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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative dark vampire adventure....
After watching the first few episodes of True Blood on HBO, I was enthralled with what seemed to be a darker, more humorous updated version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and discovered the series was based on a set of novels by Charlaine Harris.
I ordered the first four and read them within a week. Whilst they were markedly different from HBO's version, I quickly...
Published on 17 Oct 2008 by Mooji

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The hours of my life I'll never get back....
I feel I should charge the author for the hours of my life I will never get back. It was a book club book, so a must read. The only good that can come of this book is that it is a boost for the confidence of any aspiring writer, because if this can get published, then so can you!!
Published on 30 Jun 2012 by Nniaa


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative dark vampire adventure...., 17 Oct 2008
After watching the first few episodes of True Blood on HBO, I was enthralled with what seemed to be a darker, more humorous updated version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and discovered the series was based on a set of novels by Charlaine Harris.
I ordered the first four and read them within a week. Whilst they were markedly different from HBO's version, I quickly became involved with the characters and the world in and around Bon Temps.
The novel revolves around a mind reading waitress, her vampire boyfriend and the emergence of Vampire society. The setting of Louisiana is original and the characters of Sookie and the vampires around her are fascinating. We don't leap immediately into the supernatural world, but learn along with Sookie, that not everything is as it seems, and whilst exciting - there is a much darker undertone.
Charlaine writes fromm Sookie's perspective - you can almost hear the southern drawl as the chapters progress, and Sookie's spirited and sometimes hilarious narrative keeps you riveted. The typical and traditional gothic stereotypes of vampires are deftly sidestepped, and Charlaine doesn't reinvent the concept of vampires as much as reinvigorates them.
The only shortcoming of this book is that it ends too soon, but on the plus side, the continuing books in the series are consistent and builds on previous storylines, subplots and characters. I can't believe I've not picked up these books before now, and am lookinng forward to reading the rest of the series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining start to the Sookie Stackhouse series, 12 Aug 2009
I decided to read this book after watching and loving the series True Blood Season 1 (HBO) [DVD] [2008] which is based on this book series, or the first season, more specifically this book.

However, the two are very different. While the show is dark in a fairly light-hearted and campy way, the books are just light-hearted, there is no real darkness of grittiness to them. But they are enjoyable, and there is a certain familiarity with them, when you've seen the show. The characters are similar, I felt Bill had been changed most for the show, he's pretty cold and bossy in the book, where on the show, he never really gets away with bossing Sookie around.

But, back to the book. The writing is good, if a little simple. The characters are well developed, Sookie is an especially appealing heroine, which in a lot of other urban fantasy books, is a rare find. There is a mystery running through the book, much like the first season, which is probably the only storyline which plays out in both the book and show in the same way.

If I was going to make one criticism of the book, it would be that the two main characters, and the love interests of the book, Bill and Sookie have very little chemistry and a lot of their interaction is just Billie letting Sookie what to do. For example, whenever the two have sex, it is always on Bill's accord, never in a moment of passion or love. The whole relationship feels very routine and there is just never any time when it feels "real". I haven't read the second book in the series, Living Dead In Dallas: A True Blood Novel yet, so I don't know if Harris has has perfected the romance, but hopefully it will become less mechanical as the books progress.

Also those who have said this is a Twilight rip-off, they are wrong. This actually came first way back in 2001. It is just that Twilight has made the vampire novel more mainstream than ever, that people are beginning to get into other similar vampire/human romance stories.

So this does come highly recommended for fans of the genre, its a quick read, I read it it about three days, and its simple enough to read in large chunks. If you can get passed the light-heartedness and enjoy it for what it is then you will enjoy it, however if you go into it, expecting it to be in the same style as the TV show, you will be disappointed because this is far less dark.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Beginning, 28 Jan 2007
By 
Chris Chalk "Chris" (Croydon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Sookie Stackhouse is a touch on the unusual side and everyone in her small town think just that, even the men. I add that as normally men can look past oddness if the woman in question is attractive - and Sookie is. However she can read mind, I can imagine that being a touch unnerving...

However Sookie isn't the only curiosity in her small town as a visitor has decided to set up home - Bill Compton. Sounds like a normal enough name doesn't it? Odd bit is that Bill remembers the civil war, because Bill was there. Yes Bill is part of the undead - a vampire.

The unfortunate thing about Bill is that just as he has turned up people seem to be turning up dead. Now is this coincidence or something more than that? Sookie clearly believes the former as she befriends Bill and even begins to think a whole lot more of him but as time passes even she begins to think there is more to him...

