Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark

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...

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Title:Dead Until Dark
Author:Charlaine Harris
Rating:
ISBN:0441008534
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages:292 pages

Dead Until Dark Reviews

  • Shannon (Giraffe Days)
    Apr 16, 2008

    I'd never heard of these books until a few months ago, and as usual, once one person recommends them, everyone seems to be talking about them, you see them everywhere, and you get curious. They're in the fantasy section, though for some bizarre reason I was under the impression, at first, that they were YA and silly. They are fun, but they are definitely for adults. The vampire/mystery style reminds me of the one Anita Blake book I read, the first one, which was horrible (can't say that enough t

    I'd never heard of these books until a few months ago, and as usual, once one person recommends them, everyone seems to be talking about them, you see them everywhere, and you get curious. They're in the fantasy section, though for some bizarre reason I was under the impression, at first, that they were YA and silly. They are fun, but they are definitely for adults. The vampire/mystery style reminds me of the one Anita Blake book I read, the first one, which was horrible (can't say that enough times) - the similarities aren't obvious or anything, but perhaps because

    isn't paranormal romance, and it's not like

    or the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, Anita Blake is the closest comparison.

    Oh but this book is soooooo much better! After a slightly rocky start in which the writing confused me a bit (something that also reminded me of

    , perhaps unfairly), the story really gets going and in new and surprising ways.

    Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress at a bar in Bon Temps in Louisiana. She has what she calls a disability: she can read minds. She's spent her young life trying to guard against the babble of other people's thoughts, and because of the level of concentration that takes she never did particularly well at school and never went to uni. But she likes working at Merlotte's, likes living with her Gran since her parents died, even though she can't have a relationship - it wouldn't be fun hearing what a man thought of you while being "intimate", would it?

    She's also fascinated by vampires and has been waiting to meet one since they "came out of the coffin", so to speak, and became legal citizens. One night her wish comes true: a vampire called Bill (!) comes into Merlotte's and, joy of joys, his mind is silent. She can't hear a thing. Finally a man - an undead man, true - she can relax with.

    But while Sookie and Bill are trying to have a normal relationship, working class women are being murdered in the area and while at first it looks like vampire work, soon the police are looking at Sookie's womanising brother Jason. On top of that, the most powerful (and dead gorgeous) vampire in the area, Eric, has his eye on Sookie and her ability for his own uses.

    is a great mix of urban fantasy and mystery, and the crime side of the story didn't bore me a bit. I loved Bill, he was kinda adorable while also a bit unpredictable and scary (very nice), and while I didn't understand

    the expressions I've seen enough movies set in southern US states that I could picture the people, places and culture fairly well. The book could have done with better proof-reading to catch all those missing prepositions and, at one point, an interesting way of spelling "complexion". There were also a few times where Sookie, who narrates, is musing about something and then another characters replies - it threw me off because it wasn't all that clear that she'd voiced her thoughts.

    Sookie is a great protagonist, lively, fiesty, quirky and strong without being stubborn and bitchy, and her telepathy makes her especially interesting. She's definitely one of the better heroines of vampire novels I've come across to date. I loved Sam too, and Dean was great! Oh and the Elvis thing was funny too, though I was a bit slow in catching on. Anyway, if vampire books aren't your usual cup of tea, you might want to try this series because it's very enjoyable and fast-paced, yet with nice slow moments where you get to enjoy and understand the characters (so good character development, always important). So I guess this means I'm joining the Sookie Stackhouse bandwagon?

  • Trin
    Sep 04, 2008

    Sigh. I tried to give this a fair chance, I really did. I went into it hopeful, despite some other negative reviews that I’ve read, because I quite liked the pilot for

    , the new HBO series based on these books.

    , however, loses points from me right away because the two most interesting characters on the show—Sookie’s cranky best friend Tara, and Lafayette, the fabulous (in every sense of the word) chef at the bar where Sookie works—either completely don’t exist or have only the tin

    Sigh. I tried to give this a fair chance, I really did. I went into it hopeful, despite some other negative reviews that I’ve read, because I quite liked the pilot for

    , the new HBO series based on these books.

