Monday, 13 December 2010

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Confession: I can be a terrible book snob.  I worked in a bookshop at the time when the tragic lives genre was massive and I became judgemental against it.  I thought it was faddy, largely poorly written and I would sometimes totally judge people for buying it.  My feelings are the same for the paranormal romance genre (it never used to have a section in my book shop!) and any other faddish/trendy genres.

And then I watched True Blood with my fiance and loved it.  After making some noises about how much I enjoyed it, I came home one day to a complete boxed set of Sookie Stackhouse novels.  So I decided to get over myself and give it a go!

Synopsis: In this first book of the series, telepathic waitress Sookie meets the vampire community.  Whilst vampires have "come out" and are known of publicly, some vampires are more mainstream and conventional than others.  Sookie's romantic interest, Bill, drinks synthetic blood and only wants to be accepted, but others are more sinister.  And someone is going round brutally murdering all of the women that associate with vampires.

Score: 3 out of 5

I found the beginning of this book to be quite tacky.  At first Sookie came across as shallow and cliche, but as the book progressed I found myself enjoying her narrative more and more.  Her voice was very distinctive and as she developed throughout the book she became more mature and relatable.  In fact, all of the characters were very memorable and well rounded.

I could not help but compare it to the TV show.  True Blood was deeper, darker and more about other characters, therefore being more rounded.  The book was purely Sookie and seemed to be a bit lighter, although maybe because in general I'm much less likely to be creeped out by a book.

Overall, I'm all in favour of judging a book by what it actually is, not comparing them all against the same standard.  Dead Until Dark is an easy, light read that I just whizzed through and enjoyed immensely.  It may not be classical literature or even have the best writing style, but it took me into another world and I could not wait to pick it up again after putting it down.

I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series, just with breaks in between for other kinds of books as well.

Lesson learned: don't be such a snob!


  1. Haha - I can be a bit of a book snob as well and have been known to not read things just because they're excessively popular. Glad I'm not alone! ;) That said, I've read the first three Sookie Stackhouse books and did enjoy them. Like you mentioned, they're light and pretty fun and I think we all need some escapist fiction like that sometimes! I haven't seen True Blood yet, but you're not the first to recommend it so I'll have to make my own book-TV comparison one of these days!

  2. I read the book first and had the opinion that the series added a lot of violence and sex that wasn't in the book, which just like you I enjoyed but thought was a fun read! I guess it depends on which side you come at it from. I still like the series though!

  3. I like both the book and TV series, and agree, it's best not to compare them, but I have to say I like the show best, there's just something about alexander sarsgaard....... :-) I found the series gets better as the books go on too, Dead Until Dark isn't the best representative of how the series is.

  4. @Lisa - I'm glad I'm not the only snob :P I still haven't got around to reading "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and I think it might be my snobbish tendencies putting me off! I would definitely recommend the TV series, hope you enjoy it.

    @Mel - I definitely still like the series too. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next as I've only seen season 1 (season 2 is on my Xmas list though!).

    @Mummazappa - Yes, there is a lot of sexiness on the show, which helps :P
    I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I've only seen Season 1 of the show so I can't wait to find out what happens next.

  5. I'm a big fan of the book series and have very mixed feelings about the tv series. True Blood is in my eyes often too gory and adds too much sex. More in the LOOK WHAT WE CAN DO rather than actual meaningful content. However as you say it also adds a more rounded version of the story, focusing not just on Sookie.
    You will very often hear me complain "That's not how it is in the books" when watching the show.

  6. @noiashui
    Whilst I did enjoy the first book at least (yet to read the others), I think the violence and gore makes the TV series darker, and for me that's a good thing. The book read a little bit too light at times.