Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Dead Until Dark, sex, blood and romance

Title: Dead Until Dark
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series
Release: May 2001
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance

The book revolves around the 25-year-old northern Louisiana cocktail waitress, Sookie Stackhouse. In the little town of Bon Temps people generally think she is a little weird because, as she calls it herself, she has a bit of a disability. Sookie can read the minds and thoughts of everyone around her, which doesn't improve her love life. In the story some Japanese scientists developed synthetic blood which caused vampires to 'come out of the coffin'. The first time a vampire comes into the bar, Sookie rescues him from the Rattrays, a couple that drain vampires to sell their blood as a drug. She discovers that she isn't able to read the vampires mind and besides vampire Bill being tall, dark and handsome, silence is just what she was looking for in a man. But before romance can develop, Sookie finds one of her colleagues dead with fang marks on her and Sookie is starting to believe that she will soon be next...

Before I began to read the book, I already heard my friends swooning over the male vampire characters and the lusty and sexy feel to the story. That sure got me interested! When I began to read I had a little trouble getting used to the whole vampires 'coming out of the coffin' thing but it just made the story a lot more believable and mature and to my amazement it did not take away any of the mystery of the vampire theme.

I immediately thought it was very refreshing that the writing is so straight forward and that romance doesn't take over the story. This is mainly because, not only Sookie, but most of the characters in the book like to keep things in perspective. Everything is written very rationally and realistically even when the most unimaginable things happen. Sookie just isn't the kind of girl you easily mess with and she learned all the proper manners from her gran, with who she lived ever since her parents died. At the same time she is a bit ignorant and very naive. The whole story is being told in first person, by Sookie, giving you the feeling that you're getting to know her very well.

Although the title of the book suggests otherwise, Dead Until Dark is not at all dark but full of light humor and color full, very recognisable characters. Like Sookie's brother Jason, the rough womanizer with a little heart. And Sam Merlotte, Sookie's boss who has a secret he likes to share with Sookie because he has always been in love with her. It is also not a standard Fantasy story but, as many other books written by Harris, it is more of a Murder Mystery in which vampires just recently became an everyday reality. The small town setting helps with the believability of it all and makes the whole book a lot funnier. Harris even refers to the obsession of the American Civil War and blows new life into the Vampire groupie idea of Anne Rice, complete with a vampire bar closely connected to some intriguing vampire politics. There Sookie meets viking vampire Eric Northman, one of my favorite characters, who seems determined to get her into a lot of trouble. Topping it all off with a cat-eating-unchancy-long-dead-celebrity-vamp and an amazing and unexpected climax, Harris just stole my little bookworm heart.

Conclusion: Dead Until Dark is an incredibly funny, light and believable, mysterious vampire murder mystery with a lot of sex, blood and romance that stole my heart and left me breathless untill the very last page. 
Rating: uuuuu 

I will soon be back with the next Sookie Stackhouse Novel: Living Dead in Dallas! But first I will do a review of Kristin Cashore's Graceling. 

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