Stephanie's Reviews > Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
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's review
Apr 19, 2011

did not like it
Read from April 13 to 19, 2011

Oh, where to begin with this book...

I have read some truly atrocious writing, but this is by far the worst I have ever read.
Not for content or context (though ridiculous as it was), but for the actual writing itself.

Right from the start, the author bombards you with trivial descriptions. Hurriedly she lets you know what everyone in town looks like by comparing in pairs; for each person introduced, they are only described by being compare/contrasted to the next person she introduces.
Also, she prattles! So much! She writes as if she was trying to gossip with me! Everything is in a rush and without imagination. As if it is enough to give you details and be done- who needs depth?
And she made sure everyone in town worth mentioning was at the bar right at the beginning of the book. Just get them all out of the way.

I must also say, I cannot stand first person narrative at this point. First person does not consciously know that their eyes are "screwing together" or that their lips pull back in a wince.
No one think about what their impulses are- that is why they are impulses.
A 3rd person can tell me what someone's eyebrows are doing or that someone's ears wiggle, because we need the physical descriptors to tell us what is going on.
If you are telling the story about yourself- just tell me what you're feeling! Don't try and describe your skeptiscism by how your chin tilted. Tell me by saying "i was skeptical."
That is why you are first person. You can tell me directly.

Her writing is like that of a jr high short story. Too many cliches like the eyes screwing together. I've heard that in every bad YA novel I've ever read. It's lazy.

It's so cheesy!
The main character jumps between being a shy simple prude to a mentally oversexed vixen. And either way she is wearing a banana clip.
And the sex! Ahhhhh! I was embarrassed for the author! Is this really what she thinks is sexy?
Is this really what make's women's panties tingle?

Here is a scene where Sookie tells Bill his vampire friends are dead, and he's wigging out about it
"As I comprehended my own danger, Bill gripped my upper arms. He pulled me to him, slowly. There was no point in struggling, in fact I senses that would only excite Bill more." ... "...I could taste his rage. Directing that energy in another way might save me. I leaned in that inch and put my mouth on his chest. I licked the rain off, rubbed my cheek against his nipple, pressed myself against him."

*Sigh. Ok.
So her response to "oh, he might kill me now" is to direct the energy to his nipple? Seriously?
So BAD!!!
And it gets worse:

"He slid directly into me as if he were trying to reach through me to the soil. I shrieked, and he growled in response, as though we were truly mud people, primitives from the caves."

Mud people?!
And hahahahaha trying to reach to the soil. They're doing it in a cemetery, BTW, which I don't understand how after he crawled out of the ground (he was sleeping out of the sunlight in the dirt) and they started shagging that she didn't describe a yeast infection 3 pages later.
"I thought I would be plowed into this mud, into my own grave."


And she keeps catching me off guard with the sex! One minute they're talking, the next they're banging.
I played a little game with myself and said out loud to my fiance when a sex scene came up. In one chapter, I said "they're doing it again" 4 times.
4 times!
And I was ill prepared each time!
And it wasn't even GOOD!
Bill is always wanting to do her at the weirdest times! Oh, a vampire just tried to kill you and you're now covered in his blood because someone killed him? Surrender your minge.
And maybe because she knows she's a shitty writer? She leads off with "'I don't know if I can do it anymore.' Turns out I could."
Lazy Lazy LAZY!

And Bill is always brushing/washing/braiding her hair! What a gay vampire!

And for a fraction of a second Sookie is grossed out by her voluntary necrophilia when Sam says "yeah, Bill really is dead and it's not a vampire-making virus that he's got" she vomits.
That's it.
Just a little "meh" of ew about having dead-mud-guy sex and on she moves.

This book keeps being sold as a "supernatural murder mystery." No. No it isn't. Yes there is someone killing people, but it seriously is an after thought to the rest of the monstrosity that is Sookie and Bill's love affair. "Oh, Bill is hot. Oh, someone killed my Gran. Oh, mud sex"
Also to note- when she finds her grandmother dead, seconds later, she is laughing about Bill's shirt.
I think the author was trying to portray how out of it Sookie was at that point, how detached, but it did not translate well.
Does no one proofread your work?
Do you have no honest friends in your life?
How did this book HAPPEN?!

I read this book because I love the series (very cheesy as well, I know, but at least HBO knows how to write sex!) and though I've read tons of bad reviews, I didn't fully understand just how bad this book could be.
Worst book ever.
I know I've said that about a few, but I said those before I read this one.
I'm not sure how I can top it.
I can't get the taste of awful out of my brain!

HBO really REALLY fixed this mess. I have no idea what they saw in this that was worth making into a show.
And it sucks even more that for all the work HBO does to IMPROVE- VASTLY the crap that is her writing, she is banking on it.
How! How did this happen?!

And Elvis. Don't even get me started on the vampire formerly-known-as-Elvis who is now Bubba and eats cats.
Just don't.

Do NOT read this crap- please do not. I want her to stop. I will never be reading another book of hers again.
Those quotes I gave? There are many MANY more snippets like that. That just made me laugh the most.
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Reading Progress

60.0% "Painful- just painful"
05/23 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Stephen Outstanding!!!!

message 2: by Tyson (new)

Tyson Ah. I am a big fan of the TV series too and was thinking of checking these books out. But now I won't. That writing you quoted is truly horrendous.

Stephanie The TV series is SO much better- she had a great idea. Synthetic blood means the vampires get to come out to play.
But the suspense? The development? Not here.
And she had apparently been a writer before she made this book?
The book is nothing like the series- in story line and in quality.

message 4: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Well, at least you laughed at the parts you did not like. If this is the worst book you have ever read, count yourself lucky. There is so much worse out there - try reading Twilight if you want to end up shouting in frustration at a book and wishing you could suffer some kind of stroke to kill of the braincells which hold the memory of what you have just read.

Azb7145 The premise is interesting, but CH screwed it all up with Sookie being such an irritating character, and also with how CH dissed the fascinating character of Bill Compton. She lost me completely when she made Bill do so many awful things to Sookie, even though CH has said on many occasions that Bill was not to blame, she still effed it up badly.

message 6: by Ck (new)

Ck You made me laugh so hard! Finally someone who goes more deeply into the awfulness of the sex scenes. Is this what Harris fantasizes about? Now I wonder if shes even married....

Lisa MH I had a similar reaction to the cemetery scene. My first thought was, "Really? No, really?!?!"

message 8: by Steven (new) - added it

Steven K This is the funniest review I've read.

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