I quite liked the writer's style, in the beginning it has a certain naivety to it that reflects Sookie's own outlook on life and the writing grows somewhat from "Buffy" to something more sinister as it goes on, again reflecting Sookie's own journey of self discovery. There were weaknesses the book, the ending felt rushed and I don't think there was enough development of characters but to be fair this is a series and as an opening gambit this is a very decent effort.
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you can imagine a "realistic" vampire story, this is it!, 15 Nov 2001
By A Customer
At first the town seemed so ordinary, as did she. A smiling waitress in a small cafe who, when she sees someone in trouble, feels honour bound to try to help. But things are not as they seem.
Imagine a female main character who, while she does have a special gift (she can read minds), does not possess superhuman strength or unbelievable intelligence or enormous wealth, but a kind heart and a willingness to believe in people. Now imagine she meets a vampire. Not one who turns into a bat, but one who renovates his house and has the odd human weakness of his own. Now imagine them in love. There's bound to be trouble.
A fantastic book - I can't wait for the sequel!
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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 5 Feb 2002
By A Customer
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You know the saying - never judge a book by its cover? Classic example. The cover looks dull, but the story is anything but. This was one of the most interesting vampire stories I have read, and I could not put it down. The characters are so believable and the story had me guessing to the end. I would really recommend this, especially if you are a fan of Laurell K Hamilton. Very much written in the same vein (no pun intended), humourous, attractive and I cannot wait for the sequel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, did not expect this!, 27 April 2009
By 
Mizz F (London, England) - See all my reviews
Again, another recommendation from Amazon and again not bad at all. In fact, it was one of the best vampire reads I've read. It was like a crime novel, from a non-detective point of view - ie find the killer kind of novel. Add in vampires, crazy caravan people, a big dog, an overprotective and sometimes annoying brother and a perky, energetic, funny protagonist, Sookie.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes Vampire Romance and mystery too. Sookie is a great protagonist and Bill is a great vampire! Can't wait to read the next!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A promising beginning, 5 Jun 2003
This is the first book in the Southern Vampire series by Charlene Harris. Really good. The heroine is funny, not overly powerful and not all that sexy - so far. Take a look at my review of the second installment to know what I mean by that...
The story is well-written and easily read - it holds your interest and seems more or less logical within its universe. And the supernatural beings are not overpowerful and overly wonderful. Very refreshing to me, as I found this book looking for something new instead of Laurell K. Hamilton.
Dead Until Dark has a refreshing lack of porn, a funny heroine - but... as a faithful reader of the Anita Blake series I can see the story follows close. Sookie is torn between a vampire and a wereanimal, just like Anita Blake is torn between vampires and weres. Sookie becomes powerful despite being "just human" - just like Anita Blake went from more or less human to semigoddess. And of course all male - and perhaps some female - supernaturals want to get into bed with Sookie. Isn't that amazing? There must be something in the water... or the blood.
I've read the two first books and this is by far the best. I'll be reviewing the third book later this month, as I've just ordered it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Depends on what you are looking for..., 6 Dec 2009
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How do you judge a book? If it is by how well it is written, then 'Dead until Dark' would probably get about two stars at the most. On the other hand, if you are looking for easy reading material and are happy to let your imagination fill in some of the gaps and ignore some of the shortcomings, then as many others have done, you might even rate it five star.

'Dead until Dark' is the first in a series of books that revolve around Sookie Stackhouse, described as a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Though she is pretty, she has not exactly been dating a great deal as there is just one small problem... Sookie can read minds. Something that can be more than distracting when you're out on a date and he is pondering, at best, if you have dyed your hair.

She has been hoping to meet one - Vampires have 'come out' since the discovery of synthetic blood, but even though Bill is trying to fit into 'mainstream' living, having fangs is not a recommendation when women are found murdered showing bite-marks. Sookie soon finds out that being involved with him makes life more than just a trifle complicated.

I bought the book after seeing it recommended and reading some of the reviews. Overall, it was value for money. The book was cheap and I enjoyed it but I could not recommend it full-heartedly. Whilst I am lucky in that I can ignore a lot of negative points as long as there is an interesting or entertaining story, a lot of people will find it difficult to reconcile themselves with the shallowness characters display at times and the lack of much in the way of character development.

Bill, the Vampire, made little impression on me - Sookie's boss Sam, is a much more interesting character. Too much to hope he'll get the girl in one of the other books, I suppose. The shallowness I spoke of... the most obvious example is when a much loved minor character dies and once we have had a page or two of emotions running high, it seems to have very little further impact.

There is no accounting for taste some might say, but as I did read the book in one sitting, it was cheap, I enjoyed it and I am quite likely to buy the next one, it seems only fair to acknowledge that, hence my four stars. I would probably not recommend this book to men - it is much more likely to appeal to female readers. I also would not recommend that you buy this book for younger readers. One scene in particular is pure adult erotica (not romance).
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quirky Laurell Hamilton, but without the porn, 9 Feb 2003
By 
Amazon Customer "m_farncombe" (Guildford UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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If you liked the early Laurell K Hamilton books, but found her descent into pornography tedious, then try Ms Harris' vampires. Set in a good-honest-folks part of Lousiana (that's white trash to you and me), the protagonist falls in love with a member of the undead, gets laid (tastefully), meets an unexpected rock-n-roll vampire (hilarious) and solves a crime all within the space of a short novel.
The locale and the people are very realistic, the vampires engaging without being cute, and the plot swift enough to keep you interested (although this ain't Guilty Pleasures). If you enjoy this, and I think you will, then try Living Dead in Dallas - not as good, but still refreshingly porn-free.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The hours of my life I'll never get back...., 30 Jun 2012
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I feel I should charge the author for the hours of my life I will never get back. It was a book club book, so a must read. The only good that can come of this book is that it is a boost for the confidence of any aspiring writer, because if this can get published, then so can you!!
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