    , however, loses points from me right away because the two most interesting characters on the show—Sookie’s cranky best friend Tara, and Lafayette, the fabulous (in every sense of the word) chef at the bar where Sookie works—either completely don’t exist or have only the tiniest of roles, respectively. Lame. Still, I find the basic premise Harris has cooked up intriguing: in this world, vampires have come “out of the coffin” and are public knowledge; they can drink Japanese-manufactured synthetic blood and have basic human rights. (On the show I believe they are still

    toward those rights, but it hasn’t been made entirely clear.) That’s an idea that seems rich with symbolic significance that, correctly handled, could be truly fascinating.

    Instead, as Harris handles it, it’s just another boring romance between a powerful, possessive alpha male and his frail human woman who’s in need of his protection. Sookie isn’t, to be fair, as helpless and hopelessly devoted to her man as Bella

    Swan is, but the basic power dynamic between her and Vampire Bill is still incredibly

    . In general, as a couple, they are boring. So there’s that dullness—bad enough—which Harris proceeds to combine with several shakes of sheer lunacy. Sookie completely under-reacts to incredibly traumatizing things, like waking up with a naked shapeshifter in her bed, or a loved one’s murder. She believes the PR that vampirism is a virus and is

    when someone points out that that doesn’t make sense considering that shapeshifters and telepathy also exist, and, you know, vampires can

    . Despite being telepathic, Sookie’s only able to solve the oh-so-complicated mystery when the killer attacks her. (Handy!) Oh, and Elvis shows up. I am not kidding.

    I wish I were, though. I also wish I was wrong when I say that I can predict pretty much exactly how the rest of this series will go, with Sookie, like a less lubricated Anita Blake, fighting off the affections of two (or more!) men and unable to make up her goddamn mind. Both of those men will devote their (un)lives to protecting her, and Sookie will say, “God! I’m a grown woman, I can take care of myself! I don’t need you to protect me!”—and then, instantly, need them to protect her. And then Kurt Cobain and Jimmy Hoffa will show up to hang out with Vampire Elvis.

    Gimme a break. I can only hope that the show proceeds to more interesting ground, because reading this book, all I could think was: been there, done that, have the lousy fang marks.

  • Fabian
    Nov 11, 2008

    Stephenie Meyer has nuthin' on this woman (understatement). Harris has in one pinky all the talent of the aforementioned hack, and her huge fan base must take note. "Dead Until Dark" is a loud middle finger to all those in deep love (& therefore those with questionable tastes) with the "Twilight" series.

    This book reminds me that not all fiction has to be poetry. This one has a clear plot, it ties together all loose ends. It is enthralling, addictive, everything one wants in the PERFECT paper

    Stephenie Meyer has nuthin' on this woman (understatement). Harris has in one pinky all the talent of the aforementioned hack, and her huge fan base must take note. "Dead Until Dark" is a loud middle finger to all those in deep love (& therefore those with questionable tastes) with the "Twilight" series.

    This book reminds me that not all fiction has to be poetry. This one has a clear plot, it ties together all loose ends. It is enthralling, addictive, everything one wants in the PERFECT paperback novel. If only I knew about it before the HBO series "True Blood" (on which this book, book 1, is based) I would have definitely watch the series, but its occurred vice versa. The series explores characters, has more sex & violence (duh, HBO) but does not touch the same ground this one cleverly hides within its first-look junk-lit verse.

    Sookie is the Everygirl, clever, lost, in love, found, frightened but curious and courageous. Bill the Vampire lacks the Lestatness of those that came after the Rice novel, but it's okay. At least he is not one-dimensional like Edward Cullen.

    Everyone here, it seems, has secrets. The theme.

    There are dark inhabitants of the world, some don't have to be vampires or shapeshifters but humans with deep flaws. Once the mystery is solved (I solved this one way before the climax), this theme comes to light. I wish I was a writer, important, like Charlaine Harris.

  • Vanessa
    Dec 14, 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

    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!

  • Jennifer
    Jan 18, 2009

    The first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

    I confess - I picked this up at the bookstore for a few reasons:

    1. The cover was sparkly and I liked the art.

    2. Vampires! Having spent a huge chunk of my youth hoping the vampires in Anne Rice's novels would knock on my window late at night (shut-up, like you didn't???) I have been looking for the next Brad Pitt with fangs. (shut-up, like you aren't???)

