Vanessa's Reviews > Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
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Mar 28, 10

Read in December, 2008

After reading a succession of more serious books, I felt the need to read something light and trashy. As I discovered from reading this book, you should be careful what you wish for. Light? Yes. Trashy? Oh yes. Oh yes, yes, yes. But not in a good way - just trash, trash, trash.

It is hard to say what I disliked more about this book - the sophomoric writing, or the annoying, vapid, 2-d, Harlequin-romance-heroine-helpless-twit persona of Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie is a psychic, and this fact is used to explain everything from why she didn't do well at school and became a cocktail waitress to why she spends all of her free time sunbathing to why she can't see an obviously dangerous situation until she's up to her eyeballs in it. It does not, however, explain why she has such bad dress-sense (denim mini jumper dress with yellow bandana hair clip to impress the vampire who comes to dinner; Tweety Bird night gown that drives him wild with desire), or why her sexual naivete comes and goes like a rash - at times she is very confident about her sexual attractiveness (wearing "fuck me" red high heels etc) and other times wondering what Bill the vampire and all of the other men in Louisiana could possibly see in "l'il ole me".

The sex scenes are either squirmingly bad or tedious. After reading two I just had to skip ahead a few pages any time sex with Sookie looked like it was going to rear its ugly and badly-written head.

I know a lot of folks have enjoyed this series, and have devoured every book written by Charlaine Harris. From reading other reviews, it seems to be a very polarizing book. As for me, I could barely choke this one down and will look to satisfy my literary appetites elsewhere.

3/28/10 - After having viewed the first two episodes of the HBO series "True Blood", I can now understand why people have gone bananas over this series of books. The show (what I've seen so far) is exceptionally good, thanks to a great cast and the writing talents of Alan Ball, who has turned a sow's ear into a silk purse. I can see how a reader might enjoy the books if they had viewed at least some of the series first and kept it in mind while reading Charlaine Harris's less than stellar prose. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for me - and while I won't be reading any more of these books, I will continue to enjoy the show!
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Reading Progress

12/15/2008 page 37
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Comments (showing 1-49 of 49) (49 new)

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Michelle Have you been watching TRUE BLOOD on HBO? I haven't started reading the books yet, but I thought the show was fantastic and will have to settle for reading them until next season. I'll be watching for your review. Happy holidays!


Vanessa I no longer get cable, so I will have to wait until the series comes out on Netflix. Happy Holidays to you too - review should be up sometime after Xmas!


Stacie I am sorry you didn't like it. :)


Vanessa No need to apologize! It's just not my taste. Thank you for lending it though!


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed the show a great deal but have heard from a writing stand point that Alan Ball & Co. have made it much more serious, sexy and literate than the source material.


Vanessa I hven't seen the show, but I heard one of the writers interviewed on Terri Gross's program and it sounded interesting, ad I certainly know many folks who have spoken well of it. I think I will try to get it on Netflix when it comes out to see how it compares to the book


message 7: by Heather (new)

Heather Sookie isnt a psychic, she is a telepath...there is a difference, and its clearly noted as such.


message 8: by Eva Lin (new)

Eva Lin vilhjálmsdóttir i guess if u haven't watched true blood this series aren't as godd but I liked it (:


Colleen I agree with you Vanessa, it's a terrible book. I really wanted to like it, but in the end the suffering was to much for me. I just couldn't get past Sookie as a character. I rarely "hate" a character as much as I hated her.


message 10: by Kate (last edited May 07, 2010 10:11PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Kate Heney I really agree with you as well, Vanessa. I actually enjoy True Blood - my guilty pleasure - and was kind of hoping that the books would be better written, as I usually try not to waste my time with vapid reads (If I'm going to read a book, I want it to be worth the time I spend doing it over doing something else, and so I digest delicious and thoughtful reads accordingly - does that make me sound too haughty? I think it's just my way of acknowledging that NOT EVERYONE CAN WRITE!)

It really was disappointing and likely works better as a TV show than as a book series. At least in TV format, vapid works.


message 11: by Rikki (last edited Jun 16, 2010 09:57AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Rikki I agree too. I love True Blood which is why I picked up this book. The Sookie and Bill characters are so annoying I couldnt even finish reading it. I discarded it half way through. I usually dont say this but the TV show is way better than the book!!


message 12: by Sophia (new)

Sophia The beginning books are difficult to get into, but once you're on book 4 (at most) you're hitched, and the books become far better than the show.


