Dead Until Dark
Charlaine Harris
326 pages; published 2004

For a second I felt ashamed at calling Bill to rescue me: I should have handled the situation myself. Then I thought, Why? When you know a practically invincible being who professes to adore you, someone so hard to kill it’s next to impossible, someone preternaturally strong, that’s who you’re gonna call. (255-6)

Sookie Stackhouse lives in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Her life is ordinary – she lives with her grandmother, works at the local bar, and has a brother who lives nearby. Problem is, despite her lifestyle, Sookie herself is anything but ordinary. Ever since she was a young girl, Sookie has had the ability to read the minds of those around her.

Normality never sticks around for very long though – at least not with a character like Sookie in the lead. Bon Temps starts to wake up with the revelation of the reality of vampires (they’re “coming out of the coffin”). With the development of a viable synthetic blood, vampires no longer have to feed on humans to survive, and many are seeking a more human lifestyle.

When one such vampire, oh-so-scarily named "Bill", moves to town and, incidentally, next door to Sookie, her life suddenly gets turned upside down. Bill is tall, dark and handsome - and definately dangerous - but, most appealing of all, Sookie cannot hear his thoughts. Around, she does not have to endure the aching strain required to simply afford people their privacy. She is free to just relax.

But when a local woman dies under suspicious circumstances, Sookie finds herself dating a prime suspect. At what cost does her freedom come?

Vampire romances are a dime-a-dozen at the moment. Everywhere you turn you find yet another one creeping up behind you. Despite this, I found Dead Before Dark, the first of the Sookie Stackhouse series, to be an enjoyable light read. While still maintaining the romantic coupling of the moment - a (relatively) normal human girl with the dark scary vamp - it does mix it up a bit by ensuring that she herself is not entirely normal. Sookie doesn't belong in Bill's world ... but she doesn't really fit in her own either.

Harris' writing was a little slow in places; I felt like I was wading through it at times to get to the next part. Having said that, I would still recommend it to fans of the genre. Harris' humour comes into play quite strongly, leaving the book with a slightly oddball air to it, only to be effectively cut down when some of the darker elements come to the surface.

A fun read, the sequel of which I'm looking forward to reading. 3.5/5

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Becflies said...

I share your sentiments about this book it seems.

Trisha said...

I hope you don't mind: I posted a link to your review on my review post here.

Alex the Girl said...

Really great review. I like the way you've summed up the main points of the book without including the spoiler details.

Fiona said...

I like the look of your blog - the black background works well.

I enjoyed reading your review, but I don't agree that Charlaine Harris' writing seemed to drag. I enjoyed it all the way!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you would mind if I posted a link to your review on my review on my blog? If it is okay please e-mail me at
with the link to your review. I have done reviews for Dead Until Dark, Living Dead In Dallas, and Club Dead. So if you have done all of them and wouldn't mind me putting your link on my blog then send the links for all. :)