    And yeah. That was all it took. Sparkles and vampires - SOLD.

    I opened up the book and kinda reg

    The first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

    I confess - I picked this up at the bookstore for a few reasons:

    1. The cover was sparkly and I liked the art.

    2. Vampires! Having spent a huge chunk of my youth hoping the vampires in Anne Rice's novels would knock on my window late at night (shut-up, like you didn't???) I have been looking for the next Brad Pitt with fangs. (shut-up, like you aren't???)

    And yeah. That was all it took. Sparkles and vampires - SOLD.

    I opened up the book and kinda regreted it and thought -

    The main character is called (WHAT???) Sookie Stackhouse? And she is blond and a bar waitress and likes to flaunt her tight clothes and tans out in her lawn in a bikini. Hu.

    But I

    almost never stop reading a book once I start so I bravely forged ahead. And suddenly I stopped laughing and the pages started turning and I found myself thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it and wondering how fast I could get the next book....

    So glad that there were sparkles on the cover of this book. So very very glad.

  • Emily May
    Dec 09, 2010

    I started reading this series because I was currently watching True Blood and had developed a slight obsession with Eric. Since then, the books have become an absolute guilty pleasure of mine. They are not the best written and occasionally we get a little too much of what we don't care for (i.e. fairies and shifters) but amid the hot vamp sex and murder mysteries... who really notices those anyway??

    Most characters have both annoying and redeeming qualities, but this is good - I never did like th

    I started reading this series because I was currently watching True Blood and had developed a slight obsession with Eric. Since then, the books have become an absolute guilty pleasure of mine. They are not the best written and occasionally we get a little too much of what we don't care for (i.e. fairies and shifters) but amid the hot vamp sex and murder mysteries... who really notices those anyway??

    Most characters have both annoying and redeeming qualities, but this is good - I never did like the I-can-do-nothing-wrong hero/heroine. Plus Eric is

    ... have I said this already?

    If you're looking for a life-changing experience, try

    , but if you want something light, chick-lit style and kinda sexy too Sookie Stackhouse and her merry band of random supernatural creatures are where it's at. That probably sounded like a cheesy, promotional ad but what the hell.

  • Demo
    Sep 19, 2011

    Some people have asked me why I never read Adult Paranormal Romance books.

    Well,

    is the reason why. Read on, if you feel like snorting with pity-laughter.

    Damn. I wish I could explain

    I had to give this book a one star rating without sounding lame as hell. Because really, it was a stupid reason, one that only I would run into, and I'm 98% certain many of you will roll your eyes at me.

    But I'm going to be honest. Because I'm nothing if not a truthful person.

    T

    Some people have asked me why I never read Adult Paranormal Romance books.

    Well,

    is the reason why. Read on, if you feel like snorting with pity-laughter.

    Damn. I wish I could explain

    I had to give this book a one star rating without sounding lame as hell. Because really, it was a stupid reason, one that only I would run into, and I'm 98% certain many of you will roll your eyes at me.

    But I'm going to be honest. Because I'm nothing if not a truthful person.

    The main reason this book scared the shit out of me was because I'd read it in Catholic elementary school. (Even though I'm not Christian... Yeah, I never understood that either.) For those of you who have no idea what it's like in Catholic school (or at least my school): The closest you ever got to talking about sex were dirty jokes and boys giggling at things that look "wrong." (And the occasional "Your mom!" jokes and laughing at the reproductive chapters of the science text books. We were not the most mature students.)

    Yeah. So

    put this book in the YA section. And me, being the YA lover I was, thought,

    (was a big Twihard) and read it.

    Biiig mistake.

    So 10 year old me was reading the extremely detailed sex scenes in this book with the most horrified expression you could ever imagine on my face. I only kept reading because I wanted to know who the murderer was. (This book is half mystery.) But anyway, it scarred me for life. I can't ever read a sex scene again without thinking back to this book and shuddering.

    Moral of the story: If you're a 10 year old in the library, make sure the book you picked up is not porn before you get it. Because it will traumatize you.

    And yes. So that is why I loathe this book. Lame? Yes. Will my opinion ever change on this book? No.

