Newest Review: ... 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... more
What, or rather Who, is Dead Until Dark? .... Vampires!
Dead Until Dark: A Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mystery - Charlaine Harris
Member Name: loulou22
Dead Until Dark: A Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mystery - Charlaine Harris
Advantages: Vampires! Addictive reading.
Disadvantages: Took a while to get into.
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?
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 :)
Summary: Vampires.... They really are Dead Until Dark!