Monday, July 11, 2011

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'You're different,' he said. 'What are you?' He seemed to be going through a list of possibilities in his head from the way he was looking at me. To my pleasure, I could not hear a one of them.
'Well. I'm Sookie Stackhouse, and I'm a waitress,' I told him.

Dead Until Dark is the first novel (of 11 to date) in the 'Sookie Stackhouse' series by Charlaine Harris. Orphaned as a child, Sookie and her brother, Jason, are raised by their Gran in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, where as adults they continue to pass their lives. Sookie leads an otherwise uneventful life: She is a waitress in a local bar, but she does possess an interesting gift - The ability to read minds.

Sookie's world is one where vampires are accepted as being real and have assimilated into the community, with the mainstream opinion being that they are the victims of a rare virus. Sookie comes face to face with her first vampire when Bill Compton returns to his family home in Bon Temps - more than 100 years after his "death". This chance meeting with the vampire Bill sets in motion a series of heartstopping events - of the romantic, destructive and life-threatening kind.

My first impression of Dead Until Dark was that Harris' style was so simple it bordered on amateur, but by the time I'd reached the hundredth page I was totally, unequivocally, unrepentently hooked. The storyline and writing style may be uncomplicated, but the story is written from the point of view of Sookie, and what is so likeable about her is that she is a completely uncomplicated character.

I enjoyed this novel not because it's a literary masterpiece, but because it's the exact opposite and yet still suckered me in. Dead Until Dark is a light yet gratifying snack of a novel: The story flows effortlessly from one page to the next, and is not weighed down by heavy descriptive or emotional text. Harris easily draws the reader into Sookie's dark and mysterious existence, the confines of her mind being an intriguing (and sometimes amusing) place in which to spend 300-odd pages of book.

It may be "vampire trash", but it's terribly good vampire trash, and I'm looking forward to starting the next installment.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'll get this -at the moment I'm reading Dean Koontz-spooky of course,and fine until I turn off the light to get to sleep!!


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