Serena I loveeee this review. This series was a disappointment, especially since I was so impressed with the television series. Sookie just annoys me to pieces and has a sort of bipolar sexuality.


Denyce I agree that the HBO series is definitely much better than the books, and I also agree that those of us who are fanatical about the series TrueBlood as I am (no really, I'm insane when it comes to this series), are more likely to enjoy the books as a trickle effect from the show. I can't get enough of the series and with season 3 having ended, the books are providing me my vamp fix regardless of how sophomorically written they are and how much of a turd Sookie is made out to be...


Jennifer Melzer Colleen wrote: "I agree with you Vanessa, it's a terrible book. I really wanted to like it, but in the end the suffering was to much for me. I just couldn't get past Sookie as a character. I rarely "hate" a char..."

It's nice to see I'm not the only one who finds Book Sookie incredibly annoying.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

:) I enjoyed all ten novels so far. Though I have to agree with you...I saw the first two seasons of True Blood and the show definitely made it that much easier to enjoy. Especially Eric ;)


Sheryl You completely summed up how I felt about it. And the fashion comment, LOL. Who could get turned on while a tweety bird night gown was even in the same room?!


message 18: by Kayla (new)

Kayla Eric is AMAZING!!! And I agree with you about Sookie, she is... so annoyly 2-d that I get mad anytime she is mentioned... If you listen to the w she says it often seems like she is a total hypocrite! and can't make up her mind...


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Vanessa, I have to agree with you. I love the show more than the books. The first three books I acquired over Christmas, but I’ve only managed to read the first one. I feel no need to continue on with the series since the show is on. Perhaps one day I will, but for now I’m going to stick with other books.


Alexandria Steelheart I agree. I love the show, but hate the book...


message 21: by Alicia (new)

Alicia I couldn't get past the first two chapters! The writing was so simplistic that, because it was Sookie's first person point-of-view, I immediately attributed stupidity to Sookie. And frankly, I have no desire to be in that dumb girl's head!


message 22: by Kiz (new) - rated it 1 star

Kiz i disagree... the TV show is just as bad as the book.


Megan Gallmeyer I love, love, love the show. Can't stand the book. I felt like I was middle school when reading this book....it was way too easy and left a lot to be desired honestly. =[


message 24: by Sandy (new)

Sandy yeah a 1 star review.... maybe others had a different version.. i just couldnt see where everyone was coming from!!


Myriam I liked the series but I have to admit that this declaration needs to be put in context.
1. I read this book like I would read my horoscope. Open book, deposit brain aside, read.
2. The fact that Sookie started off as a "handicapped" character was nice even though that pretense melted away in about 5 pages.
3. I know this is going to be mean...But...I looked at the author before reading it. Once you do that, you don't see Sookie running in the forest with or away from vampires/werevolves/any other random mythological character. You see Charlaine Harris doing all these things and it takes on brand new dimension...remember: I did say I left my brain at the cover page which may explain why I found this highly entertaining.

The lady is having fun. It's not great writing, far from it but sometimes it makes you laugh...


Ilinca Marcu Damn straight!


message 27: by Hexe (new) - rated it 1 star

Hexe I watched the show True blood first and then started to read the book. What a disappointment! Sookie and Bill are the most boring characters in the show and they are even more boring in the book.


If it ain't good I don't read it ! Heck yeah my thought exactly and I didn't even read the full thing
I don't get why someone would publish it ether there blind or damn right retarded I wasted 20 dollers on this book the bitch was on sale ( now I know why)
And not refunds
Yeah buying it was not my brightest ideas
Lol Anyways I love your review it was exactly what I thought about this book :)


Amanda I bought several of this series in a cheap book sale. I had to borrow the first one of the series from the library since I hadn't read the series. I second a lot of what you said. At first I wondered if it was b/c I had read darker, deeper stuff. Now I wonder if it's just the fact that the writing was so kid-ish. I kept thinking, "this is a grown woman. Why the hell is she acting like an insipid teen?" If I wanted to read that crap, I'd read Twilight. I still want to check out the show.


message 30: by Ilinca (last edited Nov 29, 2012 06:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ilinca Marcu Duh! Because she was stil a virgin in the first book, and hey! what do you expect? like i said, it's only the first book, and it'll get more dark and creepy just how you like it (and me, too) in the following books. Anyway, the show it's more pervy than the book(wich was why i liked it), but there the story it's complicated and it's so much different than in the book (wich i REALLY hated).
So good luck with these fantastic series.


