Monday, January 24, 2011

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

I had already watched the first season of True Blood before I picked up this novel, and I was a little worried I might get bored knowing the answer to the mystery. Gladly, I was mistaken. Although the essential plot is the same, the book exclusively follows Sookie Stackhouse’s point of view. It’s cleaner, neater, and more enjoyable than watching the escapades of the secondary characters from the tv show. Several of those characters were not in the book at all, while others were merely altered. Dead Until Dark and True Blood are both great entertainment, but if I had to pick, I prefer the book.

What I loved about Dead Until Dark is the lush style of Charlaine Harris’ writing-- her characters are sensual and her words are decadent. The style and setting are decidedly reminiscent of Anne Rice. The Louisiana setting is an obvious connection, but they both have a way of writing that gets your temperature climbing and your mind wandering... umm... south. Since the vampires in this universe can and do have intercourse, the erotic element has plenty of opportunity to shine. Charlaine Harris managed the tension with aplomb, and the book toes the line between sexy and raunchy. Sookie Stackhouse is a tantalizing mix of sweet and steamy, and that balance carries beautifully through the book.

Charlaine Harris also manages to incorporate a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor in Dead Until Dark. After a particularly heated tumble with Bill, Sookie thinks, “This was pretty exotic stuff for a telepathic barmaid from northern Louisiana.” I loved that line because that telepathic barmaid is pretty exotic in her own right. The humor in the book is subtle and clever. You won’t find anything silly or childish in this story.

Overall, the book was an engaging and titillating read. Fans of the tv show and fans of vampire fiction can both find something to enjoy. Dead Until Dark is a great addition to the vampire genre, and I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into the rest of the series. (Sorry for the bad pun, but the sentiment is real!)

Penguin: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Image Source: Penguin
Review Copy: Self Purchased
ISBN-13: 978-0441019335

This review was originally published at Kawaii Writing and republished with permission.

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