Dead Until Dark: A Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mystery - Charlaine Harris

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Genre: Horror / Author: Charlaine Harris / Paperback / 336 Pages / Book is published 2004-03-04 by Orbit

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      27.09.2013 22:18
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      A great intro to paranormal

      This is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series that eventually become Trueblood that was made into a hugely popular TV series. The book is based around bar waitress Sookie Stackhouse who's parents died in a car crash when she was younger. She now lives with her grandmother .
      Sookie is telepathic (she can read people's thoughts ) it's not as cool as it sounds though as she can't switch it off and is constantly bombarded by people's thoughts good and bad which had made communicating with people difficult leading to most of the small town she lives in think that she is a bit crazy .

      In this series vampires are not a secret, they came out to the public a few years earlier after the invention of a synthetic blood that can sustain them do they no longer need to feed on humans, but as Sookie lives in a small town she has never met one. When Bill Compton moves into town and sits in her section in the bar she is intrigued by him not only because he is a vampire but because she can't hear his thoughts making him
      blissful to spend time with.

      Sookie and Bills relationship develops throughout the book as he tries to help her deal with her telepathy and treat it as a blessing instead of a disability as most people see it.

      This book mixes a lot of genres, paranormal , romance , action and murder , mystery and directive style which is great and will speak to a huge host of readers . The genres have been blended really well and seems natural.

      The characters are well thought out and decently complex. Sookie is a great leading lady as she is different abd feisty, strong and a little bit weird which I love. The character development is great so you get more attached to the characters as the book goes on, especially Sookie and Bill and Bubba who I will leave you to discover yourself.

      Overall this was a great opener to the series and I would recommend it for anyone who needs a gentle introduction to the supernatural world as well as those who are true fangbangers .

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      23.04.2013 21:34
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      The origins of True Blood.

      As may be recalled from my previous forays in to this wonderous place I am something of a prolific reader so I rarely seem to finish a book whilst I'm home anymore to review it before I start the next one (love the Kindle for that) but one of my Christmas pressies this year was a box set of the first ten of the Southern Vampire Mysteries, which since their original publication have become better known as the source material for HBO's True Blood TV shows. When I got the books I was rather excited as although I was aware that the TV series has some significant differences to the books I love the show - then again who wouldnt like to see such a large collection of attractive men semi naked frequently (I'm told the women aren't too hard on the eye either) so was curious to see just how different the literary version of Bon Temps is from the TV version.

      Dead Until Dark is book one of the series and much of season one of the show is based around its events.

      Sookie our heroine is a waitress and barmaid at her local bar Merlottes, she's a typical southern gal, blonde hair, slightly dodgy taste in clothing, comes across as a little dim though is at great pains to tells thoughout the book that her lack of conventional education is due to her having a somewhat unusual gift, she can read peoples minds. Personally I'm not sure as a mind reader I'd be working in a bar although from my own experiences in bar work there are times customers expect you to read their minds in order to take their orders so maybe not such a strange choice.

      Sookie is hard at work one evening when a man comes in to her work place whos mind is closed to her, she and her colleagues soon realise along with the other patrons of the bar that this man who introduces himself as Bill Compton is actually a Vampire. Formerly considered to be creatures on myth and legend the Vamps have only a few years previously "come out of the coffin" and in a coordinated annoucement revealed themselves to the world.

      The rest of the book charts Sookie's increasing involvement with the local Vampires, her developing personal relationship with Bill.

      My initial impressions were that the writing style was very juvenile, and it was only that the author throws in some rather explicit scenes which are definately not for the younger reader that I decided these are technically books for adults rather than being young adult fiction. I also found that even from an early stage in the book I wanted to give Sookie a slap and tell her to stop being so sorry for herself - everything seems to be an apology from her explainations of her lack of formal education to the constant use of words from her word of the day calendar wound up irritating me no end. Overall though the plot was good, it certainly kept me reading despite the annoyances, and I found that the differences between the book world and the TV show were a source of interest rather than annoyance, possibly due to my having been pre-warned.

      Overall I found that Dead Until Dark was a fairly quick read for me, and while of course it reminded me of the TV characters I was ready to pick up book 2 almost as soon as I had finished this one, and it's been a while since I was happy to do that with a series of books.

      My set of books came from the Book People for around £8, but the books can be purchased individually for anything from 1p (plus p&p) on amazon to full price of £6.99 in the likes of Waterstones.

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        10.01.2013 21:52
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        Vampires.... They really are Dead Until Dark!

        Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris

        A few years ago Vampires 'came out' to the world and proved that they really do exist among us and are not just a myth or legend as many people believed. Since their coming out vampires have slowly began to become more accepted as members of society, albeit dead members of society. A large part of this acceptance is due to the Japanese coming up with a product "True Blood" which is an artificial blood which enables vampires to live among humans, or as they call it 'mainstream' without needing to feel off or kill the humans.

