14 November 2008

Read My Mind

Dead Until Dark
Charlaine Harris

Finally I finished a book in just one sitting!

And it's the first in Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Series with Sookie Stackhouse as the lead character. The book that started it all for Alan Ball thereafter deciding to adapt it to the small screen. Yes, this is the first book in the series that gave birth to HBO's True Blood.

Sookie Stackhouse is a telepathic waitress in a bar called Merlotte's, in a fictional town called Bon Temps located in Louisiana. In Sookie's world vampires just came out of the coffin (literally) after the development of a synthetic blood for them to drink instead of eh, human blood. Sookie's been waiting for a vampire to show up in Merlotte's. And when a vampire did show, her world turned upside down.

The vampire in question is handsome, enigmatic Bill. Yes, Bill. A normal name. Not as imaginative as Lestat or as romantic as Armand. Bill Compton, a true son of Bon Temps. He served in the Civil War before he became a vampire. Sigh.

For Sookie who had to control herself and put up mental shield not to hear the thoughts of the people around her, the presence of Bill is comforting. She can't hear his thoughts at all! And amazingly enough, she's not affected by his glamor.

So yes, it's partly a love story, partly romance. Yes, it's between a vampire and a human.

It's also a mystery. Women are being killed in Bon Temps and the murderer is on the loose. Two of them are known to have been intimate with a vampire due to bite marks. And Sookie's brother Jason is a major suspect because of his previous relationships with them. Until Sookie's beloved grandmother became a victim as well. People are now suspicious of the vampire mainstreaming with them.


It's a quick enough read. Enjoyable as well. Just the right combination of humor and horror. Enough to take you away from everyday life for the couple or so hours to read it.

I picked it up because I've seen a handful of episodes of True Blood. The advantage to seeing the adaptation first is that now I read the words with the Southern accent in mind. Hahaha. The disadvantage is that I know now where the series deviated from the book, so to speak. Plus, I also know the killer. I've no idea if the show will retain that ending though, hahaha.

I already mentioned that I like watching True Blood. Here's Sookie and Bill played by Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer.

But the tv series is more graphic. Well, tv is a visual medium so what else do I expect, particularly from a cable channel at that. And I already mentioned that there are changes from the book itself which is understandable. The show amplifies certain characters that make them more interesting, more layered than the handful of lines afforded them in the book. Plus the additional storylines are apt for a one hour show that combines supernatural mystery with a love angle.

I do love the fact that the show retained the tone of the book. So there are moments while watching the show that I have to just laugh at the dialogue. I treasure those moments in the book as well.

Allow me a moment of shallowness by adding that I love the cover. The cartoony drawing of Sookie and the vampire is fun. Plus it's glittery. Ok, moment of shallowness over.

I'm actually reading the second book now. Tsk tsk tsk. What will happen to me after the 12-episode season is over and I finished the rest of the books as well? Tsk tsk tsk.

Read the other interesting points of view below:

All About Me
Avid Book Reader
Stella Matutina
Thrifty Reader

Dead Until Dark won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original in 2001. I'll use this as part of my Book Awards Reading Challenge II reads.


  1. I love the cover, too! And I had no idea Anna Paquin plays Sookie!! I really like her.

    A friend of mine is in love with the series and is liking the books, so it's good to read your endorsement too.

  2. Cool that you read it in one sitting. I yearn to do that but I hop up a lot. I think I have middle-age onset ADD.

  3. Glad to hear you enjoyed the book, I love the covers of these ones too :)

    I'd read the first six books before the TV series came on, so I wasn't too sure what I'd think. But I really like the series, you are right about it deviating from the books but it still has the same feeling.

  4. I also love the cover!

    This really sounds like a lot of fun. Though to be honest the words "southern" and "vampire" alone would sell me :P

  5. I love the books and have been watching the show too!

  6. Thank you Andi!

    Hello Bookfool! It helps that I've seen the episodes of the show. Made things easier for me :)

    Hi Joanne! Yes, Alan Ball got the tone right indeed. But the tv show is more complicated than the books so far.

    Hello Nymeth! This is fun! The books got me out of my reading slump! I'm on the third book already. *Gasps with disbelief*

    Hi Beth! Thank you for dropping by. The books themselves are enjoyable to read and I like watching the show as well so I try to separate the two storylines for now :)

  7. I read this book awhile ago and liked it but I still haven't picked up the 2nd one. I'll be looking forward to your review on the 2nd book.

  8. Hi Samantha! Will post about the second book soon! I'm liking the third book so far and I'm halfway through :)

  9. Glad you're out of your reading slump! And, I don't think it's shallow at all to comment on the cover art (as I'm sure any cover artist would agree).

  10. Interesting point Ali. I sometimes get carried away with what I write that I fail to notice my choice of words :) I bought a handful of books because of cover arts so using the word "shallow" is not really apt :)

  11. I'm going to ignore your other reviews in this series as I still haven't started it yet (I know). I am really looking forward to it. I saw three episodes of True Blood in the States and can't wait for it to be released on dvd. If it deviates that means double the fun in my books!

  12. Hello Rhinoa! I searched for the books after I've seen a couple of episodes of True Blood. And yes, it's double the fun. When I'm reading the books I try to keep the show out of my thoughts :)

  13. the TV series is very different from the book series. but I don't mind. I treat them like different entities, so I don't have to spoil my fund with too much comparing and objecting if something deviates from the book. i've only really completed the first book, and skimmed through the rest. i will have to read the series again, word per word next time.

  14. Hello, Artseblis! Thanks for dropping by this much older post :) While I don't obsess with deviations from adapted works; in this particular case reading the book obviously spoiled the unmasking of the killer which would have gone better for me had I seen the full first season of True Blood without having read a single thing from the book.

    Yes, the tv series is different and I find it way better than the books. Then again, after the fourth installment, the Sookie stories went totally downhill for me.



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