Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review: Dead until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)

Dead until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)
Dead until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm starting to wonder if I'm even capable of liking any books that are popular with everyone else. Of course, I have to admit that Dead Until Dark did start out with a good concept and a good set-up. The world of the Sookie Stackhouse series is a little hard to buy into, but I got through that initial suspension of disbelief because of the pacing of the story's development.

Sookie Stackhouse almost immediately introduces herself as a telepath, calling her talent a disability, and walks us quickly into the new alternate universe where vampires have announced their existence to the world. We get to see a lot of true-to-form prejudices and realistic reactions of the people to a type of being way different from humans. And so the world of this series is set up rather well... it's not the best concept, but I can live with it.

And then when the murder mysteries began, I was intrigued...

However, we quickly take a backseat with the murder mysteries in favor of Sookie and her romance with Bill Compton, the vampire. While I appreciate the realistics of human nature in dealing with Sookie's relationship with Bill, I really think I could have used a little less of their romance and a little more of Sookie helping to solve the murder mysteries. Because after the third or forth bedroom scene (which was not conservative, mind you) I started to get a little bored with the Sookie Stackhouse life. Was her entire being really based around the romance she had with Bill the vampire? It sure seemed like that was all she cared about. I mean, I'm glad that Sookie is a tough cookie and can stand up for herself when it matters; but she still managed to let herself be pushed around by the man she loved.

Of course, it also doesn't help her own personality that she's also quite wishy-washy with that hot-cold personality. It irked me a little that she seemed to get angry or jealous at Bill for a LOT of trivial things. And it also irked me a lot that she constantly referred to herself as stupid and uneducated, but then she turns around and condemns other people for indirectly implying that she's stupid and uneducated. Her mind frame had a lot of contradicting ideals which made me not quite care for Sookie as a person. Finally, her romance with Bill really doesn't have that feel of love to it more than it actually feels like lust; she becomes quite attracted to a lot of the other good-looking men in the story and even has thoughts about sleeping with them as well even after claiming how much she's in love with Bill.

Call me old-fashioned, but I hardly think it's appropriate for anyone to have thoughts about sleeping with someone else if you're with someone already whom you claim to be devotedly in love with. Then again, maybe I've misinterpreted some things in there, because a lot of the story seemed like filler that I read through and didn't quite commit to memory or anything.

Overall, I thought the book was fine, but not really as great as most have given it praise for. I mean, really, slap one of those Harlequin for romance novel covers on this one and it wouldn't really make much of a difference. It just so happens that this one is based in a paranormal alternate universe with an insignificant murder mystery to keep use curious.

Will I read the next book? Maybe. I might pick it up just to see if it handles the murder mystery a little bit better. For one, the other name that this series goes by is the Southern Vampire Mysteries, and thus, I expected more mystery and less... well, I don't mind a little bit of romance or a smut scene here or there in books; this particular book had a LOT of circling around those very elements (the latter being quite emphasized on). So it wasn't exactly my favorite book, or even one that I would care to come back and read. Then again, it wasn't like it was altogether terrible, so it has its positives.

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