        Sookie Stackhouse is your average young woman from a small town named Bon Temps in America. She lives with her beloved gran and works at the local bar, Merlottes, with a couple of her friends and her boss Sam. Sookie is regarded by the people of the town as being a little crazy or just generally freaky! The reason for these thoughts is that Sookie scares people, not deliberately of course, no, Sookie Stackhouse was born with an unusual gift, she is a telepath and can read minds. Most people would think this was a fantastic gift to have, but not Sookie, after a lifetime of being treated like a freak and people either not believing her gift or rather choosing not to believe her gift is real Sookie has learnt to keep quiet and try to put guards up as much as possible to shield her mind from the thoughts of others. As a direct result of her gift Sookie's relationships have suffered, in fact she has never had a boyfriend, not because she didn't want one but more because whenever she dated a guy she could read his mind and this created problems as she knew exactly what he was thinking about her and what he wanted to do, or in some cases not do.

        Following the Vampires' coming out Sookie has longed to meet a real vampire. In a small town like Bon Temps she feels this is highly unlikely until one late evening at work a new face appears in the bar, Sookie instantly recognises him as a vampire and heads straight over to take his order and fulfil her fantasy of meeting a real vampire. After the vampire leaves the bar Sookie notices a couple of humans follow him outside, fearing these humans are 'drainers', people who drain the vampires of the blood and sell it on the black market, Sookie takes it upon herself to rescue what she is now calling "her vampire". After an interesting fight scene we learn the vampire is named Bill, he has just moved to the area and wants to settle here and mainstream with the humans, while we are learning this Sookie learns that she cannot read the mind of this extremely handsome vampire and not only this but he is indebted to her for saving his life and he will be spending a lot more time with her.

        Within days of Bill arriving in Bon Temps strange occurrences start happening beginning with the disappearance and murder of one of Sookie's colleagues, Dawn. Dawn is found dead, she is the first and she certainly wont be the last and unfortunately the surface evidence is pointing to vampires as the culprits. Sookie and Bill find this hard to believe given the circumstances and together they begin Sookie's involvement in the supernatural world to help bring truth and a killer to justice be it vampire or human nobody knows. This of course involves many dangers for Sookie as she is no where near as strong as the vampires, she has Bill by her side but is this enough to protect her from the darkness which awaits them?


        My Thoughts
        Firstly I should point out that I have never watched the True Blood series, there is no particular reason for this, I just don't think it ever caught my attention which is surprising as I usually love anything to do with vampires, I was a big Buffy fan back in the day and although I wouldn't call myself a Twighlight fan it is bearable! After reading this and a few more of the True Blood books I am rather intrigued and may have to make some time to watch the series when I have finished all of the books.

        When I first began reading Dead Until Dark I was sitting on a tram and as a result of the tram being noisy I initially found it hard to concentrate on the book and really get into the story so to begin with I wasn't actually that keen, however the book remained in my bag and when I was due to fly home for Christmas I took it with me to read on the flight. This was perfect as the flight was quiet and I was able to really settle into the storyline. I began reading from the beginning again to make sure I understood what was happening and I found that I got that into the book so much that after 2 hours on the flight I was almost halfway through the book and eager to read more when I went to bed in the evening.

        It may be to do with the fact that I have never watched True Blood but I initially felt rather lost in the first chapter and I felt that reading it through twice had been necessary. I found the introductory paragraph and indeed most of the first chapter a little hard to get into but I found that by the end of the first chapter I had a book which was very hard to put down, I had a good understanding of the main characters who were featuring in this book and from here on it was pretty addictive reading and I needed to know what was happening next, so much so that I had finished the entire book over the following two evenings and found myself wishing I had brought the next one with me.

        I found Charlaine Harris's writing style a little different at times to some other books I have recently read, I think this is mainly because she uses American English and to be honest I don't think I would have noticed this normally but since I've been teaching English as a 2nd language I have had the differences between English English and American English highlighted to me on an almost daily basis and so therefore it really stands out to me now. In my opinion her writing style is still excellent, she has a fantastic way of describing a situation which enables you to picture it perfectly in your head and really get into the story. I am very interested to see if the images I have in my mind will be the same as the ones shown in the series.

        I love how the main character Sookie is portrayed and how the book is written from the perspective of Sookie, this draws you into the story and Sookie's personality much more. My particular favourite trait of Sookie is her toughness, the image you get of her is that she looks sweet and like she wouldn't hurt a fly but deep now she is one tough little cookie and when it comes to it she can really put up a fight and hold her own... well, almost! These are vampires and the supernatural world she is dealing with after all!

        I will definitely be recommending Dead Until Dark, from the books in the series I have read so far this isn't my favourite one, but it isn't my least favourite either. There are a couple of points in the book I could have quite happily skipped over and then a few which I would have liked to have read a lot more about.

        The books don't have any kind of age rating as far as I am aware and I think with the recent Twilight craze the idea of more vampire books may appeal to the younger generation, however I would say to be aware as there are some sex scenes within the book which are described in a decent amount of detail so I wouldn't go buying these for the younger end of the teens!


        Price & Availability
        I was lucky when I bought my copy of Dead Until Dark as I found the whole set of the True Blood books in my local charity shop in Sutton Coldfield during my trip home in August last year. Priced at 50p each they were an unmissable bargain as each book has an RRP of £6.99! Dead Until Dark is widely available on eBay from 99p plus postage and packaging. My copy of Dead Until Dark contains 326 pages.


        Thanks for reading :)

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          17.08.2012 12:38
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          Well written, great story, original ideas.

          Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in Bon Temps, where vampires, who have been 'out of the coffin' for 2 years now, but she never really stands out in the crowd. The problem for her is that everyone in a crowd stands out to her. She's a telepath.

          One night at work, she meets her first vampire. Bill Compton is different from any other man she's ever met. She can't hear a word coming from his mind, which is perfect for her.

          After her meeting with Bill, she sees him more and more as a man she appears to be falling for, while brutal murders happen to 'fang-bangers' - people who sleep with vampires. Bills seems to be the main suspect. Is the man Sookie loves keeping some dark, murderous secrets from her?


          As a fan of the show True Blood, I was very hesitant to get into the books at first. Usually the book and film or TV show do not match up at all, with the film or TV show being miles better. When the gap between seasons 4 and 5 got too much to bear, hopefully without sounding too sad, I couldn't help but let myself at the books.

          This book is the perfect start to the series, giving every chapter the tiniest details to make the picture in the reader's head extremely clear. I saw myself sitting in Merlotte's, watching Sookie and Bill meet for the first time.

          The story is in first person, from the perspective of Sookie Stackhouse herself. The reader feels, sees and hears what she does, which makes the story more intense as she develops as a character.

          The book, from start to finish, is beautifully written. The sex scenes, although quite graphic in parts, aren't there for shock value like other books. They're there to slot perfectly into the story and add more detail to the growing love between the main characters.

          If you're a fan of the show, reading this book is a must. You'll pick it up and not put it down until you've either developed eye problems or finished the last one.

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            03.01.2012 11:58

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            brilliant book

            I started reading this book around the same time as the tv series first aired, so it made for some interesting comparisons. I would say to anyone that has seen the tv series that the books are still worth reading - the storylines do differ somewhat.

            'Dead Until Dark,' is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. It is a about a telepathic waitress, Sookie, living in a small southern town in American. What interested me about this series was the idea that vampires had 'come out' in society. Although characters are aware that vampires exist, it is interesting to read how they react to one when they meet Bill, the first vampire in town.

            Sookie is drawn to Bill because he is the only person she has met whose mind she cannot read. While their relationship is starting, women in the town are found murdered with bite marks on their necks...

            Overall I think that this is a fantastic start to a series. I like the fact that there are supernatural elements other then vampires, which have yet to be acknowledged by their society. It leaves plently of ideas for the other books in the series and is a good introduction to the supernatural world surrounding Sookie Stackhouse.

            I have read 10 of the books to date and although I like the characters in this first book, I would have to say that by book 10 Sookie does start to irritate me slightly! I have also read the Twlight series and although I really liked both, I prefer this series. I connected with it easier, possibly because Twilight centers around teenagers.

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            21.06.2011 12:07
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            A great start to the series - suitable for older teens and adults

            Synopsis:
            It is fair to say that Sookie Stackhouse hasn't had the best life to date - living with her grandmother, Adele, after losing her parents, and having a distinct gift - telepathy. With 19 deaths in this first book alone, you would be forgiven for saying that it is a very dark novel, full of vampires and danger and many many murders - but who is the culprit?

            Thoughts / Opinions:
            After True Blood was made into a TV series, I thought I would see what the books were like - I was severely disappointed. Whilst the characters are loveable and the plot is gripping, the writing style was not particularly amazing, but it was partially saved by the dark and exhilarating nature of the story. It combines humour with a serious undertone - it combines love with hatred - it combines reality with fantasy. Though, what most irritated me about the book is Sookie herself - the telepathic narrator. Whilst it may be that many people like her, I found that I just couldn't connect with her, maybe it was due to her inability to truly excuse anything other than by blaming her psychic skills! She may be the genre's typical female in that she doesn't see danger until it's right in front of her, but she is a character that truly grates on me.

            However, at the end of the day, it addresses an issue that is often cast aside - prejudice and discrimination. It explores the sensitive side of social prejudices in a light way; it is said that any gothic like text distances the reader from their own world, enabling them to analyse it without being involved, and this is particularly true for this novel. Harris uses the supernatural to force the reader to recognise the upset within our own society - it still has the sensitive touch needed to address this, but does so in a way that is shocking to the reader.

            Though, there is one last thing that must be addressed with regards to this novel - the sex scenes. Yes, it explores love and yes, it seems to be an older Twilight, (and I'm not the sort of person to squirm away) but Harris' portrayal within this book is just dreary. She may be acclaimed for being good at writing the subtle sex scene, but when the rest of the novel holds nothing back, it becomes a bit bland, to be honest. Whilst you are involved in the novel, I was left pondering and wanting more - to actually feel as if I was part of the novel, if that makes sense. In short, to me, it was just a grown up version of Twilight, with darker elements, but still simple and left more questions than were answered.

            Author:
            Charlaine Harris is a key writer in American mystery fiction and a NY Times bestseller. She has written a wide range of series, which is perhaps why this book is so strong in that department, gaining her international acclaim throughout the Western world.

            Sequel:
            Dead Until Dark is the first of the 'Sookie Stackhouse Novels' series, the series behind the TV programme True Blood. The questions that are left open at the end of the novel are significant bait to read the rest of the series to understand the full extent of this supernatural world, from vampires to witches, to werewolves - this is a series that I will continue to read at some point.

