Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
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Jul 19, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: urban-fantasy, audiobook, guilty-pleasure
Read from May 21 to 24, 2013

Sookie Stackhouse is a barmaid living in a small town in Louisiana. She has a special talent - she can read minds - that tends to get in the way of her social life, aka her dating life. This all changes when Bill Compton enters the bar. He's a hot looking guy - AND she can't read his mind because he's a vampire.

There was a time when I wanted to read all the urban fantasy books in the bookstore, so I pretty much picked up the first book in every series. Then I realized that there were others already reading urban fantasy, that there was good and bad urban fantasy and that I needed variety in my reading or I would go nuts. This is how I bought "Dead Until Dark".

So it's been sitting on my shelf for a few years. Recently, I needed something light-hearted and funny as a break from the Anita Blake series (which is Intense, Deep, Meaningful "Urban Fantasy"). Someone suggested this series, and I found an audiobook version to read.

"Dead Until Dark" is fun and unassuming. It isn't going to blow your mind away with wonderful writing (aw, hell no!), intricate plots (definitely not), or a completely unique take on the vampires thing, but that's not what I wanted. I just wanted something FUN. Something CUTE. And that's what this book was to me.

The characters are pretty good. I liked the Southern charm and flavor in them. OK, what I REALLY liked was how Sookie was not the only female in this entire world and she was not the only GOOD CAPABLE female in this world. After reading Anita Blake's increasingly sexist series (in which the only woman who can do anything and is NOT evil is practically Anita Blake) along with several other books composed mostly of a male cast, I was pleased as punch to see several other women in this book. We have Gran, Sookie herself (Duh), Arlene, Kenya, Portia, and more - all of these women were competent (in their own ways), and I didn't have to hear Sookie's constant ragging on them for how weak and pathetic they were in comparison to her.

One thing that bugged me, character-wise, was the on-again, off-again relationship between Sookie and Bill. They get together and break up like twice in this book. Talk about moodwhiplash! I am OK with Sookie moving on or not wanting to be with Bill (he is dangerous after all, being a vampire), but can't we have a couple of books with them together before busting them apart?

The mystery was lacking; I really feel this book is supposed to be more of a cozy, like Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. Which is OK for what it is; definitely don't go into this expecting a complicated, intricate mystery that will take Holmesian skill to solve!

As for Harris''s okay. It's not particularly bad per se, even if at points I went into spasms thinking she was borrowing some of Laurell K. Hamilton's favorite words, but it's not noteworthy.

If you are tired of reading intense urban fantasy where characters are dark and grim and Deep and Meaningful, then give this book a shot. It's funny, fun, cute - and doesn't require much brain cells for reading.
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Reading Progress

05/21/2013 marked as: currently-reading
5.0% "At least Sookie isn't ashamed or afraid to say she's pretty. Kinda spasming though when I heard that vampires were recently made legal - getting Anita Blake vibes!!" 3 comments
11.0% "The book is starting to grow on me. I think the narrator with the charming Southern accent helps. Also, I don't get the vibe that Sookie is anywhere near as pretentious and b!tchy as Anita, so that helps SO BAD." 7 comments
17.0% "I'm sooooooooooooooo glad these vampires aren't the hyper-sexualized wack-jobs like in the Anita Blake novels. Oh, and that Bill doesn't wear thigh high black boots over black leather pants with a frilly white shirt open to show a nipple. VERY GLAD." 9 comments
24.0% "These vampires are legitimately creeping me out - instead of Anitaverse vampires that mustache twirl and make sexual comeons, but are then easily wiped out."
30.0% "I like how A) Sookie knows she's pretty and isn't ashamed of it and B) Sookie likes to look at attractive men and isn't ashamed of it. Wow, a woman with a sex drive - whowoulda thunk?!" 6 comments
34.0% "I'm really liking how this mystery is unfolding. Very natural, not stilted, and seems to be woven through the narrative. Overall, this book is impressing me."
44.0% "No, this isn't the most intelligent read in the world, but it's fun. I'm enjoying it and that's what it's all about."
50.0% "OK, that sex scene was kinda sexy AND a bit goofy - aftershocks?! Really?! After Anita Blake, I NEVER WANT TO READ ABOUT SPASMING OR AFTERSHOCKS IN SEX EVER." 2 comments
51.0% "OK, I have to interject one thing about the sex in this book: THANK THE MAKER that the characters in this book don't talk for F@#$ING HOURS before having sex! They make out, consent, and have sex - no whinging forever about their stupid love lives and all that sh!t. THANK YOU CHARLAINE HARRIS!!!"
55.0% "'S a little more serious than I was expecting. Sookie was molested as a child?! Uhhhhhhhh..."
59.0% "What Sookie and Bill get together, have sex, are a couple for awhile, then break up?! Within a few chapters IN THE SAME BOOK? HUH???" 5 comments
71.0% "And now she and Bill are back together?! HUH??? Come on, girl, pick a man and stick with him a couple books at least, geez!!" 5 comments
78.0% ""For a second, I felt ashamed at calling Bill to rescue me. I should have handled the situation myself. Then I thought, Why? When you know a practically invincible being who professed to adore you, someone so hard to kill it's next to impossible, someone preternaturally strong THAT'S who you're gonna call." HALLELUJAH!! FINALLY!! Why do SO FEW UF women do this??? Their BF is a VAMPIRE for space's sake!"
81.0% "Oh's Elvis!! Narrator doesn't do a half bad job with the accent either :)"
88.0% "I shoulda seen that Sam was the dog from the beginning...what a moron! At least Sookie doesn't have to have Sam spell it out for her like Anita would. "Woof" "What do you mean, Sam?" "I mean that I'm partially canine." "What does THAT mean, Sam?" "It means, Anita, that I can change into other animals." "You mean, you are a shapechanger?!" "Yes, I can be a dog or anything." "Does size matter?" UGH."
93.0% "I almost wish we would have spent more time on the murder mystery - I have a feeling the culprit is going to be an @$$-pull."
05/24/2013 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-34 of 34) (34 new)

