Charlaine Harris: Dead until Dark review

The book, like the inspired show revolves around Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress in the small southern town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Sookie is a kind, naive, working-class southern girl whose parents died in a flood when she was very young and has been livings with her granny since. Vampires in the sookieverse have “come out of the coffin” and everyone knows about them now. Sookie had never seen one but when one shows up at the bar where she works she is fascinated by him and saves his (un)life the very same night. Around the same timeand someone starts murdering local girls who sleep with vampires.

The book is told in the first person from Sookie’s perspective. Bill, the vampire, is a darkly attractive, formally polite suitor that is a lot more colder than his character on the show. The sexual content is quite low and for much of the book Sookie is trying to decide whether she even wants to date Bil or not.

As I said Sookie is telepathic. She can read other people’s thoughts -that they have at the moment – unless she’s specifically screening them out, which she does most of the time anyway because it’s overwhelming. She is extremely attracted to Bill not because of his vampire charm but because she can’t read his thoughts which brings a very welcome silence whenever she’s with him. She considers her ability to be a handicap, not something to be exploited, and mostly tries to hide it and not use it. This “disability” renders Sookie a bit alienated from the rest of the town who treat her like she’s retarded sometimes.

What is extremely interesting and different in  Dead Until Dark is that the characters are not the usual college/high school people of rich or middle class that most vampire stories use but is instead about working-class people in a small town in the southern US.

We don’t see much difference between the first season of the show and the first book of the series but there are several points that differ.

  • On the show the sex is explicit and excessive, in the book it is lower and slightly brushes on erotica.
  • In the first season of True Blood, Bill kills a vampire (Longshadow) who attacks Sookie and is forced to turn teenager Jessica into a vampire. In Dead Until Dark, Eric the Viking vampire is actually the one who kills Longshadow. While Eric is punished for this, the punishment is light as the vampires see Longshadow’s betrayal of Eric as deserving of death.
  • Eric has a relatively big role in the show (and we’re thankful for that!) in the book he’s a minor chracter.
  • Throughout season one, Sookie’s brother Jason, gets addictedto V – vampire blood. This never happens in Dead Until Dark – or any of the other books in the series. While addiction to vampire blood is mentioned briefly a few times throughout the book series, it plays a very small role. V plays a major part in the story line of True Blood season one and in the life of Jason Stackhouse.
  • In season one of True Blood, Sookie’s friend Tara takes a prominent role in the series, she doesn’t appear at all in Dead Until Dark unless I completely missed her. Which means almost the same.
  • In the True Blood’s first season finale, Bill is horribly burned when he erupts from his sleeping place – into the sunlight – to save Sookie from serial killer Rene. Sookie ends up chopping Rene’s head off with a shovel. In the books the vampires are literally dead when they are sleeping during the day. In Dead Until Dark, Bill plays no part in saving Sookie from Rene. Sookie saves herself in both in the end and ends up hospitalized from the violent altercation. Rene also survives the match with Sookie – just barely – and is imprisoned.

It is a good read if you’re into (real) vampire stories and especially if you’re sick of seeing Twitlight everywhere. These vampires are real and KILL people.

Sink your fangs in it and enjoy 😉

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