REVIEW: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine HarrisSaturday, June 14, 2008 16:00
I don’t read very much urban fantasy, mostly because a lot of the ongoing series seem a little bit repetitive. But UF pops up all the time in my Librarything suggester, which informed me that I would love Dead Until Dark. The suggester wasn’t wrong, though it wasn’t entirely right either.
This book is the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series, featuring mind-reading waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who works at a bar called Merlotte’s. The people in Bon Temps, Louisiana, think she’s a little bit nuts, but mostly she doesn’t mind. Then Bill, a sexy vampire who wants to try to be human, shows up and immediately stirs up people’s suspicions and prejudices.
OK, so I’ll start with what I liked, which was quite a lot. I really liked the town of Bon Temps, and I like Sookie’s charming voice. The world-building here also worked beautifully, and I believed the world that Ms. Harris set up for us. And boy are the supporting characters fun, from Sookie’s immature, irresponsible brother Jason, to Bill the vampire, to Sam, Sookie’s boss, who has secrets of his own.
My problem, unfortunately, was with Sookie herself. She starts off by telling us that her mind-reading gift is a disability, and that just kind of rubbed me the wrong way, given that I am a person with a more recognized disability. I also thought Sookie was terribly TSTL at times, even though, yes, her heart was in the right place. But mostly, I was bothered, toward the middle of the book, when the “everybody wants to dip their wick in my vajayjay” trope showed up. I hate that particular urban fantasy cliche with an all-consuming fiery passion. It’s not a symbol of girl power “yay look how much I kick ass!” to me. Instead, it reads like the woman in question is a willing receptacle who just can’t help herself.
Will I continue the series? Maybe. The book was good enough, but I’m not sure the folksy charm is going to be enough to keep me, personally, interested in reading more about Sookie’s complicated love life.
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. Its 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 is 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…