Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris is the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series which inspired the TV show True Blood. True Blood is one of my favourite shows, and Eric Northman one of my favourite characters, so I was very late to the party with finally starting the novels. I didn’t physically read this as I have all the audiobooks instead, so was listening to it when I was cooking, driving, or doing housework.
For those who haven’t watched the show or read the books, the story centres around Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in the fictional town of Bon Temps in Louisiana, at a time when vampires have come out to the world and live alongside humans and other supernatural beings. In this first book, women of Bon Temps have been dying and the hunt to find their murderer is on, with the vampires being the prime suspects.
To be completely honest, although I thought it was a simple, light story to switch off to, I didn’t really see the appeal in these books. I’m not sure if I was perhaps projecting too many expectations because I love the TV series so much, whether I was expecting deeper character development, or whether the audiobook narrator put me off a bit, but I got to the end and just thought, ‘Oh, I see. That’s it then?’. It seemed to end on a bit of a whimper. I actually did a double take when the narrator said ‘The End’.
Perhaps because this is one of many in the series there is more character development to come. I do intend to keep listening to the rest and see for myself, as so far it’s all seeming pretty shallow. Yes, the dialogue is a little unreal and cheesy but so is the TV show. It piles on the cheese factor but it’s a part of what makes it unique, so I wasn’t so bothered about the stilted, unbelievable dialogue.
Like I said, the voice acting put me off a little bit, but that’s not the fault of the writer of course. It was just funny trying to listen to a woman pull off the deep voice of a Southern gentleman. And again, no fault of the author, but I was shocked that the character of Tara, Sookie’s best friend in the TV series, was nowhere to be found in this novel.
Anyway, although it lacks some real depth, it’s still a fun little piece of fiction to sit back and switch your mind off to when you feel like something pretty light to read. But, in my view, the uninitiated should just watch the TV series.
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris: 3 out of 5 stars.