Enter Our Giveaway/s!

We Can Also Be Found On:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Dead Until Dark (The Southern Vampire Mysteries #1) by Charlaine Harris


Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.

Amazon LipsB and N LipsGoodreads lips

My Review:

In 2001, writer Charlaine Harris published a book that has given a massive boost to the vampire cult following. Unfortunately for her it was widely overlooked by the masses until 2009 when a HBO show titled True Blood was released, causing massive vampire uproar. People began leaving Twilight and its sparkly vampires behind in search of the gritty, bloody, and ancient vampires in the swamps of Northern Louisiana.

While I wish I were here to write about the success of True Blood, which in my opinion might be easier at this point, it is the first book of The Southern Vampire Mysteries: Dead Until Dark that brings us here today. The question I asked myself when I began this book was whether it lived up to all the hype. The series has a cult following on fan fiction sites, it has a growing collection of fan sites for each character, but do those things add up to a great story, or were they created to fill something that the readers feel is missing?

Dead Until Dark is written in first person perspective by its heroine, Sookie Stackhouse. We find out almost immediately what makes Sookie different from any character; she is a telepath. While some might think it is an amazing and special gift to hear the inner workings of another person’s mind, Sookie feels it is her curse and one of her darkest secrets. She has hidden her gift from almost everyone, with exception of close friends and family who guessed there was something ‘not right’ about her early on. She works as a waitress in Merlotte’s, a bar and grill, that serves the moderately lower class people that live in her fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.

From an outsider looking at her life, it seems pretty normal: she is a young woman in her mid-twenties, living with her grandmother to help make ends meet, she does chores to help out, goes to work for extra income, but there is something about the world Charlaine Harris created that has everyone on a bit of edge. Vampires are real. They live out in the open for the first time since their creation, and they basically have the same rights and freedoms as the humans they used as a food source before the creation of synthetic blood.

While a small town like Bon Temps is running short on people in general, they are obviously running extremely low on vampires, a group of blood-drinking citizens who lack the polish of their perceived image of creatures no more dangerous than a house cat; however, their world is changed when Vampire Bill Compton moves to town.

Sookie, naïve to the dangers a vampire might actually possess, is instantly drawn to Bill Compton. With her gift of telepathy, she is constantly bombarded by the thoughts of the humans around her, but vampires are essentially dead. Bill Compton has no thoughts she can hear. Through the vampire’s seductive ways, Sookie falls in love. That is what it all comes to, right, naïve human girls falling in love with vampire bad boys? Fortunately, Bill Compton is not a bad boy, but actually a brooding and mysterious, Civil War soldier who never got home before he was turned into his current state.

The book goes on and on. It has a handful of murders police can’t solve, but of course Sookie, a barely educated, telepathic, waitress can solve them. The most horrifying part of the book isn’t the drab, poor city they live in, or even the fact vampires are roaming free to kill and feed like actual creatures of the night; it is the horrible wardrobe choices this poor girl makes in hopes of attracting a man and finally losing her virginity. There has to be some person roaming through the stacks of accessories at Goodwill looking for yellow banana clips and multi-colored scrunchies somewhere, right?

It isn’t all terrible. Yes, the writing is poor. Yes, the character’s imbalance from wanting to be a sexual deviant to a child-like schoolgirl is annoying. However, we do meet some interesting characters along the way. Eric, a millennium old Viking with a hard-on for blondes, Pam, his beautiful “friend”, and Sam, a shape shifter who has a good heart are all on the list. The dialogue from those characters and events surrounding them is the only thing that salvages the book in any way leading me to give Dead Until Dark one, lonely kiss. In a series that will soon have twelve books under its belt, there are better ones in the series more worthy of your time and thanks to Harris’ overly descriptive nature, everything you missed will be cleanly laid out for you in the next book.


1. Short read with only 233 pages

2. If you like everything being laid out to you from eye rolls to sighs…this is the book for you.

3. Eric, Pam, and Sam give you a sense of how “other” the world they live in really is.


1. Tedious to read. It takes a LONG time for the book to pick up and developments in the plot to take hold.

2. Sookie is a bland character without very much growth or development. She might be in her mid-twenties, but she was not a sheltered girl, thanks to her telepathy, and she should have an advanced knowledge of the mechanics of sex and courting.

3. Bill is another horribly bland character. While he might have some people ready to hand over their blood for the opportunity to be immortal, I am not one of them.

4. The description of wardrobe choices. I had much rather have let the author left it up to my imagination by saying “Walmart apparel” than get a head to toe description that might put some of the photos on PeopleofWalmart.com in a best-dressed list.




I’D BEEN WAITING for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar. Ever since vampires came out of the coffin (as they laughingly put it) four years ago, I'd hoped one would come to Bon Temps. We had all the other minorities in our little town—why not the newest, the legally recognized undead? But rural northern Louisiana wasn't too tempting to vampires, apparently; on the other hand, New Orleans was a real center for them—the whole Anne Rice thing, right?

