Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (Revisited)

Posted 11 July, 2011 by Amanda / 14 Comments

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Won in a giveaway
Read: December 2009, June 2011
In six words: Still not completely sold on series

Charlaine Harris — Website
Amazon — Paperback | Kindle
Book Depository — Paperback
Add it to Goodreads

Book Order

1. Dead Until Dark
2. Living Dead in Dallas
3. Club Dead
4. Dead to the World
5. Dead as a Doornail
6. Definitely Dead
7. All Together Dead
8. From Dead to Worse
9. Dead and Gone
10. Dead in the Family
11. Dead Reckoning


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 kind of guy she’s been waiting for all her life.

But Bill has a disability of his own: He’s a vampire. Worse than that, hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble – of the murderous kind.

And when one of Sookie’s colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she’ll be next.
-from Goodreads

What I Thought Originally

The first time I read this book was in December of 2009.  Up until that point, my only exposure to fiction with vampires consisted of the first two books of the Twilight series, which I really did not like (sorry, Twilight fans), and I wasn’t particularly interested in anything vampire related. But, Rachel @ And the plot thickens…., Tara @ 25 Hour Books, and Stacey had all read the book and liked it.  So when Stacey hosted a giveaway on her blog, I thought, “Why not?” and entered (and, clearly, won).  Even though I was not a fan of this genre (no worries, I’ve since changed my mind), I read the book.  This probably had an impact on my original thoughts.  After reading the book, I remember not being very impressed, and gave it 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.  I don’t think I ever really connected with Sookie, and that was a slight problem, considering it’s Sookie’s series.  I haven’t read any other books in this series.

 Why I Reread This Book

Kyle has Netflix, so we tend to watch whatever is in his queue.  True Blood happened to make it into his queue, so True Blood we watched.  Well, are watching.  We’re still in the middle of season 1, I believe.  But, watching True Blood and vaguely recalling what happened in the book got me curious enough to start thinking about rereading Dead Until Dark.  I usually do not like to reread books, but I like knowing approximately what will happen in a movie or TV show based off a book, and with a year and a half of grad school between me and the last time I read Dead Until Dark, well, many of the details had been erased in favor of other [arguably more important] information.  Since I actually like watching True Blood, and I actually like the urban fantasy genre now, I figured I better reread the book.

My Thoughts Now

I find Sookie to be different from a lot of urban fantasy heroines I’ve read about.  Where so many female characters are kick-ass and snarky (which I love), Sookie is…simpler.  Simple is the best word I can find to describe her, but it’s not meant in a negative way.  Sookie is just not a complex character.  Other than her “disability” she leads a pretty ordinary and comfortable life.  Even as she’s introduced into the vampire world and starts dating Bill, she seems to resist that world in favor of what she knows and is comfortable with rather than jumping in.  I still felt a disconnect with Sookie, but I was far more interested in the story than I was the first time around.  If I were to rate Dead Until Dark again, I would probably give it an extra half a star (a B+ in my current rating system).  I am not completely sold on the series yet, but I am definitely interested in reading more books before contemplating giving up the series.

You’re welcome to bully me to read the rest of this series now.

Filed under: ESR: 7, Review: Amanda, Urban Fantasy, ,


14 Responses to “Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (Revisited)”

  1. Felicia

    You know I probably like this series because it isn’t like a lot of Urban Fantasy. Sookie is more “real” to me (at least in the beginning). That being said, since I am not a huge fan of UF in general it is probably why this one appeals to me more than most :)

    It has been a long time since I have read book 1 *sigh*

  2. I felt the same way you did. I read the first two in the series and then stopped for over a year before a friend bullied me into reading more. The series doesn’t hit its stride until books 3 and 4 – after 4, I couldn’t put it down and now I’ve read them all.

    I encourage you to try to make it through 3 and 4 and then see what you think.

  3. Rain Maiden/ Jen E

    I had read nothing but paranormal romance so this series was a nice change. I need to pick up the series again. Last book I read was #4.

  4. I really enjoyed this one, even liked 2. I couldn’t make it through 3 and ended up giving up on the series. I also *hides behind something* don’t like True Blood though.

    • Ha. Don’t worry, Stacey, I won’t throw anything at you for not liking the series or True Blood. My blog is a safe place.

  5. Probably what makes Sookie feel the most real to me is the way she keeps complimenting her own good looks. She wanted by all and knows it. Thank god, she was born pretty.


    Okay, so I’m a little judgment on Sookie. Possibly because I’m desperately in love with Eric Northman, or at least I was, but I believe even that is starting to dwindle. :(

    I don’t care of AP as Sookie, especially in direct relation to all the other females cast around her. I just get the feeling that she doesn’t belong, that she looks too immature compared to others.

    It has been a long time since I have re-read DUD. I wonder if I’d have a new take on it now that the show is out.

    P.S. I’ve noticed most who have followed the series give up after book 5.

    • I think the show helped me to like the book more, even though the book feels a lot different than the show.

      If I continue to read the series, I feel like it will be more out of curiosity rather than enjoyment of the series itself.

  6. I wasn’t a big fan of the first book. Way too much sex for my liking. So much so I felt it detracted from the more interesting parts of the story. That said, I had bought the 7 book boxed set so kept reading. So glad I did. It gets better :)