2010 · Book Reviews · Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · YA

Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris

Dead Until DarkPublished: 2009 by Gollancz | Pages: 326 | Won on Twitter

Sookie Stackhouse is 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 is. It’s just that, well, Sookie has this sort of ‘disability’. She can read minds. And that doesn’t make her too dateable. 

And then along comes Bill: he’s tall, dark and handsome – and Sookie can’t ‘hear’ a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting for all her life.

But Bill has a disability of his own: he’s a vampire. Worse than that, he hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble – of the murderous kind.

And when one of Sookie’s colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she’ll be next…

I realise that I now look like I just read vampire fiction, but seriously I don’t. To be honest, I’ve only recently discovered it, about a year ago due to the Twilight Series. Anyway, I came to start reading this series due to a friend of mine lending me the first three books. Now, if you’re a fan of vampire fiction, but are looking for something a bit more sexed up, and gritty then this is a pretty good book to read. I like to call it the ‘adult’ version of Twilight. Admittedly, the talents of Sookie seem remarkably like a certain heroine who is in love with another vampire in a different book, but hey ho, it works well in the plot line.

So you have you’re heroine Sookie Stackhouse, who seems to constantly get beaten up and nearly killed throughout the book. And then along comes Bill. (Yes, we have another Bella and Edward situation on our hands.) Anyway, Bill’s character is used to introduce the theme of vampires into the book. I think he is also used to portray Sookie’s sexual desires. The way Bill is described throughout the book, I believe, makes the reader feel like Sookie probably feels. Everything about him sounds rather yummy and steamy! Sod the fact that he’s a vampire!

Now a main theme throughout the book is murder. Basically the entire plot line is based around these murders that keep occurring in Bon Temps (slightly ironic name surely? It means good times in french?!) Due to all the murder victims, bar Sookie’s grandmother is was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, having fang bites on their necks, the reader is obliged to believe that the murderer is a vampire. And whenever there is a murder, Bill always seems to either be at the scene of the crime immediately after or supposedly not in Bon Temps. Now, because his character comes across as being dark and alluring, the reader begins to question whether Bill is the murder or at least something to do with the murders.

Bon Temps is a bit of a peculiar place. Firstly, there’s more than just one vampire there, and the others are not great. To be honest, that section of the book which involved other vampires at Bill’s house was, first of all a little confusing and secondly, once the reader is aware of what’s occurring somewhat gross to be quite frank. Also, a key element to the story is that human’s who sleep with vampires are called ‘fang-bangers.’ And that for vampires to fully enjoy sex, they have to bite their lover at the end. Now, all of the victims have fang bites – hence leading to the suspects being vampires. But as the reader learns, Sookie’s brother isn’t all as nice as he seemed. Jason likes to record himself with women, and comes very close to being arrested. Luckily, well not for Sookie, the murderer is finally caught.

Throughout the book, there is tension spilling out of the pages right, left and centre. The reader deals with the sexual tension bewteen Sookie and Bill, while dealing with the tension Sookie exerts due to her being able to read people’s minds, therefore learning extra information, as well as the tension she feels due to her supposedly being the next one in line to be murdered.

And, somewhat like Twilight, we are also introduced to the shapeshifter in the book. Sam, the owner of Merlotte’s and Sookie’s boss. I really like the choices of scene setting used throughout the book. There simple, but easy to picture and flit between – Sookie’s house, Bill’s house, Fangtasia and Merlotte’s.

Overall, I found myself completely engrossed in the book and the relationship between Sookie and Bill. I loved the raw emotions shared between the two, and the emotive writing found as Sookie discovered the victims, or the news of the deaths of the victims. Overall, a brilliant read, and I cannot wait to read Book Two in the Sookie Stackhouse series!


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