Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Posted October 17th, 2012 in book review / 16 comments

Dead Until Dark

Book #1 of the Sookie Stackhouse Series

by Charlaine Harris

Publisher: Ace Books (May 2001)
Genre: Paranormal
Format: eBook (292 pages)
Source: Received from Books 4 Reviews
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She’s quite, 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, 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 with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of – big surprise – murder. And when one of Sookie’s coworkers is killed, she fears she’s next… Add on Goodreads

~Short Review~

At a Glance
I loved this book when I first read it 3 years ago. But now that my paranormal pallet has been expanded, this book lacks some paranormal flair but is an overall enjoyable read.

The Good
This book is pretty much about Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress, and her introduction to the paranormal world. Vampires have already “come out of the coffin” and the world is slowly getting use to the idea of vampires being next door neighbors. Sookie finds vampires fascinating, and once she meets vampire Bill, she can’t help but immerse herself into his world. And as the ups and downs of vampire life starts to weigh heavily on Sookie, her life gets even more complicated when the people around her start being murdered. And it looks like the killer might be coming after he next.

Though this is a lighter paranormal book for me, I found that the characters and the unique world really pulled me in. Sookie comes across as fun and loving. She can be ditsy at times but it just adds to her charm. But her telepathic abilities have made her life difficult. She can hear everyone’s thoughts, which makes dating very…awkward. So when vampire Bill walks into the bar she works at and she can’t read his thoughts at all, it’s like her prays have been answered. He offers her something no one else can, affection without her being able to read his mind. You can’t help but feel happy for Sookie when she finds someone who also lives a life of complication, someone she can relate with. Vampires may have been “accepted” into society, but the discrimination is always present. And Bill is a little bit of a wild card. He hangs out with questionable people and his reputation is a bit scary. I did find him very interesting and couldn’t wait for him to come on scene.

The story about the killer was well done. I didn’t know who was responsible until Harris wanted me to. The mystery and suspense were awesome. And I couldn’t believe how far Harris went to surprise and shock us. She didn’t hold anything back. But I feel the best part of this book is Sookie’s introduction to vampire society. It was creepy, scary, and a little bit sexy. It often made me question Bill’s motives, but I liked it. Dead Until Dark really kept me on my toes.

The Bad
The biggest annoyance is that this really isn’t a great representation of an amazing paranormal book. It was more a mystery book with a vampire twist. I would not suggest this book to people who want an introduction to paranormal books.

Also, the writing was subpar. There were many awkward sentences and way to much description for things I did not care to know in detail. Also, be prepared for a cheesefest. Some of the things these characters said made me cringe.

The Snuggly
We get sex scenes that I feel are pretty mild. I liked the first one because Sookie is so nervous and Bill really puts her at ease. It’s all very cute. But the sex in general was okay and sometimes very awkward. Nothing like the hot sexed up HBO series.

This is not a perfect book but I did find it funny, scary, and sweet most of the time. The mystery is good and the vampire world Harris has created is amazing. I wouldn’t really know who to recommended this book to though. I think people will just have to try it and see if this series is for them. Recommended.

Eric appeared to be counting my eyelashes. I tried to keep my gaze on my hands, to indicate modesty. I felt power tweaks kind of flow over me and had an uneasy feeling Eric was trying to influence me. I risked a quick peek, and sure enough he was looking at me expectantly. Was I supposed to pull off my dress? Bark like a dog? Kick Bill in the shins? Shit.

“Of course I am grateful, and I’m sure you are, as you put it, a special vintage,” Bill said politely, “But I have my own wine cellar.” 

The Sookie Stackhouse Series:
Book #1: dead Until Dark
Book #2: Living Dead in Dallas
Book #3: Club Dead
Book #4: Dead to the World
Book #5: Dead as a Doornail
Book #6: Definitely Dead
Book #7: All Together Dead
Book #8: From Dead to Worse
Book #9: Dead and Gone
Book #10: Dead in the Family
Book #11: Dead Reckoning
Book #12: Deadlocked
Book #13: Dead Ever After

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16 Responses to “Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris”

  1. fakesteph

    HAHAH. I remember being shocked by the sex… but then I again, going in, I didn’t realize there would be any. And I love the HBO series!

  2. Elisa

    This was one of my first paranormal books too – funny how far we have come since those early days. I keep loaning my books out to newbies to the genre and get them indoctrinated. The series has just sort of petered out though (IMHO) but I keep reading when I find them at the library hoping something great will happen or so I don’t miss the finale.

  3. Julie

    Nice Review! This was the first book of this sort that I read. I know it has it’s flaws but I still love the Sookie Series.

  4. Sarah (saz101)

    “The story about the killer was well done. I didn’t know who was responsible until Harris wanted me to. The mystery and suspense was awesome.”

    Oh YESSSS. Harris is FABULOUS at mystery. It’s what I loved movst about the series, before it started going in these weird, loopy, plotline circles. Her Harper Connelly, Aurora Teagarden, and Lily Bard books are all FANTASTIC at this.

    And, seriously. YES. Great review.
    I think this was actually the first adult paranormal I read, so it was a good intro to the genre, but there are such FABULOUS books out there, also. I guess it’s a good start for people coming into the genre from the TV show ;D

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I haven’t read her other books.

      I think it was a good introduction to the genere way back when but now it doesn’t even compete to the paranormal books out there.

    • Sarah (saz101)

      *nods* I agree. There are other books out there that are WAY better, but I think it might be a good hook and primer, you know? Kind of? Maybe? mmmm…

      I haven’t read *all* of her stuff, but I had a big stage where she was my fave author 😀

      I read all the Sookie books (though I haven’t been able to make myself care enough to read the most latest one), I really like the Harper Connelly books (a lot darker, more sexual tension and… mmmm…) and I’ve read all the Lily Bard books (Lily actually makes a couple of appearances in the Sookie books). I’ve only read a couple of the Aurora books, though. I started part way through the series ;D

    • Sarah (saz101)

      I agree. And I’m sad. I mean, I *WILL* read them. I really want to know how it all finishes up. BUT… yeah. I’ve just lost the interest, the love. You know?

  5. Alicia

    I used to love this series but then somehow I lost track of it, I need to pick it up again. I love the quotes you pulled out, they really reminded me of why I enjoyed these books.

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