Home > Book, Book Review, Paranormal, Reviews > Book Review – Dead Until Dark: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris

Book Review – Dead Until Dark: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris

Book Description:

Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series #1, The Anthony Award Winning Novel

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out…. Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.


I’ve been a fan of the HBO series True Blood (for all three seasons so far), but I’ve never read any of the books the series is based on. Well, since my sister received a gift set of the Sookie Stackhouse 8-copy Boxed Set (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood) recently, I thought it was about time I checked at least the first book of the series out. [I just found it a bit weird to adjust to reading a paperback again (no font enlargement!)] 🙂

Dead Until Dark: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris is a mix of paranormal romance (with the requisite love triangle) plus murder mystery / thriller in one, as I expected from the TV series. The story is told exclusively from the point of view of the telepathic vampire-loving waitress Sookie Stackhouse though, unlike in the TV series where the other characters are also given a lot of camera time. Obviously, I couldn’t help but compare the book with the first season of True Blood, and I hate to say this, but IMO the book pales in comparison to the HBO adaptation. I kept on finding myself looking for plot points or characters that are featured in the series, but are either absent or are just in the background in the book. But then that’s an unfair comparison – the True Blood creators had an entire season to flesh out characters and add more complex events versus just the one book by Charlaine Harris.

And no wonder the one book ended up being the start of a best-selling series of books. The basic premise for Dead Until Dark is pretty brilliant – I loved this new society that Ms Harris dreamed up, with vampires finally coming out of the closet (so to speak) because of the invention of synthetic blood, and the resulting societal complications resulting from new human-vampire interactions. Of course not all humans will be welcoming and not all vampires will want to blend in. The ‘bigger picture’ is tackled better in True Blood, so maybe that’s why I got a bit disappointed with the actual book events.

Sookie Stackhouse is as likeable (and spunky) on paper as she was onscreen (by the talented Anna Paquin) and it’s her character that really makes the whole thing work. The others – not so much. I guess that I should credit Stephen Moyer for his acting skills as vampire Bill, since at least I believed him when he said he loved Sookie on screen. On paper, I’m a bit doubtful about the ‘love’ part – but Stephen Moyer sure could communicate it with just his eyes! Sam Trammell’s Sam Merlotte is also a more sympathetic character on screen than on paper, and I could feel the poignancy of the love triangle more on screen than from the book. Same with the suspense from the serial killer preying on vampire-associating women… yup, it’s kind of lacking on paper.

Maybe it’s just impossible for me to give Dead Until Dark a real impartial review since I’m already too attached to the TV adaptation? The book is just a tad duller, slower and more superficially developed than I expected, but I do think that I’m being unfair with the comparison bit. So, I do intend on continuing to read the rest of the books in the boxed set, and maybe I’ll like the fourth book better than the upcoming fourth season, so who knows?

Dead Until Dark: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition ($7.99), Mass Market Paperback edition ($7.99), and Audible Audio Edition ($20.95).

The eBook is also available at B&N and Sony eBookstore for $7.99, but Kobo books has it a bit cheaper at $6.29.

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  1. June 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I have been a huge fan of Charlaine Harris’ “Southern Vampire Mysteries for years and was THRILLED to see it turned into a tv show. BUT I think I had the opposite problem that you did, I loved the books so much that the changes in the series disappoint me. I really have to think of them as two totally different stories, because really they are. Much more so the The Vampire Diaries, and those are pretty different.

    I love to see your review from the other side of things. I can see where you’re coming from, there is SO much more going on in the show and it moves so much faster.

    Link to my review:

    • June 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks for giving me the view from the other side too 🙂 I can definitely see where you’re coming from since there are so many books that I loved that I was disappointed when I saw the film version. Maybe it just depends on which medium got one’s loyalty first?

      Going to check out your review!

      • June 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm

        The show becomes more and more it’s own entity and less like the books as it goes on, but I hope you’ll read on in the book series. It really is good, it’s just not much like the show, particularly the third season.

        This is why I treat them as completely different things, it’s too frustrating to compare them.

      • June 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm

        Yeah, I was thinking that the series might be very different from the books as they go on (kind of like the Dexter series versus the Dexter books) – will be giving the other books a shot definitely!

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