Tuesday, September 08, 2009

My Review of "Dead Until Dark"

Written by Charlaine Harris
Released in 2001

Bill: “What are you?”
Sookie: “Hey, I’m not dead. What I am is telepathic. I can hear people’s thoughts.”

I had originally planned to wait until Season 1 of the series had actually finished on FXUK before reading this but Easons went and imported all nine books with new covers, hinging on the True Blood promotional shots and I found myself unable to resist and bought the first two books. I’ll be getting the rest within the next month.

The basis of the series is pretty fun. A telepathic waitress in the humble town of Bon Temps whose life gets more complicated when she hooks up with a vampire, who are now out of the coffin and it’s just about accepted by the locals – what’s not to love?

Sookie and Bill’s love story is hardly new terrain in the classic human/vampire romantic pairing and the Bill in this book isn’t as sympathetic as Stephen Moyer has portrayed him onscreen but you can buy into Sookie and Bill’s attraction to each other. Bill certainly does have a Southern gentleman charm about him.

It’s just too bad that everyone else isn’t quite as eager to give them a chance. The locals disapprove and bad boy vampire Eric is also delightful in sticking his oar into proceedings as well. Plus while the series may be overt with it, the allusions to gay rights/marriage etc are fairly prominent in this book as well, though not in a heavy handed way.

The main mystery of the killer slaying various vampire groupies (also known as fang bangers) does drive some passages very well and I did find it satisfying that it was revealed to be Rene. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s played out on the series as well, given that I have four more episodes to watch.

In regards to the other characters, they’re pretty good. Jason is fairly consistent as is Arlene, Sam but there’s very little of Lafayette and there’s one moment in the book where Andy’s crassness is really anger inducing. Then there’s poor Adelle Stackhouse. Even in print her death is still sad to read.

- Tara doesn’t feature in this book at all. She appears in the second one though Alan Ball has clearly made her into a bigger character. Like with Lafayette.
- Amy Burley is also someone who isn’t that big a deal. And Sookie was more confrontational in the book about Arlene’s prejudices.
- The sex scenes with Bill and Sookie are somewhat more aggressive here, especially the graveyard sex scene.
- Is Bubba the vampire supposed to be a certain dead king of Rock and Roll?

“Dead Until Dark” is a captivating book. I really wish that I had read this years before learning that it would become a television series. I guess better late than never though.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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