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message 1: by Brie (new) - rated it 1 star

Brie Oh lord, if you hate're not gonna like Sookie much more...

Crystal Starr Light Eh, I've been meaning to heck this series out - at least give the books a chance, I figure :/

message 3: by Brie (new) - rated it 1 star

Brie Crystal Starr Light wrote: "Eh, I've been meaning to heck this series out - at least give the books a chance, I figure :/"

Fair enough, but I'll leave you this warning: she hasn't been dubbed "Sookie Snatchouse" without good cause.

Hell, I created an entire shelf just to categorize the phenomenon that is Sookie.

Amanda Whoa, I've never heard that name for her before now. She only sleeps with 4 men through the entire 13 book series. How is that a "snatchouse?" I'm genuinely curious.

message 5: by Brie (new) - rated it 1 star

Brie I can't take credit for her being dubbed "Snatchouse", but I can take a guess that it came about the same way as my shelf named "vagina-is-magic." Meaning that I, personally, found nothing terribly appealing about the character, yet all these guys were falling on themselves and risking life, limb and reputation to be with her. Also known as Vagina is Magic Syndrome.

It's not a slut-shaming term, which would be hypocritical of me.

Crystal Starr Light I REALLY don't like it when you have a main character whom everyone falls for, and yet the MC is just so boring or horrible you wouldn't be friends with him/her in real life, not in a million years. For instance, Anita Sue gets men by sneezing, but she has the most abrasive personality ever.

message 7: by Brie (new) - rated it 1 star

Brie I find Sookie to be spineless, judgmental and boring. I've only gotten to book 6 or so in the series, and I've been told she supposedly grows through the rest of the series, but I pretty much *headdesk* the whole time all these sexy dudes are chasing this dismal vacuum of a heroine.

Amanda The whole Magic Vagina Syndrome makes a lot of sense. I had never heard that before but I agree Sookie falls into that category. I enjoyed the first few books in the series but they are far from excellent. The term Snatchouse had me confused though since I had never heard it. I had read those books long before I got on Goodreads. Thank you for explaining it.

Barbara (VampAngel) These are mindless fun little books, or at least they were until book 8. After that they are crappy and not fun at all. Sookie used to be fun and I liked her, now I'm not really that fond of her and it has nothing to do with her magic vag.

Crystal Starr Light Ha ha ha!! Well, I'm super up for a fun vampire series, so I'm definitely excited about these Sookie books. After Anita Blake, I definitely need some fun!!

Barbara (VampAngel) I'm excited for you. I used to love this series. I remember counting the days until book 9 came out and then it all went to hell. But you still have 8 books of fun to read. It will be a pleasant ride! Plus, you might enjoy book 9-13. Some people do!

Crystal Starr Light It actually pleases me to no end that this series actually has an END. That Charlaine Harris is done with the Sookie Stackhouse novels. And that also really encourages me to read the series - I won't be strung along for years to come, waiting for everything that I loved about the characters and setting to be destroyed by an author milking the cash cow.

Barbara (VampAngel) It's my favorite thing to find a long series of good books that are finished. It's rare, but oh so much fun. If you know of any other one, let me know!

Crystal Starr Light If I can think of any, I will let you know! Seems like most series that I can think of off the top of my head are either trilogies or are continuing.

Barbara (VampAngel) Have you read the Kate Daniels series? It's still on going, but it's the best urban fantasy has to offer. The heroine is my favorite heroine ever and the humor and banter is priceless. The first Kate book is mediocre, but fun. However, I was warned about that so I'm so glad I kept at it because books 2 to 5 are beyond awesome. I have recommended it to everyone I know and I don't know anyone who didn't fall in love with Kate and Ilona Andrews writing.

Barbara (VampAngel) Oh and do yourself a favor and stay away from True Blood. It's just awful. The first season was okay, but after that it's just as bad as Anita Blake.

