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

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OK, so I did it. I finally read the first novel in a series of books that inspired the AWESOME show True Blood. The first book is called Dead Until Dark. I’ve heard a lot of differing opinions about these books. It seems lots of folks didn’t like this book and couldn’t continue on with the series, but later ended up liking the show.

I have seen 2 and a half seasons of True Blood, and I love it. So it’s hard for me to separate my feelings here. But I’ll try to be as objective as I can.

For those of you that haven’t heard the premise, these books (and the show) are about Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in her 20’s living in Bon Temps, LA. She’s able to read minds, which actually makes her kind of a homebody because it’s hard to block out everyone’s thoughts all the time. Anyways, vampires have been “out of the coffin” for about two years, with some of them mainstreaming and trying to live among humans. This is thanks to scientific advances that led to the creation of bottled synthetic blood. One night a vampire named Bill walks into the bar that Sookie works at, and she’s immediately intrigued – and pleasantly surprised when she realizes that she can’t hear his thoughts. Almost right after Bill moves to town, a bunch of chickadees start getting murdered, and things get tense from there.

OK, as a fluff book – this is pretty good. I didn’t find Sookie unbearablely stupid like some people, but that may be because I’m used to True Blood. She is a bit ditzy, but it didn’t irritate me. Her world is just interesting – her being a mind-reader, and the fact that in this book series a whole new culture has come about as a result of vampires letting their existance be known. If you like fluff, this is pretty decent. I’ll definitely continue to read the series – I’ll probably read the next one tomorrow, since I got the first three from the library. The writing isn’t the best – I found the writing a little too direct. Almost like the author couldn’t think of a way to convey the thoughts and feelings of the characters without just plain saying it outloud. It got easier to ignore as the book went on.

If you’re a True Blood fan (POSSIBLE SPOILERS PEOPLE), there are some differences, of course. True Blood definitely improved on this book – the book only revolves around Sookie, so there’s no Jason, Lafayette, and Tara storylines. In fact, Tara doesn’t exist in the book, which kind of stinks. And there isn’t any mention of the vampire politics going on – they’re not on the news, there’s no VRA, etc. For creating such a new unique society, you’d think Harris could have made it a bit more detailed. Luckily the peeps who made True Blood did all that, or the show would have really fallen flat. One thing not in the show but in the book is the appearance of the vampire Bubba, which I think the show should definitely work in somehow.

Anyways, I once again half-wish that I’d read this before I had seen the tv show. The first book and the first season are pretty similar overall. I say, give it a try. It’s less than 300 pages, so you have nothing to lose.

Sarah Says: 3 stars

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9 comments

  1. >I'm in the camp of reading the first one and not the second one. I've never seen True Blood but the way you describe it, it almost seems that the t.v. show is better than the book was. I think I read her just on the heels of the Twilight books and I really feel this book may have "vampired" me out. Funny though, I bought the whole set at one time because I was so sure I was going to love them. I dumped them at half price books about 6 months later. One of my weirder book moments brought to you live….

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  2. >I like this series and have read most of them. Jason, Tara and the vampire politics all show up in later books. I haven't had the opportunity to see True blood, but wouldlike to. I'll have to check it out of the library I guess.

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  3. >My son's gf loves this series, has read all of them. I got the impression from the covers that they were light fare but I was really surprised when I watched True Blood and realized it was based on the books.

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  4. >Great review! It is true the books start a bit slow in comparison to the series and they stick with Sookie, but they expand the aspect later on. I've read books 1 and 2 before seeing the series and I'm so happy I did, because there are a lot of things I didn't like in the series. Maybe it is just a matter of what you see/read first. I will definitely read more books from this series.

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  5. >I've read the book and watched the series. In my opinions the books are much better than the series but after awhile, they really diverge and it becomes harder to compare. For example, the tv-series mixes all the story lines together when each book is essentially centered around one story and that character's story. Tara definitely exists in the books but you may not want to wait around for it. I think it is much later. Also, I was uncomfortable in books 1-3 or 4 because there were some references that just made me wonder about the author.

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  6. >I've never seen True Blood but I have been tempted to read this one to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe I'll give it a go next time I'm all historicaled out and need a fluff read πŸ™‚

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  7. >You know that I am one who hated the book when I read it but then I watched and fell in love True Blood. I guess now that I'm hooked on True Blood I should give reading the book series another shot. Hmmmm….

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  8. Cool. I would kind of like to be a vampire, too. I really hope that your honeyman was not being serious when he said about killing his own wife/partner/girlfriend if she (you) were a vampire just because of that…

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