Thursday, July 17, 2008

Review: Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
3 stars

Reasons for reading: enjoyed another Charlaine Harris book recently; have heard good things about the series; Vampire list for Triple 8 Challenge

Book description: "Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana, but she keeps to herself and doesn't date much because of her "disability" to read minds. When she meets Bill, Sookie can't hear a word he''s thinking. He's the type of guy she's waited for all of her life, but he has a disability, too--he's a vampire with a bad reputation. When one of Sookie''s coworkers is killed, she fears she's next."

First line: "I'd been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar."

My thoughts: I liked this book, though not quite as much as I thought I would. I enjoyed the small-town Louisiana setting of Bon Temps. As Maggie suggested, it would have made a good one for the Southern Challenge, but my library didn't have a copy when the challenge started, so I didn't put it on the list.

Between the mind-reading and being not quite as bimbo-esque as she seems at first glance, Sookie is a rather interesting character. She sometimes seems very smart but sometimes seems pretty dumb. But hey, I probably seem the same way. Her love for her grandmother and her dedication to her waitressing job really speak to her character. And the way she deals with her mind-reading abilities is interesting - often that type of thing just comes in handy when needed in books and movies, but it truly affects her everyday life and actually is a "disability."

I do enjoy different takes on vampire lore, but I really couldn't get behind the theory that has made vampires "okay" in society in this book - that they're victims of a virus that makes them seem dead and then "come back to life" allergic to sunlight. At first I thought it was just something everyone was saying to avoid the truth, but it became apparent that most people had actually talked themselves into believing it, which was just too implausible for me.

The mystery element wasn't really all that mysterious. Or at least, it didn't drive me to read on. Apart from not wanting Sookie's brother to get blamed for the murders, I didn't really care who was committing them.

Bill isn't my favourite vampire ever. First off, Bill just doesn't cut it as a vampire name! I know that's the point, that he's not a Lestat or an Angel (mmm...Angel) but I still wanted him to have a less humdrum name. He does do the evil-at-heart-but-trying-to-be-good thing well, but I don't think I'd have fallen for him. But I guess it would be a major plus to not have to shut him out of your mind 24/7.

Overall, though, I'm getting the impression that Charlaine Harris is pretty neat. I definitely plan to read more of her Lily Bard series and I might even give the second Sookie book a whirl. Maybe now that the scene is set, I'll find that the ball gets really rolling.


maggie moran said...

Love Her!!!

If you added up all the southern books you have read this summer, you would have completed the challenge twice! U go gurl! :D

raidergirl3 said...

I didn't finish this in June because I had to return it to the library. Part of the problem was it wasn't grabbing me like I thought it would. It doesn't help that I'm not a vampire-groupie, like you. I never watched Buffy or read Rice. I'll prob try again though, because of my Harris admiration.
Great review.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you that Bill is no name for a vampire.

Louise said...

LOL about Bill not being a name for a vampire...but I guess all the cool names were already taken ;-)

I also read this one, and actually bought the next three in the series used from eBay but they are still on my TBR.

Loved your review. Here is a link to my review of the same book.