            Recommendations:
            Whilst I did have some problems with this book, I have to say that it is what it says. It would be ideal for the older teenager who wants to get away from the tame Twilight series, or anyone who is interested in this genre.

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            07.02.2011 02:36
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            Overall a good easy read to keep you captivated for an hour or two

            I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels unfortunately, after watching S1 and S2 of True Blood but now i'm on book 4 and its amazing, i love her style of writing such an enthralling, imaginative yet simple read. Relatable characters and believable story lines, (if we lived in a world of vampires roaming the streets at night) ha ha. I probably would have much rather read it before as thats what i usually like to do. Alan Ball's adaptation of the novels is brilliant though, which is pretty obvious coming from the make of American Beauty and Six Feet Under. A bit sexual at parts but hey, I don't mind. I just love the descriptive way she uses words and how much my mind imagines the setting and surroundings. Overall I would say it's a very good read for anyone who likes a good bit of love, action, supernaturalness. Its different and thats what i like about it really. Well as i said i'm on book 4 now so I'm gonna get back to reading it : )

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              07.11.2010 18:18
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              A great read, definately recommended to vampire fans!

              My younger sister has recently developed a love for vampire novels, since reading the Twilight saga, so when I read about Dead Until Dark I had to order it for her for Christmas. However, I got very bored at work on the day that the book arrived and decided to start reading.


              **The Story**

              Dead Until Dark follows Sookie Stackhouse, a small town waitress who has a unique gift, she can read other people's minds.

              The world has changed drastically and vampires are now accepted in society and can live among humans, due to the developement of synthetic blood by the Japanese which means vampires no longer have to feed on humans.

              When a vampire comes into the bar that Sookie works in one night, her life changes dramatically. Bill, the vampire, instantly attracts Sookie's attention, when she reads the thoughts of someone he is talking to in the bar and realises he is in danger, she sets to save him. This brings the two together and aids them in developing an amazing relationship.

              As everyone begins to accept Bill into their community, the police begin to come accross a series of murders and people begin to doubt Bill's innocence.

              Is Bill killing the young women of Bon Temps or is someone trying to set him up?


              **Overall**

              I am very happy that I picked this book up, I thoroughly enjoyed it and devoured it in one sitting!

              The story does remind me a lot of Twilight, I don't want to say how as this will give some of the story away but if you read it you will see what I mean. Whilst reading, I was thinking that maybe Harris had taken her ideas from the Twilight saga, however, after a little investigation, I found that this book was released years before Twilight. This did upset me a little as I feel Twilight has received way too much attention in comparison to this novel, despite this being better and having the ideas first. But what can you do?

              Mentioning Twilight again (this is the last time, I promise), I find I get bored reading it as it is just the basic love story, with a little action in the background. Dead Until Dark was the opposite, with a huge murder investigation going on and then a love story building up throughout. I think I found this book so interesting as it kept me gripped and held my attention, plus the characters don't seem as pathetic as Twilight (I'm done with the Twilight now!).

              I would definately, 100%, recommend this book to anyone who loves a good vampire story, it is very easy to follow but keeps you gripped.

              The novels have now been made into the True Blood TV series, I have never seen any of these so cannot compare them but I may have to invest in the first season.

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                20.05.2010 22:05
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                If you arelooking for a fun vampire book then definately give this a try

                Dead until dark by Charlaine Harris is book one in the Sookie Stackhouse Southern vampire series about a telepathic waitress in a world where vampires are real. Now if this sounds all too fantastic for you then please give it a try as you may be pleasantly surprised and now with the TV show that is based on the books True Blood being a massive hit the books are available to buy almost everywhere.

                The book starts off by introducing us to Sookie Stackhouse a waitress in the town of Bontemps in southern Lousianna. Sookie is a telepath who likes to try and live a quiet life. Thanks to her "problem" dating and socialising are a problem for her due to always knowing what people are thinking.
                In Charline's world vampires are real and have come out of the coffin so to speak on television a few years previously thanks to the invention of a Japanese synthetic blood they no longer need to feed on humans. One night while Sookie is working a vampire comes in and the attraction between the pair is instantaneous. The vampire is named Bill and when sookie saves him when he is attacked by some humans they begin to date.

                Now Charlaine Harris is primarily a mystery writer so of course the Sookie Stackhouse books are no different. There is a murderer in Bontemps killing off women who have had relationships with vampires and with Sookie's new relationship with bill it looks like she could be next on his list.

                The pure joy of this book is in the characters, the book has all the usual southern redneck characters but it also has so many non typical ones also such as the gay black cook and of course Sookie herself who is wonderful to get to know. When you hear the book is about a telepathic waitress who is dating a vampire you immediately get an impression of a really corny book and the original cover didn't help matters but thanks to Charlaine Harris and her writing skills she really manages to elevate it above the usual urban fantasy novel.

                There are a few problems with the book such as Sookie being a telepath who we are constantly being told that she is always accidently hearing other peoples thoughts but manages to go the whole book without hearing the murderer who is someone close to her. I found this really annoying but it's a small thing when the rest of the book is so wonderful. If you are a fan of the television series then the book follows the plot of the TV show but there are a few differences with the characters such as Lafyette and Tara being much more prominent in the TV show.