    Alright, alright, enough of my pitiful childhood stories. There was some other shit in this book that makes me hate it, too.

    For one thing---I did not understand the attraction between Bill and Sookie at

    Seriously. I mean, it was totally lust based---let's forget about the traumatization for a moment. I'm speaking from a non-Catholic-Middle-Schooler perspective now---and no love.

    This is what I got from it:

    SEXLUSTSEXSEXPORNSEXPENISLUSTSEXSEXSEXSEXHOTSEXSEXLUSTSEXLUSTPORNSEXSEXLUSTSEXLUSTLUSTLUSTSEXSEXSEXSEXSEXLUSTLUSTSEXPORNVAGINASEXLUSTPORN..

    Yep. Gather round, children, those are some words of wisdom right there.

    Look, I don't mind romance, not at all. I don't have anything against it and I've grown up since my awful 10th birthday. But you have to have more to a fictional relationship than just sex if you want me to like it. Otherwise, it turns into this trainwreck.

    And by then, I get bored and set the book on fire.

    Then, we also have these other weird things: Like the names. What the hell is up with this: Bill Compton, Sookie Stackhouse, all the other names I didn't bother to remember?! Who the fuck names a vampire Bill? I get the feeling she went on one of those name generators online. I mean like, they're fine to use and all, but if the name sounds to weird, sometimes you should tweak it

    a bit.

    That way, your heroine's name doesn't sound like a kindergarten tongue twister.

    (I could totally make a bitchy joke about Snooki here, but I don't feel like dealing with trolls if I do. But you probably know what I'm implying.)

    Bottom line? I hated this book then, I hate this book now.

    I AM DONE WITH VAMPIRES FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT CENTURY.

  • Bookworm Sean
    Jan 17, 2014

    The television show True Blood was better than this in every sense; it completely transcended it. Well, at least, before the fourth season hit and the writing went down the toilet. But that’s a separate issue altogether. The show took Charlaine Harris’s book and made the story better; it made it sexy and scary. But, let’s not forget that without this there would have been no show whatsoever.

    So fans of the television show do owe a lot to Charlaine Harris. Her writing for me though can be summed

    The television show True Blood was better than this in every sense; it completely transcended it. Well, at least, before the fourth season hit and the writing went down the toilet. But that’s a separate issue altogether. The show took Charlaine Harris’s book and made the story better; it made it sexy and scary. But, let’s not forget that without this there would have been no show whatsoever.

    So fans of the television show do owe a lot to Charlaine Harris. Her writing for me though can be summed up in one word: tepid. She has the characters and some strong ideas, but she just can’t insert life into her prose. Where was the shock factor? Where were the cheap thrills and the melodrama? Normally I’d criticise a book for having these, but this one so desperately needed them! I didn’t find this story remotely exciting; it had no sense of drive, and, again, it lacked the sex appeal of the television show. Perhaps, I may have enjoyed this a little more if I’d read it before seeing all the blood and drama on the screen. Who knows? Either way this just didn’t hit the mark.

    Television Bill was a bit of an enigma, at least, he was at the start. He comes across as a brooding man, troubled by his past and his violent nature. Here, though, he’s just a bit boring. He doesn’t really have a lot about him. He seemed more computer geek than vampire solider. The writers of the show, undeniably, took his character and made it better; they made him interesting and devious. Some super fans will likely disagree with me. But ask yourself this, which Bill is more interesting to hear about? Which one would you rather turn at Merlot’s bar and grill giving you the eye and the fang? He carried with him a dark story, one the show slowly peeled back.

    Then there is the lack of antagonist. Sure, there’s a mysterious serial killer going around stabbing people to death. But, ultimately, he was dealt with rather easily. Again, to compare this to the show, the first season shadows Eric as a sort of bad guy. It was so much more entertaining! I have read much further than this book in the series. In my mid to late teens I managed to get through most of them, and I didn’t really enjoy any of them. I’m not sure why I kept reading them to be honest; it was likely due to a lack of reading material and funds to buy something better.