It's not that long a drive from Bon Temps to New Orleans, and everyone who came into the bar said that if you threw a rock on a street comer you'd hit one. Though you better not.

But I was waiting for my own vampire.

You can tell I don't get out much. And it's not because I'm not pretty. I am. I'm blond and blue-eyed and twenty-five, and my legs are strong and my bosom is substantial, and I have a waspy waistline. I look good in the warm-weather waitress outfit Sam picked for us: black shorts, white T, white socks, black Nikes.

But I have a disability. That's how I try to think of it.

The bar patrons just say I'm crazy.

Either way, the result is that I almost never have a date. So little treats count a lot with me.

And he sat at one of my tables—the vampire.

I knew immediately what he was. It amazed me when no one else turned around to stare. They couldn't tell! But to me, his skin had a little glow, and I just knew.  I could have danced with joy, and in fact I did do a little step right there by the bar. Sam Merlotte, my boss, looked up from the drink he was mixing and gave me a tiny smile. I grabbed my tray and pad and went over to the vampire's table. I hoped that my lipstick was still even and my ponytail was still neat. I'm kind of tense, and I could feel my smile yanking the corners of my mouth up.

He seemed lost in thought, and I had a chance to give him a good once-over before he looked up. He was a little under six feet, I estimated. He had thick brown hair, combed straight back and brushing his collar, and his long sideburns seemed curiously old-fashioned. He was pale, of course; hey, he was dead, if you believed the old tales. The politically correct theory, the one the vamps themselves publicly backed, had it that this guy was the victim of a virus that left him apparently dead for a couple of days and thereafter allergic to sunlight, silver, and garlic. The details depended on which newspaper you read. They were all full of vampire stuff these days.

Anyway, his lips were lovely, sharply sculpted, and he had arched dark brows. His nose swooped down right out of that arch, like a prince's in a Byzantine mosaic. When he finally looked up, I saw his eyes were even darker than his hair, and the whites were incredibly white.

"What can I get you?" I asked, happy almost beyond words.

He raised his eyebrows. "Do you have the bottled synthetic blood?" he asked.

”No, I'm so sorry! Sam's got some on order. Should be in next week."

"Then red wine, please," he said, and his voice was cool and clear, like a stream over smooth stones. I laughed out loud. It was too perfect.

"Don't mind, Sookie, mister, she's crazy," came a familiar voice from the booth against the wall. All my happiness de-flated, though I could feel the smile still straining my lips. The vampire was staring at me, watching the life go out of my face.

"I'll get your wine right away," I said, and strode off, not even looking at Mack Rattray's smug face. He was there almost every night, he and his wife Denise. I called them the Rat Couple. They'd done their best to make me miserable since they'd moved into the rent trailer at Four Tracks Corner. I had hoped that they'd blow out of Bon Temps as suddenly as they'd blown in.

When they'd first come into Merlotte's, I'd very rudely listened in to their thoughts—I know, pretty low-class of me. But I get bored like everyone else, and though I spend most of my time blocking out the thoughts of other people that try to pass through my brain, sometimes I just give in. So I knew some things about the Rattrays that maybe no one else did. For one thing, I knew they'd been in jail, though I didn't know why. For another, I'd read the nasty thoughts Mack Rattray had entertained about yours truly. And then I'd heard in Denise's thoughts that she'd abandoned a baby she'd had two years before, a baby that wasn't Mack's.

And they didn't tip, either.

Sam poured a glass of the house red wine, looking over at the vampire's table as he put it on my tray.  When Sam looked back at me, I could tell he too knew our new customer was undead. Sam's eyes are Paul Newman blue, as opposed to my own hazy blue gray. Sam is blond, too, but his hair is wiry and his blond is almost a sort of hot red gold. He is always a little sunburned, and though he looks slight in his clothes, I have seen him unload trucks with his shirt off, and he has plenty of upper body strength. I never listen to Sam's thoughts. He's my boss. I've had to quit jobs before because I found out things I didn't want to know about my boss.

But Sam didn't comment, he just gave me the wine. I checked the glass to make sure it was sparkly clean and made my way back to the vampire's table.

"Your wine, sir," I said ceremoniously and placed it carefully on the table exactly in front of him. He looked at me again, and I stared into his lovely eyes while I had the chance. "Enjoy," I said proudly.

* * * * *




Posted by:
K R Y S T L E Red heart

1 comment :

  1. Great review, Krystle! I totally agree - Sookie 'saw' it all with her telepathy and she should've been more sex savvy. And you hit it on the nail! I hate how CH 'retells' the story to death in the next book in the series. Ugh! LOL


We would love to hear your thoughts! Please comment below.