                A definite must read for fans of urban fantasy and anyone looking for a fun read.

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                  19.05.2010 11:56
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                  If you need a new set of books to get your teeth into (!) this summer, these are a fantastic option!

                  Having read all of the Twilight books and adored them earlier this year, I was absolutely pining for more of the same and my husband very thoughtfully bought me this, the first book from the Sookie Stackhouse series of 'Southern Vampire' novels by Charlaine Harris.

                  These are the books that the HBO series True Blood is based on (although I have not actually watched these yet, wanting to read the books first). They are called the 'Southern' vampire novels as they are all based around the southern states of Louisiana, Texas and the like.

                  I was not sure what to expect on beginning this book and for the first half I did sort of struggle to stop comparing it to the Twlight books because it is SO very different and I had to adjust to Harris' style of writing which is so much more aimed at adults than Stephanie Meyer's.

                  The vampires in this novel are also very different to the Twilight version. For a start, in Harris' books the vampires have 'come out of the coffin' so to speak and been given some kind of legal status now that they can feed sufficiently on synthetic blood, created by the Japanese (the 'True Blood' is a brand of this, hence the title of the series).

                  Plot
                  ====
                  In this first novel, we are introduced to the lead character of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress in downtown Bon Temps, Louisiana. She has a fascination with vampires, now they have admitted to existing and is itching to meet one. Then one night Bill Compton walks into the bar and she realises he is just that.

                  The story follows the blossoming relationship between Sookie and Bill and the potential problems of dating such a creature, not only in a logical sense (seeing as he only comes out at night) but considering the reactions of people she knows and loves, some of whom are highly negative about the presence of vampires in society at all.

                  As Sookie begins to spend time in the world of vampires, with Bill, she becomes entangled with some of the murkier areas of their world and sees first hand the danger that they can represent and also the danger they face from humans.

                  As the story progresses a seriel murderer is on the loose within the town and Sookie and Bill resort to finding the real murderer in an attempt to get the suspicion away from Bill.

                  Characters
                  ========
                  Sookie is portrayed very much as a southern belle type of character, a blonde waitress who may not have done the best at high school but is somewhat worldly wise, thanks to the school of real life. She comes across as fairly sweet on the surface but thanks to her 'gift' she is a very interesting and much deeper character than you would think.

                  I really like the way Harris has portrayed Sookie to actually be far more capable, clever and self aware than she lets on and this becomes clearer as the book goes on. She is not as two dimensional as she first appears.

                  Bill Compton, as the vampire who changes Sookie's life is every bit as dark and brooding as the Twilight crew, however, he also has a thirst for Sookie's body which they never show. The eroticism between the two is quite steamy and actually, as an adult reader it is not out of place or unjustified, it seems right for the characters.

                  Most of the action in this initial book revolves around these two characters, but we are introduced to some who you can just tell are in it for the long run with these books, these include Bill's peer (and future boss) Eric, a much older and far more wily and sinister vampire who takes an instant shine to Sookie.

                  Also Sookie's boss Sam, who runs the bar she works in, is fairly constant throughout and by the end we learn something very interesting about him which would suggest he will certainly be present in the rest of the series (not wishing to give away too much!).


                  The Good
                  =======

                  The suspense of the story is great, once I was hooked in I absolutely enjoyed it and couldnt put it down. Harris very much has her own distinctive style and this is a plus, there is virtually nothing at all here which reminds you of Twilight (except the subject matter of course) and that means you can appreciate them for what they are as a completely different series.

                  The characters took some warming to for me but now i'm into it I really like Sookie and once I realised she was not going to be some irritating airhead waitress I liked her even more.

                  Well written, dark, racy and very enjoyable, I am so glad that there are currently 10 books in this series, I have so many more to look forward to!


                  The Bad
                  =======

                  Like I said, picking these books up straight after Twilight I was really desperate to get more of the same - and you absolutely dont here. These books need to be appreciated on their own merit and away from the whole Twilight saga and actually they deserve it. I struggled a little to get into this first book - but do perservere, it is well worth it.

                  Overall
                  ======

                  A great set of books, regardless of whether you have or have not read the Twilight books. If you like vampires, want some adult, thriller stories and great characters then these books are definitely for you. The only thing I would caution about is if you have watched the series first as I believe it to be somewhat different to the books.

                  A very good read. Individually the novels can be picked up for around £3.50-5 new on Amazon or they do offer a complete box set, currently priced at £20.

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                    16.04.2010 14:26
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                    a vampire novel!

                    I got this book out of curiosity, I had heard so many people saying it's a good book and a great TV Series that I couldn't refuse when I realised I could borrow the book, and even if it were not my kind of book, I was only borrowing it, so it's not as if I would have wasted my money at all. But as you can tell my rating shows that I fully enjoyed it!

                    Charlaine Harris, I was reading the author's name when I got this book and I knew I had heard of the name before, so I flipped back to previous reviews to see if I truly had read any of her books, I didn't find any, but then it struck me, I read a story in an anthology from her, but I don't remember a thing from that story, so I really couldn't comment on her writing skills, however, I truly believe she has a brilliant knack of writing, as this book fully gripped me and I couldn't believe how intense it really was! I also realised that I have this book plus many of her other books on my wish list, and I'm glad they are up there as I'm gagging to read another book from her.

