Book Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Supernatural, Rural Fantasy
Series: Sookie Stackhouse
Publisher: Ace Books
Publication Date: May 2001
Author Infowww.charlaineharris.com

Wendy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars – As far as strong female characters go, I’d put Sookie right up at the top with the best of them.

Sooo a few years back I tried watching True Blood and didn’t get far. Oh it wasn’t just the blood and sex for the apparent purpose of blood and sex. Well, maybe it was, but I’ve long since come to terms with the ways of the HBO. The problem was with Anna Paquin. I don’t know what it is, but since Rogue, I just haven’t liked her. And as Sookie Stackhouse, the Mary Sue every vampire wants, I sufficiently couldn’t stand her enough to not watch the show again. Give me a Lafayette and Tara spin off and I’ll be happy.

But Audible had the first Sookie Stackhouse book on sale so I decided to check it out. The first thing I have to say is that I honestly wasn’t expecting to like this book. Or rather, I honestly wasn’t expecting to actually like Sookie.

As far as strong female characters go, (the kind Joss Whedon is often praised for single-handedly creating), I’d put Sookie right up at the top with the best of them. She’s brave, as in, she’s willing to defend what is right, even at risk of her own life, but she’s not afraid to admit to her fears. She has standards and upholds them, even when her desires are urging her body to do otherwise. And I like that one of her greatest weapons is her smile.

Despite her disability (telepathy), she maintains a positive outlook and quite often, her smiles are genuine. But when faced with a threat or people who want to put her down, she battles them with a smile on her lips, that thankfully does not make her come across as dumb blond at all. Being able to say “FU” with a smile is a fine art.

Sookie is a waitress at a small town bar where ghastly murders have been occurring. The victims, all female and all a bit promiscuous, bare fang marks, which puts suspicion on the sudden influx of vampires in town. One such vampire is Bill Compton, whom Sookie immediately takes a liking to because she can’t hear him in her mind like she can everyone else. She rescues Bill from a couple intent on draining his blood for profit, and their relationship develops from there.  And it actually does develop in a rather nice, old fashioned way (though I eventually did grow tired of the couple. I’m not sure Bill Compton could be any more boring).

There are a lot of interesting characters, though sadly, not enough Lafayette and no Tara at all. The story is told, first person, through Sookie, and her honesty paints interesting pictures for all of them and I liked the way the characters are developed in this way as she interacts with them throughout the story.

There was one questionable moment, where a certain character who cannot be named appears, but I’ll let that slide. Otherwise, this was a surprisingly enjoyable read. Is it enough to make me try out the show again… hmmm…

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