Saturday, June 21, 2014

"Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)" by Charlaine Harris

If you are looking for great literature, don't bother reading this critique. Dead Until Dark is many things: witty, funny, romantic, and action-filled, but it is definitely not what I would call great literature. When I grudgingly bought this, I honestly thought I would hate this book immensely, due to the highly "liked" one star reviews on Goodreads that claimed it was utterly without merit. Well, it kind of is. And I enjoyed every meritless sentence, down to the last comma.

In the life of a reader, sometimes you need a book that has nothing to offer but fun. I can't tell you how many times I've read books that are labeled great literature and have mentally said to myself, "This book is utterly pretentious. It's trying so hard to be a classic, a book that people will gush about for ages until it becomes required reading for high schoolers everywhere. I declare bullcrap," and fling the book out the nearest window. With this novel, there is no risk of that occurring. This novel screams, "I am trashy, and damned proud of it!", all in a meticulously crafted Southern accent.

The Plot:
Sookie Stackhouse is a psychic, trying her best to hide her abilities in her small town where she works as a waitress. One day, a vampire walks into her workplace (which also happens to be a bar), and she hears the malicious thoughts of a pair of humans are in a nearby booth. She takes a chance, and confronts the people when they trail him to the parking lot, saving his life. Bill the vampire is now in her debt, but larger problems appear when one of her coworkers is killed, apparently by a vampire. Could the vampire whose life she spared have blood on his hands?

This book is set in a world where vampires are not in hiding, due to an invention called True Blood which supposedly negates the vampires' collective need for human blood. Of course, the real blood is more palatable, and some vampires are whispered to drink only the natural thing. What makes vampires so intriguing to Sookie is she can't hear their thoughts, which is definitely a plus for her, as she considers her gift a disability. A disability that makes her eminently able to puzzle out a murder mystery, if only the killer were human...

Dead Until Dark is a book to be read simply for pleasure, as there isn't much to it beyond an enjoyable story and characters. What makes it so excellent, in my humble opinion, is how it never tries to be more than it is- there are no earth-shattering insights that miss the mark, no misplaced rant about something the author believes, and no real reason to use your brain (other than to puzzle out the mystery) while reading. The story feels authentic to itself- the author is writing what she knows how to write about, and I applaud her for it. If you are looking for a very quirky, mysterious, romantic, and funny beach read this summer, this is the one for you.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars, for a highly enjoyable story with nothing added on!

Content: Ages 18+ due to all the goodies: sex, blood, violence, and maybe some swearing(?).

Page Count: 292 pages of sheer fun


  1. Thank you for this review! I've been thinking about reading the Sookie Stackhouse books for ages (especially since I've been a fan of the show for several years) but have been told all these bad things about it. I'd like to take a break and read something fun, so I'll definitely check it out later. :)

    1. I definitely recommend it as a fun and unassuming read. I still don't understand why people loathe it so much- maybe they take it too seriously? I thoroughly enjoyed it, and hope you do too. :)
      Thanks for commenting!
      ~Litha Nelle


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