DEAD UNTIL DARK (Sookie Stackhouse #1)
by Charlaine Harris
RELEASE DATE: 2009
FORMAT: Paperback, 312 pages
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
Sookie Stackhouse is a small time cocktail waitress in small town Louisiana. She’s quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn’t get out much – not because she’s not pretty – she’s a very cute bubbly blonde – or not interested in a social life. She really is… but Sookie’s got a bit of a disability. She can read minds. And that doesn’t make her too dateable.
And then along comes Bill: he’s tall, he’s dark and he’s handsome – and Sookie can’t ‘hear’ a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting all her life for. But Bill has a disability of his own: he’s fussy about his food, he doesn’t like suntans and he’s never around during the day… Yep, Bill’s a vampire. Worse than that, he hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble – of the murderous kind. And then one of Sookie’s colleagues at the bar is killed, and it’s beginning to look like Sookie might be the next victim…
DEAD UNTIL DARK is the story of waitress Sookie who has what she refers to as a ‘disability’, she can read people’s minds. Because of this disability, she struggles with personal friendships & relationships and rarely dates. Nothing worse than knowing what your date is thinking of you!
Living in a small Southern town, Sookie is a mix of endearing naïveté, strong morals and a good share of guts and determination. Working at Sam’s bar, she is waitress, and takes pride in her work. Her relationship with her grandmother, whom she lives with is lovely and written with real, believable warmth. And her promiscuous and selfish brother, while infuriating at times is still engaging.
I agree, all the characters are interesting and quirky. I especially love Sookie – she’s a warm, down-to-earth kind of gal and not the type of urban fantasy heroine I’m used to reading. I really like the TV show, but I must say I like the books more.
If you watch the TV series, you will notice the distinct absence of best friend Tara in the book, in fact she’s not even mentioned. While Sam and fellow waitress Arlene are important friends, Sookie does not have a best friend in the book. This adds to her overall isolation and loneliness, brought about by her telepathic ability.
Then enter vampire Bill. Bill’s mind is delightfully and blissfully blank and Sookie is immediately fascinated. But with the arrival of Bill, the town suddenly becomes the victim of a serial killer and young women keep turning up dead. Before she knows it, Sookie ends up caught in the middle of the deadly game.
I must admit I was put off reading this series basically because of the TV show. I do enjoy ‘True Blood’ but I’ve never really got on board with Anna Paquin and I was worried that this would rub off on the books. When I started DEAD UNTIL DARK I did unfortunately see Paquin as Sookie, but after about fifty or so pages, the Sookie of my own imagination started to push through and I began to enjoy the book a lot more. In fact I had difficulty putting it down.
I read the first three books in this series years ago and for some reason didn’t get around to reading the subsequent books. Unlike Carolyn, I read them before True Blood hit our TV screens, so I wasn’t put off by the TV show. But as I started re-reading them I couldn’t help make a few comparisons as I wrote my review.
I really enjoyed the southern setting and the way that everyone spoke – I’m a big fan of the southern drawl anyway, so it just made this book even more enjoyable for me. The fact that Sookie is just an ordinary girl (apart from her supernatural abilities), working in a bar as a waitress, making an honest living rather than a gun-wielding, martial arts expert, gave this urban fantasy a fresh twist.
DEAD UNTIL DARK is an easy read. Charlaine Harris has a unique writing style, which I really enjoy. She often focuses on the detail, but in a way that adds richness to her story rather than coming across as tedious.
There isn’t much to fault with this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. If I had just have one tiny complaint, I did feel that Sookie and Bill fell in love just a little bit too quickly. I could understand it from Sookie, but maybe not from a several hundred year old vampire.
DEAD UNTIL DARK is a fun and entertaining urban fantasy. It’s pretty light compared to some of the other UF series out there, but it’s still definitely worth a read. Harris has a great relaxed writing style that made this book a quick and easy read, as well as hard to put down. The characters are great and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
A fun and even delightful supernatural mystery set in a small town in the deep South. Sookie is a refreshing and charming lead character. She’s not your normal tough, ass-kicking urban fantasy heroine, but I actually loved her even more because of it. As for the TV show… I much prefer the book!
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER:
1. Dead Until Dark
2. Living Dead in Dallas
3. Club Dead
4. Dead to the World
5. Dead as a Doornail
6. Definitely Dead
7. All Together Dead
8. From Dead to Worse
9. Dead and Gone
10. Dead in the Family
11. Dead Reckoning
BUY THE BOOK