Melissa Ryser I feel the same way about true blood- it is awesome but the books weren't so great, boring actually when compared to the tv show. I stopped reading after the second book and decided to wait for the new seasons instead.


message 32: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Just like the Dexter books; terrible. I totally agree


Pamela Very apt review. I feel if I hadn't watched the show first this boom would have been awful, but because I was already aware of (and attached to) the characters from the (much better written) television show, it was more bearable. As a stand-in while I wait to get the episodes for the show I need to still watch it's fine, but stand-alone it's pretty terrible.


message 34: by Agnes (new)

Agnes I'm reading this series now after being addicted to True Blood, and yes, it is quite the let down. I was expecting deeper and darker stories, but the reality is exactly as you say; the tv show made a silk purse of a sow's ear ;) it's almost like reading a community newsletter on this month's events- no literary value whatsoever except inspiration for one of the most excellent tv series ever.


message 35: by Ilinca (last edited Nov 29, 2012 06:16AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ilinca Marcu it's just that in the tv series there is almost no romantic feelings, no sensual description of this beautiful sentiment that i waited for, unlike the books. So yes, they might be a little boring but they also are more sentimental (the characters and the book itself )


Azb7145 True Blood is definitely better than the books, so far anyway. In the books, I cannot stand the heroine, Sookie is an idiot who I just want to strangle. She is just too stupid to live, IMO. And the writing is so low brow and sophomoric, I wonder about the people who profess to love this series.


Ilinca Marcu Ouch. Harsh much? And that's not fair! they were my first books, give it a break. And now that we're at it let me tell you this, book Sookie resembles a lot True blood Sookie


Ashley Schuster Hahaha! I agree with all of this but, as you mentioned in your update, I'm an avid (sometimes rabid) fan of True Blood so I was able to give her some leeway. At least all her creepy cheerfulness was explained (albeit poorly and superficially) in the book.


Ilinca Marcu Guess you're right... And i kind of feel bad that she has to force that damn smile on her face, but i'm glad that she shows her real feelings when she's with Bill (even if he'll lie to her 'bout why he spent that much time with her and almost forced her to fall in live with him (because after how sweet he was with her it was almost impossible not to!))Any-HOW... I still like book-Sookie better because then i can imagine her prettier and smarter than in the Show, and besides in the books Bill and Eric aren't that heartless that a second after Sookie desapeared Bill's fucking his secretary and Eric's fucking his blood-sister and DAMN if i'm not irritated by that!


Ilinca Marcu I mean, what happened to almost-happily-ever-after?


Misty West Sookie is NOT a psychic.


Ilinca Marcu Wow, good job discovering that, Sherlock. I would've die stupid if you didn't mention that little fact.


Karina I enjoyed this book very much and Im a big fan of the series. Somethings are very different from the tv, but it's also good! Bill is the most boring character in both serie and book, but Sookie just gets better as she gains confidence. She starts as a freak waitress with a mind disorder and became very strong in hers choices. I read the 2nd and I'm finishing the 3rd books and untill now the 3rd is my prefered book. Well I'm not addicted in this kind of reading but I can say that this book openned a door in my mind for other kind of literature. And I've picked it just because I loved tve tv series and need to improve my English. Helps me a lot, I almost didnt need to find words translation. I think it was very good to read.


message 44: by Kelsey (new) - added it

Kelsey Coutts I had the same reaction! Unfortunately the show went downhill and is matching the juvenile tendencies of the books.


Vanessa Uh oh. The last season I saw was the coven one and thought it was pretty poor in comparison with what had come before. I guess all good things come to an end...


message 46: by Iris (new)

Iris Your review was "Good Reads".


message 47: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Couldn't agree with you more. I hate not finishing what I start, but I seem to have the hardest time get past the second chapter and I've only been reading it for a week! All the characters are extremely unlikable, especially Sookie.


Katherine Nestor I like these books. Don't really care what the haters say


Vanessa Good for you - if you like something or don't like something, stick with what you think! I'm not trying to change minds with my reviews - just saying what the reading experience was for me.


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