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Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris Book Review | SFReader.com
Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris Genre: Vampire Publisher: ACE TRADE Published: 2010 Review Posted: 10/13/2013 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris
Book Review by Joshua Palmatier
Have you read this book?
First off, I have not seen "True Blood" so I read this without any
possible coloration from having viewed that first.
As everyone probably already knows, this is the first book in the Sookie
Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. The basic premise is that vampires
have been legally recognized and so are now part of the world. Sookie, a
waitress in the small town of Bon Temps, has been desperate to see one, so when
one shows up in her town, she's instantly drawn to him, mostly out of
curiosity. But when young women--all with jobs like Sookie's, and all who
associate with vampires--begin turning up strangled to death, suspicions turn
on this new vampire, who Sookie has now befriended. The rest of the book
revolves around Sookie finding out more about the vampire world while
attempting to figure out who is killing these young women, since she is
obviously a potential target.
I can see why this book became so popular. It was one of the first forays into
the field of urban fantasy, and it definitely has an interesting set-up and
flavor. In fact, I generally don't like urban fantasy novels as they are
written now, but I certainly enjoyed this book.
It wasn't until chapter 2 when the book really took off for me though, when the
other vampires were introduced. The first chapter felt like a regular old
mystery novel with a vampire thrown in (not surprising since Charlaine Harris
was more known for mysteries before this book was published), but when the additional
vampires were introduced the book shifted from being a standard mystery to
something very different. It introduced a darker element to the novel, one of
violence and sex that wasn't present even with the first strangulation
appearing in chapter 1. From that point on, the tone of the book changed and
became darker and more sexual than I expected from that first chapter.
That said, I did have some issues with Sookie as a character. Occasionally, her
emotional reactions to me didn't ring true. In some situations, she'd react far
too strongly to something that, in comparison with some of the other stuff
going on, was just over the top. And then when something truly bizarre
happened, something totally outside of Sookie's experience up to that point,
she wouldn't react much at all, just take it in stride. So the emotional
balance threw me off a few times. Much of this imbalance came about when she
was dealing with Bill, the main vampire, and their burgeoning relationship.
Some of the "drama" in that relationship just felt forced.
In terms of the mystery . . . well that almost felt tacked on. The main focus
for most of the book in Sookie and Bill, with the deaths and whodunit left off
to the side. The ending was thus a little bizarre because so much time was spent
on getting to know Bill, but he ends up not even being there when everything
hits the fan. But the mystery isn't why the book is interesting and
So, a good read, with an interesting set-up and an interesting world to
explore. I'll probably go on and read the next few to see what happens, and I
can certainly see why this caught the attention of readers when it first hit
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