                    Sookie Stackhouse is our main character; she is a cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. And then all of a sudden her dream boyfriend appears in town, only problem is, is that he is a vampire, but that doesn't bother Sookie one bit.

                    Until one of her co workers ends up dead and suspicion starts flying around the small town. Maybe being a vampire's girlfriend is not such a great thing.

                    This book reminds me a bit of the Point Horror books, as you get to try and guess (yes it's a guess and definitely not an estimation) who the killer is. So I presume this book opens your mind a bit, and make you believe that everyone is capable of anything, in theory. But this book is pure escapist entertainment, which what makes this book so good, with no hidden meaning, which is pretty impossible within this book.

                    In case you haven't already guessed, this book could be put under the horror genre, except, I wouldn't, personally put it in there, I really don't think it belongs in there, as it is a subtle horror novel so I would personally put it under the supernatural genre, as there is a lot of books that is being released nowadays, where this genre is getting bigger and bigger by the minute.

                    As I have mentioned before, this book is easily compared to certain books, such as the point horror novels, however I also know that many people will find a few others to compare it to, and these novels are books such as the Twilight novels, the Anita Blake series, the Vampire diaries, and a few others, because they all contain vampires. Though to be totally honest, vampires are in at the moment and everywhere you look, in a book stall, you'll find a vampire story, and I very much doubt it, if you walk in a book stall such as Waterstones and find no vampire books what so ever, it's just not possible. So in theory, you could even have it under a vampire genre, however, in doing this people will be stuck for choice, or maybe the books may be sold out as they are all similar.

                    I truly loved this book, as you can tell by my rating. And I found it inevitably gripping; I really couldn't stop reading the book! I also believe that this book is for anyone, I'm a "young adult" according to the children section in Waterstones, and I fully loved this, however it is classed in the adult fiction and I can understand why, some bits are over the top and a little too sexual. I wouldn't like to tell you that children shouldn't read it, as it is really a parent's decision, but if you are trying to decide and are unsure I totally recommend that you should read it first, and then decide if you want to let your child or children read this.

                    I would say there are no bad points, however, if I did say this I'll be stretching the truth as I believe that the sexual scenes are a bit over the top, and could really have been missed out, but then again that is why this book is in the adult section. I really do think that this is the only disadvantage I can find in this book.

                    This book was really interesting and not boring at all, I was fully gripped, straight from the start. And as you probably can guess, it is easy to get into and a really great read. But what did I think about the ending? Well it was intensifyingly gripping and I couldn't read quick enough, I was fully absorbed and I loved the ending just as much as the other parts of the book. If given the chance, I would definitely re-read this book, however I have way too many books in my to be read list, that they are all over the place, and I very much doubt I will have a chance at reading this a second time, however I do have the sequel, somewhere in my to be read list, (I think it is near the bottom) but I know it will refresh my memory of this book and so in theory I would be re-reading it to an extent!

                    If you like Vampire novels, or are trying to find a book to read that is just as good as the twilight novels, I totally recommend this book, but then I would wouldn't I? Okay, if you look over all my other reviews, I have said something similar, but this one I'm truly recommending this to you!

                    So a question that I bet you want to know the answer to and that is: What do I think of the TV Series? Well this question is impossible for me to answer. Thanks to this TV Series, it put me off from wanting to read this. My friends were saying that the books are amazing and I was ready to read this book, but then the trailer for the TV Series appeared and I gave the book back to my friend as the trailers looked really rubbish and if the book was similar then it was definitely not the type of book I wanted to read. Eventually my friend twisted my hand and I ended up reading it. I have to admit that if I'm ever going to watch the series, then I'm going to have to read all the books and then maybe my friends will have to twist my hand again, but I'm not going to watch the series until I have definitely finished all the books.

                    For people who want to get this now you can go out and buy it in book stalls, obviously, but for people who are too lazy, here are the best places to buy online:
                    This is according to "www.find-book.co.uk" on 16 April 2010:
                    RRP: £6.99
                    The Book Depository: £3.49
                    Amazon UK: £3.50
                    Tesco: £3.50
                    AbeBooks: £4.84
                    Play.com: £4.99
                    The Hut: £5.00
                    Woolworths: £5.00
                    LoveFilm: £5.00
                    Asda: £5.00
                    Zavvi: £5.00
                    Sendit: £5.00
                    Chipsworld: £5.10
                    Base.com: £5.22
                    Waterstones: £5.68
                    WH Smith: £5.88
                    HMV: £6.00
                    Amazon Market Place New: £2.76
                    Amazon Market Place Used: £2.76

                    This shows that places online are usually cheaper than searching all over town or your nearest shopping centre!

                    I hope I have interested you into wanting this book, and I hope I will get to rate some of your reviews on this book, thank you for reading, and thank you for rating.

