Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review - Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)During the Christmas holiday from college, I got to watching True Blood - I mentioned this in my last post, and how it got me to reading the books the show is based on. And I mean based. The books have some distinct differences from the show (or vice versa, it depends on which you came to first, I suppose). I won't go into these differences, because I can't think of them all right now.

So... was the book good?
It was. It was good, and it was great, and then it was fantastic, and then it was great again. That's sort of how every book goes. Some skip the "good" and just get into great. While Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark doesn't fit, for me, into the instantly great category, it still escapes the drastically bad category. There wasn't a single bad moment in it.

Seriously? Not a single bad moment?
Oh, okay there was. When it ended. It was the sort of book you wanted to keep reading (read as: It was  the sort of book I didn't want to stop reading!). Between the book and the show, I began thinking about loud in a Louisiana accent. Damn infectious literature!

Okay, so how were the myths of the book?
Rather fantastically. That's the simple answer. If you really require more info... well, the vampires, as anyone who watches the show or has read the books can tell you, are not immune to sunlight. The vampires are also not affected by religious icons - considering the fact that there have been vampires in the book's universe for longer than there have been Christians, this isn't surprising. But vampires aren't all we've got. I won't spoil too much, but Sookie is a telepath (it's in the blurb, I don't feel bad for telling you). Sookie, if you don't know, is the protagonist and narrator. She's also a waitress. (Ah her classic response to the question, "What are you?") While I feel Harris could have done a better job with the telepathy, it was still written quite well into the story, and it doesn't feel out of place.

How does the book compare to similar titles?
My experience with the genre is limited. Being part of the whole 'Paranormal Romance' section of bookshops, I avoided the books for quite some time. Eventually I was talked into it by a couple of people who assured me they weren't too girlie. They were right. I've read much more girlie books along the same lines - Twilight, being the prime example. So, how does Dead Until Dark compare to that? Well, the myth of the vampires is much better, the writing is much better, the story is much better, and the protagonist isn't in any way annoying. There's also less disturbance to be experienced, since Sookie is older than Bella Swan of Twilight. While the age difference between Bill and Sookie is still massive, at least she's legally of age to... you know... do it. And the romance of the book is a whole lot less desperate.

Ending the rant, do you recommend this book?
Wholeheartedly! Especially if you like HBO's adaptation of the books in the form of True Blood and you're prepared to accept the differences between the original books and the television series. Or you're into Paranormal Romance but you don't want something terrible like Twilight. Or you just like the Paranormal side of things (which was where I was, before seeing the show, but turned off by the romance) and you can stand to read the romance too.

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