Saturday, 22 June 2013

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead Until Dark
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publisher: Gollancz
Released: January 1st 2001
Pages: 326 (Paperback)

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability." She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the kind of guy she's been waiting for all her life.

But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire. Worse than that, hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble - of the murderous kind.

And when one of Sookie's colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she'll be next...

Although I adore books, watching television is a guilty pleasure of mine. After I finished watching Supernatural (please don't get me started on how much I adore this show) I was looking for new programmes to watch, and several of my friends suggested I watch True Blood. I liked it - not as much as Supernatural, but it was good. I then found out it originally stemmed from the Sookie Stackhouse series, so I decided to rent the first book out from the library. What a mistake.
Sookie (in the TV shadow, Bill calls her 'Sookeh' so we'll go with that for now) is a waitress with a bit of a bizarre talent: she can read minds, and everyone knows about it. She feels like the odd one out until Bill comes along - Bill the vampire. Around him, Sokkeh can act like she's almost normal - that is, until the vampire world gets its hold on her, and as people she knows start getting murdered, she begins to wonder if she's next on the list.

Okay, I didn't hate the book; it was bearable at points. But it was just a bit...too fantastical? It was kind of like a vampire version of Fifty Shades of Grey, except the main character had a strong Southern Accent and she was the one (not her vampy boyfriend) that banged on about how drop dead (heheheh punny) gorgeous she was. It was so cliché, so boring, so done. I'd seen it all before, and even the supposed 'racy' chapters were dull. I wanted to finish the book, but I didn't enjoy it, exactly.

Sookeh was so annoying. You know that stereotype of a 'dumb blonde'? She was the personification of the phrase. She was gorgeous, and she kept going on about it - I swear every other page she was like, Oh I'm so pretty, Oh look at all these grown men falling all over me, Oh look at how used to it I am. I mean, read the synopsis - it states her prettiness! And she was SO. FREAKING. STUPID. She stated the obvious constantly, and was hypocritical and I was just waiting for Bill to walk out her because of how badly she treated him. He is a VAMPIRE for cheese's sake! Why did she get all angry when he HAD TO GO FEEDING?! Did she want him to die?! She was the most aggravating thing, ugh.

The secondary characters weren't much better, really. They were terribly forgettable, and I guess I was disappointed by the fact that they weren't as flamboyant as they were in the TV show - if I hadn't watched the show before, I don't think I would have had a picture in my mind for what they looked like at all (apart from our dear Sookeh, of course).

The plot was kind of non-existent. You had this murder theme interwoven through it, but a lot of the time, random things happened for absolutely no reason - I mean, goodness knows how many times the author said that Sookeh was going to work where nothing happened - though she did spend a good few paragraphs explaining the obviously intricate outfits she was going to wear. A lot of plot lines just led to a whole load of nothing and fell flat. It was disappointing, to say the least.

I think this is the first time that a TV remake of a book has actually been better than the book itself. If you're intrigued by the plotline, don't read it - go and watch True Blood, because it is infinitely better!
Rating: 2/5

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