Crystal Starr Light I have the first Kate Daniels book, but I haven't read it (yet). I found that the first few pages of the first book were a bit tough to get through, so I put it aside. I'll have to give it a second shot - I've heard from so many how good it is!

And thanks about True Blood - again, I've seen it around, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to invest the time in it. Now, I'll just save my time to watch something I like :)

message 18: by Brie (new) - rated it 1 star

Brie See, what's amusing is I actually LOVE True Blood more than the Snatchouse books. I think by now most people are one or the other, not both. I will admit that what I've seen of season 5 has been...awful and stupid.

There are a lot of differences between the show and the books and in a lot of ways I prefer the changes they made for the show, I felt it improved the overall concept and story idea.

It might be because I have a deep love and affection for Skarsgard and Manganiello....

Crystal Starr Light I've done that before; I like the movie of "Memoirs of a Geisha" more than the book, for example. And the movie of "The Notebook" is waaaaaaay better than the book.

I might still give it a shot, especially if Netflix has it available to stream. Why not at least try the first episode - no harm there!!

message 20: by Brie (new) - rated it 1 star

Brie Of course the movie of "The Notebook" was better than the book, Nicholas Sparks is a sappy fuck! Plus, Hellloooooo Ryan Gosling! :D

For what my two-cents is worth, I hate the first season of True Blood. I'm sitting there watching it constantly saying, "What. The. Fuck." But it got better with season 2, and season 4 has been my favorite.

Barbara (VampAngel) I'm the complete opposite. I enjoyed the first season. It was faithful to the book and a lot of fun. However, season 2 onwards became so crazy and crappy that I was shocked. I think the quality of the show has been declining with each season. It's completely different from the book but in a horrible way. It's over the top campy and TV Sookie is one of the most horrible heroines ever. She's whiny and spineless and annoying. I like book Sookie, she's a proper heroine. Plus, TV Sookie has a magical vag way worse then book Sookie. The only saving grace of the show is Alexander Skarsgard, but even his supreme hotness cannot save that train wreck.

Barbara (VampAngel) I think that if you're a fan of the books you won't enjoy the show and if you don't like the books, you'll enjoy the show, I guess.

Barbara (VampAngel) Oh and TV Sookie is completely useless and helpless. Book Sookie can kick some ass. I respect book Sookie and detest TV Sookie. There is nothing I hate more than an useless "heroine".

Barbara (VampAngel) Although, there is plenty of hot men on the show. So, the man candy thing helps the show a lot. ;)

Crystal Starr Light Now I am DYING to see what I think of the show!! This far, I've enjoyed the book - will I like the show or dislike it?

Oh, and I'll be superficial and say hot men can DEFINITELY improve a movie or TV show (aforementioned Ryan Gosling in "The Notebook" melts my heart!!).

message 26: by Barbara (VampAngel) (last edited May 23, 2013 07:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Barbara (VampAngel) I concur. Hot men help a lot. That's why I did watch 4 seasons of the show, although I bitched about it all the while. Ryan Gosling is supreme on The Notebook. Damn, he's so fine! And Alexander Skarsgard as Eric is just delicious!

I think you'll probably enjoy the show for a little while. But I doubt you'll enjoy the later seasons. I think the show is fun until the middle of season 2 then it's all downhill from there. I'm curious to know your opinion. However, I'd advise you to read the books before trying the show. That way you can see how Alan Ball screwed everything up. He had cool material to work with and he didn't use it. That makes the show even more horrible, imo.

Amanda I agree with Barbara. Season 1 of TB is the best one. Season 2 gets ridiculous and Season 3 was just horrible. I stopped watching after that.

Renee Yuck after re reading this series I cant stand Sookie, yeah sure they make out before having sex but the sex scenes are ridiculous, I am almost positive the author has never actually HAD sex. lol

message 29: by Brie (new) - rated it 1 star

Brie Renee wrote: "Yuck after re reading this series I cant stand Sookie, yeah sure they make out before having sex but the sex scenes are ridiculous, I am almost positive the author has never actually HAD sex. lol"

Yes! Thank you!

Crystal Starr Light LOL! I've only read one sex scene, so I can't really speak with authority on them - yet. But if they all include "sparks of white and gold streaks" and "aftershockers", then yes, they will end up as ridiculous as LKH's sex scenes in my book!!

Crystal Starr Light And of course, I just came off Anita Blake and the Five Hour Long Talk Scenes before the weird werebeast sex scenes, so I am definitely NOT the person to be an authority on this LOL!

Barbara (VampAngel) Are you going to continue reading the series? If so I'll look forward to your comments and reviews. And I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Crystal Starr Light Definitely! It's intriguing, engaging, light-hearted, and fun - perfect for what I need right now. We'll see how far I go, but I'll probably go to the very end like I do with series I start!

Barbara (VampAngel) I can't wait. It's fun watching someone enjoy a long book series that you enjoyed too!

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