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                      21.02.2010 18:20
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                      A great introduction into the "True Blood" series

                      After watching the first series of True Blood on TV, I couldn't wait to read this book. I was absolutely obsessed with the TV show and was very suprised to find big differences in the book. Some of the main characters of the TV show were not in the book but that didn't take away any of the enjoyment. I really love Sookie's character and Charleine Harris has a way of writing that makes you feel as if you know the characters. The book gives you much more of an insight into what the characters are thinking and feeling which I feel adds to the whole experience. I did miss being able to see the way that Bill looks at Sookie though. It only took me 2 days to read this book and I wasn't reading no stop. It really grabbed me and I did find it hard to put it down. I bought my copy on sale for about £4 in Asda and I can't wait to read the rest of the series!!

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                      16.02.2010 22:04
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                      I'd watch the series, but I'd skip the books!

                      I apologise firstly for those of you who really are sick and tired of seeing these vampire-esque book reviews of late, I have contributed my two pennies worth to this genre and I'm afraid I'm just not done yet. It is definitely something that still piques my interest and although not as "fresh" and new as it once was a couple of years ago, it still is a popular genre with plenty of authors jumping on the band wagon - some good, and some bad which I've already discovered!

                      =*= Charlaine Harris and "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" =*=

                      In 2001, author Charlaine Harris created this book, "Dead Until Dark" the first in a series following a telepathic waitress called Sookie Stackhouse who encounters vampires (as well as many other supernatural beings!). So rather than "jumping on the band wagon" as I've put it previously, Harris has been doing these sort of things for years and is no copy-cat.

                      I'm not sure what came first; the phenomenon that was "Twilight" or the fact that this book was picked up by "Six Feet Under" creator and made into its own television series for HBO which has now become successful world wide. In my case, I'd seen these books in bookstores probably as a result of the US success and riding on the wave of Twilight but was not aware of the series itself. Coming across a review of the television series led me to record all of the first series of "True Blood" (the name of the television series of the book) and become completely and utterly hooked! Once I'd finished the TV series it was inevitable that I would then go on to read the books...

                      =*= Quick Peek of the Book contents =*=

                      Sookie Stackhouse, as I have briefly mentioned, is a telepathic waitress living in a Bon Temps, a town in the deep south of America. Her special skill (or disability as she refers to it in the book!) is enough to create an interesting character, but added to that is the fact that Vampires have just become "legal" and have "outed" themselves in modern society due to the creation by the Japanese of a synthetic blood - meaning that Vampires no longer need to feed/kill/change humans to get their fix.
                      Sookie herself is very keen to meet one of these vampires and one day Bill walks into her bar. Dangerous but excited, Sookie kind of senses a kindred spirit - but is she safer with Bill or is she in danger? As people around her are being killed, most of the town blame the vampires who are, after all, inherently evil. Sookie needs to make up her mind which side she is on...

                      =*= Television Series vs. the books =*=

                      It is very unlike me to read the books AFTER I'd watched the television series, I'd specifically Sky + all the series so that I could watch it after I'd read the books but I found I couldn't resist. I think it would be impossible to do this review without comparing the two and I have found that the television series really influenced my reading of this book in a way I have never experienced before.

                      If anyone has read a book after watching a series or film, you will already know how difficult it is to conjure up your own image of the characters portrayed in the book. From the outset, I pictured Sookie as she is portrayed by the actress Ann Paquin, blonde, attractive, quirky and very southern. Likewise, Sookie's brother Jason, Sookie's friend and colleague Arlene, and chef Lafayette Reynolds are easy to picture as their TV portrayals - I found that their television portrayals lived true to the characters created in the book.

                      The struggles that I had at first was the characters of Bill Compton, the vampire, and Sookie's boss and admirer, Sam. I had them pictured in my mind, but their descriptions didn't match what I'd thought they would be; and I couldn't help but be disappointed. Bills character in the show seems older and much more worldly wise whereas in the book he is depicted as a man who only lived to the age of 30 in human years and to me, that was harder to take in. (in fact, Stephen Moyer who portrays Bill in the tv series is 40 years old, so I am sure you can appreciate my confusion and disbelief!)



                      =*= Writing Style... =*=

                      Enough of the comparisons, back to the book itself! From the sophisticated and almost saucy turn that the series takes, I was half expecting the same amount of sauciness, or at least adult sophistication in the book, and I felt that this fell a bit short of my expectations.

                      The writing to me at times fell on the side of teen fiction in much the same way as "Twilight" did. Sookie is rather sweet and innocent, and I her sweet southern persona at times tends to "dumb" down the writing - sophisticated writing it is not! However, that doesn't mean to say it was enjoyable. There does at times seem to be a surprising mix in this book of almost teen properness and saucy moments - the series shows some extremely explicit moments, and the book (perhaps to show that it IS in fact an adult book!) also describes some fairly raunchy moments.
                      I have to say these more sensual and grown up moments I the book lend it a sense of realism that the Twilight series didn't have - vampires throughout history although supposedly scary, are also supposed to be highly sensual and sexual creatures - if you have read Twilight you will realise that Edward is FAR from sexual! Good looking, caring and a teen heart throb maybe but that is as far as it goes! Bill and co. however definitely live up to the sexy side of darkness which makes it a much more interesting read and definitely stamps this book out as an adult book.