    True Blood is far from being the peak of television artistry; however, it can be enjoyed for what it is: a dark and mysterious fantasy romance that depicts weird and wonderful characters struggling though their fucked up lives. This here is the story of just Sookie Stackhouse whereas True Blood expands on the side characters and fleshes them out; they were the ones that make it fun. Sookie is just dull, her life is dull, and this book is dull. Even after all these years I can still taste the blandness of the writing. If my seventeen year old self, a self who had read less than twenty books in his life hated this, I dread to think how I would react to it now if I was reading it for the first time.

  • ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
    Oct 08, 2014

    .

    Because of you most of my friends either hate me or think I'm a total freak.

    They think your story is better than candy, I think your story is the most uninteresting ever.

    I was recently told I was snarky and a cold-hearted, impatient cynic (you know wh

    .

    Because of you most of my friends either hate me or think I'm a total freak.

    They think your story is better than candy, I think your story is the most uninteresting ever.

    I was recently told I was snarky and a cold-hearted, impatient cynic (you know who you are people!^^).

    Which might partly explain why I didn't like this.

    Uninteresting at best. Apart from that?

    There is only so much I can read about Sookie's daily life: taking a shower, shaving her legs, plucking her eyebrows, putting on body lotion and deodorant… Seriously?

    Oh but wait, we also get to find out about fascinating stuff like her job at the bar or

    he gets his "khaki Dockers, green and brown striped golfing shirt, polished loafers, and thin brown socks" from Dillard's you see.

    And don't get me started about Uncle Bartlett's prostate problems.

    Something is finally about to happen! Oops, sorry, it's only Sookie going to work again.

    have known each other for about 5 seconds and they're already strolling hand in hand like two lovebirds. Okay, it's a bit silly but I can deal with it.

    Please tell me I did not just read this.

    Someone please shoot me. Again.

    And it goes on and on and on and on…

    Because Sookie & Bill kissing and having sex is about as unsexy as it gets. What are these people made of? Stone? Cardboard? I don't think I've ever read such

    But apparently Sookie doesn't notice because she's

    Needless to say, Sookie and I got off to a bad start.

    The girl is silly, immature and overly naïve. I get that she's supposed to have been sheltered all her life but this is just too much.

    To make things worse she's as emotional as a stone. Did I say that already?

    You got that right! I've never been a big vampire fan but this guy gives the word

    a whole new dimension. What with his

    , corny ways, wanting to settle down, not wanting to drink blood from humans…

    A real badass vampire life! To make things worse he's as emotional as a stone. Did I say that already?

    (yes

    , it's you I'm talking about) with images such as this one:

    By now I think you all realize

    But I'm a nice girl, I really mean no harm.

    I love you all and promise to behave from now on!

  • Mary Beth
    Jan 14, 2017

    3.5 stars

    This is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse Series and I did enjoy it but I don't think I will be continuing with this series. It just did not

    really excite me so much. I guess the main reason why is because I really do not care for vampire stories too much. I thought this would be an exception since there was a mystery in the book, and that was the part that I enjoyed.

    Welcome to the small town of Bon Temps in Louisiana, where a mid twenty, blonde, blue-eyed waitress named Sookie

    3.5 stars

    This is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse Series and I did enjoy it but I don't think I will be continuing with this series. It just did not

    really excite me so much. I guess the main reason why is because I really do not care for vampire stories too much. I thought this would be an exception since there was a mystery in the book, and that was the part that I enjoyed.

    Welcome to the small town of Bon Temps in Louisiana, where a mid twenty, blonde, blue-eyed waitress named Sookie Stackhouse calls home. But she's no ordinary waitress, she has a disability. She's a telepath. This makes life a little difficult for Sookie, particularly the dating part. Imagine ‘hearing’ all your dates thoughts, not always a desirable thing, especially if there scrutinizing you.

    Then one day a stranger arrives in town. He is tall, dark and handsome. And the best part is that, unlike everyone else, Sookie cannot hear his thoughts. But he is not perfect; he is pale, fanged and dead. Enter Bill Compton, vampire.

    What follows is a fun and entertaining story, mixing romance, mystery and vampires, as Sookie and Bill begin a relationship, attempt to solve a number of murders that have coincidently occurred with the arrival of Bill into town, not to mention land her brother in jail, and also begins for her a new, and somewhat unwanted, career with the vampires of Louisiana.

    It’s an enjoyable and effortless read, a book you can easily lose yourself in.