Dead Until Dark: A Sookie Stackhouse Mystery review

1 Apr

Vampires. In the five years or so people have gone vampire/ supernatural crazy, and I must admit, I joined that bandwagon with full force. (You can ask anyone I know- I was a fully fledged Twi-hard. Makes me cringe just to think of it now.)

After I established my reading groove within the Supernatural world, I reached beyond Twilight and first of all came up with Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse mysteries. My interest had been piqued by the TV show (currently filming its sixth season I believe). I have never watched more than half an episode of the TV show in my life, but when I picked up the Omnibus volume of the first three books in WHSmith and started to read I knew I had to continue.

As my mother always taught me- the books are better and I have yet to find the exception to the rule. While I am not hooked by the TV series, the books had me devouring page after page of the mysteries, desperate to know what happened with each turn in the plot and I was so glad to have the first three books at my disposal instead of needing to order each one in turn.

Dead Until Dark is the first book in the series and plunges you into the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, and straight into Sookie Stackhouse’s remarkable mind. The story is told via first person so you join Sookie for the ride into a world where vampires have broken cover and “come out of the coffin” to live as “normal” members of society.

We start with Sookie getting excited because a real ‘live vampire has visited the bar she works in and sat helpfully in her section of the restaurant. What we know that no one else does is that Sookie can read minds (don’t worry you’re not in Twilight land- and there is a somewhat logical explanation later in the series). Having established that she can read minds, her interest is grabbed when she can’t listen to the vampire, Bill Compton’s mind.

This basically sets her up in a form of giddy anticipation to know more about him and become closer to Bill in general. And eventually she does. They eventually become an item, although the road is not a smooth one.

Nor would you expect it to be.

To start with there are women dropping dead all over the place in Bon Temps and Sookie takes it upon herself to find out who the killer is. All the women seem to have something in common though: they all hang out with vampires.

As the net tightens in around her brother Jason, Sookie casts her net further afield thinking that a vampire might be the killer. She enlists Bill’s help and gets him to take her to a vampire bar in Shreveport where she meets the Viking vampire and the head honcho of Shreveport, Eric. Eric becomes a permanent feature in Sookie’s life after that night.

The story is an easy read with the twists and turns making it such a successful mystery. If I ever could construct something as good as this for my story, I would be onto a winner. Harris has created a perfectly viable supernatural phenomenon based strongly in a very human word, even though Sookie has a strange power, her world is very human and she tries not to let the supernatural take over her life.

Overall I like the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, even though I got a little confused as to the order around book seven and sort of left the series behind. Harris has done very well in creating a believable situation and making the necessary adjustments for the supernatural to come creeping into real life.

I do believe that if you are a fan of any vampire/werewolf/ fantasy/ supernatural then you should read Charlaine Harris. In fact any of her books would fit into that category perfectly, in fact she mostly seems to write supernatural mystery thrillers.

More specifically if you discovered the world of supernatural fiction through Twilight and the Vampire Diaries, the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, particularly the first book, Dead Until Dark, is a perfect read for you. The series goes from strength to strength as far as I have read, although there are flashes of repetition and you begin to resign yourself to what happens within the books.

As for Dead Until Dark, a enticing first novel to the series and certainly darker and grittier than Twilight, so those of you who hate Stephenie Meyer’s franchise are perfectly safe in the world of Charlaine Harris.

So go fourth and read you little blood suckers because I rate this book a blood lusty 4 out of 5.



About the Writer: Stef is a 21 year old graduate who has a lifelong obsession with books and reading who also loves music and live theatre. You’re most likely to find her in a book shop or out in London standing at a theatre stage door. She can be found on twitter and running The World of Blyton.


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