Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris

I admit I love vampire stories. Ever since I saw Christopher Lee as Dracula in a number of those unforgettable Hammer Horror movies, I have loved vampire and horror stories. So, I bought the first book of the Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead Until Dark in order to get my vampire fix. In fact, I have not read a vampire story in quite some time, and this one happened to be on the top of my very very big unread pile of books.

Vampires are out in the open. Their thirst for blood can be quenched by a synthetic blood product, named True Blood. Of course not everyone plays by the rules, but that's a tale for another day. Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in Bon Temps, a small city in the Southern States of the US. Sookie has what she calls a "disability": she can read minds. Enter Bill Compton, whose mind Sookie cannot read. Why? Because Bill has a "disability" of his own: he is a vampire. Add murder into the picture, and you have an urban fantasy mystery novel.

Dead Until Dark is not a horror book; vampire books nowadays can rarely be put among the horror novels. As a book, it did not disappoint me; I was pleasantly surprised by some of the writer's ideas. I liked the idea about the vampire blood being used as a drug or what we learn about Sam. I am certain that Sookie's world has more to offer, and that this was just an introduction to the wonderful world of the night.

I loved the fact that the writer, Charlaine Harris, does not delve into unnecessary detail; Harris always gets to the point, giving the amount of detail that is needed for the story. I did feel that some characters were either underused or not well developed, like Sam for example. I am certain that Sam has a great backstory to his character. I certainly hope he has!. Also, I think that the trio of vampires were also underused, and might have given a bit of more spark to the story, if their relationship to Bill was disclosed or something similar. Another character I thought may need additional characterization, and might also be a more central character is the detective Andy Bellefleur. But it might be that those stories are going to be left for another one of the books.

All in all, I regard this to be an introduction to Sookie's world. And I expect more from the next books in the series. I have not watched the HBO TV series that the books have spawned; I probably will after I have read more of the books, and can compare it to the series.

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