                      =*= Back to the comparisons I'm afraid....=*=

                      As much as I'm trying to veer away from the TV series, I'm finding that they really are entwined in my opinions, and I'll say right now that, in my opinion, the TV series is the stand out of the two. Whether I would have thought that if I had read the books first is another matter, but something tells me I would have. As much as the TV series does follow the basic story set out in the books, there Is just so much more substance to the TV series than there is in the books. There are other characters in the TV series which I find just as interesting as Sookie and Bill but who do not appear as frequently or at all in the books. For instance, Jason Stackhouse (Sookie's womanising brother) has a bigger role in the TV series and has his own story which entwines nicely with the main story, whereas in the books he barely appears at all. Another character I adore in the series, Sookies childhood friend Tara Thornton doesn't even exist in the books which was a huge disappointment to me!

                      Overall, I did enjoy reading this, only to refresh my memory of certain parts of the series which finished weeks ago! As the books go, it isn't the best books I've seen in this genre, but I can imagine when first released it was quite an exciting book to read. As it stands now, I can only compare to the television series, where there were some exciting, scary moments in the book, they were overshadowed by even more exciting moments in the TV series. Where there were some romantic and sexy moments that made the book more special, these were far out done in the TV series. This is a very strange experience for me, I am the type of girl that feels that characters, places etc come alive in books and create the best atmosphere that far outreaches anything that TV or even films can do. However, this time I the opposite is true, the series is just amazing...but I am on the verge of giving you a review of the series so I'll stop there!

                      I already have the next book in the series which I received before I'd even started this. I think if I had read this before, I would never have bought the second in the series. As it stands, I'm going to wait to watch the show before I read the book as for once, bizarrely enough, I don't want the book to reveal anything that would spoil the show! Now there is something different!

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                        27.01.2010 18:26
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                        I'm still stood firmly on the Twilight side!

                        Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in the small town of Louisiana, has the gift of being able to read people's minds. But when the very handsome Bill walks into her bar for the first time and she can't hear a word that he's thinking, Sookie immediately takes a liking to him, if only for the silence that she would have from his company. But Bill has a gift of his own - a deadly gift that means he can only come out at night and blood is the only type of food he enjoys. But being a vampire doesn't get in the way of Sookie and Bill's relationship, nor do the judging eyes of her friends and family. But when local girls start to be killed and they all seem to have vampire teeth marks on their necks, suspicion lands on the only vampire around, and it looks like Sookie may be the next target.

                        ~ My opinion ~
                        I never used to be into any kind of vampire type fantasy books but after loving the Twilight series I thought I would give this series a go. I'd seen parts of the True Blood series on TV which looked interesting and my cousin loves the books so I was hopeful that they were going to be good.

                        This series does differ from Twilight in that vampires are known about by humans and they can be seen at night doing what any normal human being does - having a drink in a bar, chatting with friends, or even nightclubbing. The vampires aren't a huge threat to the humans as they can buy their favourite type of blood in bars, and so they sort of live harmoniously with each other even though they don't really interact with each other much.

                        The part that is the same as in Twilight is where a human girl, Sookie, falls in love with a vampire, Bill. Although in this the couple's bond didn't seem to be anywhere near as strong as Edward's and Bella's and I didn't find myself hoping that their relationship would last or caring about what happened to either one of them to be quite honest. I didn't find that I particularly empathised with any of the characters in the book. It's written in first person from the viewpoint of Sookie, so I felt that I should be feeling warm towards her or at least something towards her, but I didn't.

                        There were a lot of things in this book which made me roll my eyes that I thought were just plain stupid. There are a lot of clichés about the ways that vampires live and it seemed that most of the ridiculous ones were apparent in this book such as vampires sleeping buried under the ground during the day and the fact that they can fly. It all seemed very unrealistic and sometimes so silly, whereas I felt that Stephenie Meyer wrote the Twilight series in a way that made me think that it could actually be real.

                        Despite my negative comments, the book was still a very enjoyable one to read and I'm sure I'll read the other books in the series at some point. I now wish that I'd have watched the TV series so I'm definitely going to be looking out for when it comes around again.

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                          25.01.2010 15:52
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                          Thrilling, lighthearted page turner.

                          Sookie Stackhouse hasn't had an easy life. Her parents died in a freak accident when she was very young, and everyone in the Louisiana town of Bon Temps thinks she's crazy. Little do they know she possesses a very special gift.

                          Sookie can read minds.

                          Working as a waitress in Bon Temp's one and only bar, Sookie has to work hard to keep the sometimes filthy thoughts of her customers out of her head. This has lead to her having a somewhat curtailed social life.

                          This all changes however when one night, a vampire walks into her bar. The first that Bon Temps has ever seen in the year or so since vampires "came out of the coffin". When Sookie takes him a glass of red wine she discovers that instead of the usual chatter coming from someones head, there is nothing... silence.

                          This intoxicating fact leads Sookie down a dangerous and thrilling path filled with vampires, supernatural beings and plain old southern drama. With murders to solve and a blossoming love life to handle, Sookie is very busy with her new vampiric friends, meaning the book is both exciting and a great page turner. You find yourself quickly "sucked" into the lives and heads of the characters, and if you're anything like me, you will end up buying the whole series and reading the entire thing in a couple weeks!

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