Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, Book One)

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, Book One)
Charlaine Harris, 2001

Premise: Sookie is a waitress; she mostly keeps to herself. She sort of has to, otherwise she ends up reading people’s minds and knowing things she’d rather not. She’s intrigued when the first vampire shows up openly in their small town, which quickly turns to worried when her new friend is suspected of murder.

This was....fine. Nothing special. It’s cute, I guess, and the writing is competent and I was curious enough to get to the end, but in the end I just thought it was fine.

My main problem with the book was Sookie. Laying aside her annoyingly cutsie-pie name, she’s irritatingly dense. Why are you surprised when something paranormal happens? YOU CAN READ MINDS! You ARE paranormal! And then, why are you surprised the next time something paranormal or scary happens? And the time after that? And the time after THAT? I know it’s a lot to take in, but she is really incapable of rolling with a situation, and I find that off-putting in a heroine.

The rest of the supporting cast is fine, the twist of the end of the mystery was okay but nothing amazing. The other intended twist maybe was a surprise in 2001, but at this point my reaction as a reader was: “of course that is the case, I knew from page two. That’s how these books work.”

I guess I just felt like checking off the boxes to me. Plucky Heroine: Check. Paranormal Ability: Check. Hunky Vampire: Check. Romantic Angst: Check. Romantic Rival: Check. I know that it was early in the trend, but I’m not sure there’s any reason to get into this series now unless you already love the characters from watching True Blood (I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know how similar/different it is).

That is, if you’re a reader of sci-fi/fantasy/urban fantasy/mystery/etc. If you’re primarily a romance reader, I can see coming at this from a totally different angle and seeing it as new and different. However, I don’t think the romance adds much to the book from the angle of a genre reader.

2 Stars - An Okay Book


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