Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Urban fantasy
Published: May 2001
Publisher: Ace Books
"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 he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting for all her life . . .
"But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of—big surprise—murder. And when one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears she's next . . ."
~ Jacket copy
Thoughts: Okay, full disclosure—I have had Dead Until Dark and Living Dead in Dallas since the second was published. Since that time, I have tried again and again to read the first book. Every time, I get approximately ten to fifteen pages into the book and stop. To me, the writing was mediocre at best, the dialogue was forced, and I just found it extremely boring. However, for some reason, I found myself absolutely devouring True Blood when it originally aired on HBO. Wondering if I could get into the books after watching the show, I started the first book again and stopped . . . again. After struggling with them for over ten years, I decided to try a final time. However, my new weapon was listening to them as audio books. And, honestly, I think that's the only way I got through this book!
Where does one start with this book? Sookie is the typical blonde, blue-eyed, busty bar-maid that every guy desires. She doesn't have a lot of money, so it was easy to see that this book would be a Cinderella type story. While Sookie is a blonde bombshell, her one flaw is her ability to read peoples' minds and see their thoughts. She goes through the whole book talking about it as a disability. It has kept her from having many relationships, especially sexual. She cannot stand the internal dialogue of a man having sex. However, when Byronic hero Bill enters the picture, she is completely enamored! He is a vampire; he is tall, dark, and handsome (Byronic hero); he has roots in Bon Temps; and she cannot hear his thoughts! Unfortunately, there are a series of murders taking place in the small town, and it looks as though Vampire Bill (or all vampires) are going to take the fall for it. Of course, since that means oh-so-perfect Bill is a possible suspect, Sookie cannot let it go and decides to solve the cases herself.
This book was just annoying. First of all, it got on my nerves that Sookie had to continually talk about how pretty she was, her ample bosom, her luscious blonde hair, tiny waist, etc. In addition, her one flaw turns out to be an amazing gift and asset. Further, Sookie talks about how awful her "disability" is when it comes to sex. How would she know? She is compared, in looks, to these trashy women being killed; however, she is the beautiful, sainted virgin. Small town or not, I honestly cannot believe how naive and stupid she is. At some level, it seems to be intentional.
There was little to no character development in the book. Sookie never moved beyond the one dimensional hot Barbie look-alike. Bill is rather dull and has nothing special to set him apart. In some ways, he reminded me of Christian Grey. All that the audience really knows is that he was turned after the Civil War, he was married, grew up in Bon Temps, and a few assorted facts. Why, with so little knowledge, is Sookie professing her undying devotion and love to Bill? Talk about the doe-eyed idiot.
The dialogue left a lot to be desired. I found myself snorting at the sex scenes, which got me weird looks at the gym. It was ridiculous! When Sookie's senses where heightened due to vampire blood and she discovered that she could tell Sam's penis was stiffening, I nearly feel off the treadmill. Really? Come on, are we all in junior high?
The narrator of this book drove me up a wall! Why does Eric have a Transylvanian accent?! He is a Viking! Reading up on True Blood, the creators originally wanted Alexander Skarsgard to employ his Swedish accent for Eric. He refused. He felt that, given Eric's age, he would most likely know multiple languages and have been living in the U.S. for a long time; therefore, he would no longer have an accent. Further, considering that he is 1,000 years old, if he had an accent, it would be closer to an ancient Scandinavian accent. If the narrator decided to give him an accent, I would have accepted a modern Scandinavian one; however, as it stand, it was stupid and unbelievable. And, yes, the Norse are kind of a soapbox for me *sheepish grin*
As it stands, the only way I could make it through this book was because I listened to it at the gym and doing chores. It was over the top, dull, and one dimensional. That being said, I have been assured that they get better, so I am currently listening to the second book. Hopefully they will improve!
Current Pages: 16,010