“Dead Until Dark” by Charlaine Harris

Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.
Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.

I found Charlaine HarrisDead until Dark at one of Second Story Books’ sidewalk sales in Dupont Circle. I was elated. A few days prior, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and check out Trueblood, the vampire show on HBO. So far I’ve watched three episodes of season one and have yet to decide if I like it or not. I found those episodes filled with too much meaningless sex and blood. I wanted to know if it was the same in the book. As soon as I purchased it, I began to read. The few episodes that I watched matched the book despite its additions—Sookie’s best friend and a larger role for her brother, Jason.

Quick summary:

Dead until Dark is centered in a town on the outskirts of New Orleans called Bon Temps at a time when vampires have come out in the open—”out of the coffin”—and co-exist publicly alongside humans. However, not all humans are okay with this. The story begins when Sookie Stackhouse, an innocent young woman, sees a vampire at the bar where she works as a waitress. He is the first vampire she has ever seen so she finds him fascinating. Being a telepath, Sookie becomes intrigued when she discovers that she cannot hear the vampire’s thoughts. Her intrigue leads her to save the vampire’s, named Bill, life when the Rattrays, a horrid couple, trap him with some well-placed silver to drain him of his blood. Vampire blood has become a sort of aphrodisiac. It increases humans’ sexual prowess and heightens their abilities (strength, senses, etc.). The Rattrays later try to retaliate by attacking Sookie but are killed by Bill.

Soon Sookie and Bill develop a relationship to the ire of Sookie’s boss, Sam, who has a crush on her, and the rest of the town. While that is taking place, a series of gruesome murders occur. Naturally, Bill is a suspect because he is a vampire but Jason is also questioned since he was sexually involved with some of the victims. As Sookie gets closer to Bill, she learns more about the vampire world and even visits a local vampire bar called Fangtasia, where she catches the eye of its owner, a powerful vampire named Eric. Her relationship with Bill grows stronger as she both sheds her innocence and attracts the attention of the murderer.

My reaction:

It’s not my favorite but I enjoyed this story; more so than the show. I liked Sookie’s voice, which is relatable. I could easily imagine her as the sweet Southern girl that she is by the voice Harris uses to form her character. I was reminded of Twilight while reading. Sookie is almost in a love triangle since she has the affections of two men—one hairy and one pale; quite like being caught between a werewolf and a vampire as Bella was. The telepathic ability is also similar to Twilight. Edward could hear everyone’s thoughts except Bella’s (I only watched the first Twilight movie, by the way; I haven’t read the books).

I found it interesting that the two men vying for Sookie’s affections are both far older than her. (Though Sam’s age is not mentioned, he does seem a lot older than Sookie). I wondered why these otherworldly men (monsters, really) are so attracted to the virginal Sookie. I think they are drawn to the possibility of corrupting her and the fact that her virginity makes her “untainted” by the world. I began to wonder why the monsters in literature are always drawn to virgins. Maybe those monster-men think that the purity of a virgin will remove the taint that made them a monster. Similar to how Beauty’s love cured the Beast in the fairytale, Beauty and the Beast. But that’s just my mind rambling. In short, Dead until Dark is a quick read so I recommend it to those seeking something short and fun for a summer afternoon.


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