Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dead Until Dark

I picked up and read Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris last night after watching the first episode of True Blood on HBO. It's about Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in a small town in Louisiana. Working her shift at the local bar, one night a vampire named Bill comes in and everything changes for Sookie. 'Cursed' all her life with the ability to hear people's thoughts, Bill is a rarity to Sookie because she can't hear him. Her determination to spend more time with Bill, and his choice to spend more time with her, causes upheaval in their small town, as most folks aren't too keen on mixed relationships. There's also the recent rash of murders lately, with two local fang-bangers ending up dead...and all marks point to Bill.

I was never interested in the series before then--despite my love of vampire novels--and sadly I'm still not. I thought the episode was OK, had the makings to be great, and I really like Anna Paquin, so I'll probably watch at least the next few episodes, but I doubt I'll read any more of the books. It just didn't draw me in at all and none of the characters were very interesting to me. Has anyone read them? Do the books get better? I really wanted to like this, and I think Pam sounds like an interesting character, but the rest of them just left me bored.


Anonymous said...


I agree totally with your statements. I grew up reading Stoker, King, and Rice and Harris' novel left me totally disheartened with the Sookie Stackhouse series. I enjoyed the first season of True Blood I believe that was because Alan Ball and his production team infused some much needed character development and suspense into her novel. I, like you have not read the other books in the series, and am will most likely not as I found the first text remedial and I became board with all of the sex scenes. I enjoy a well written sex scene like the next reader- yes vampires are innately alluring,sexy, and mysteriously dangerous (Anne Rice anyone?), and yes it is cool to to think about an experience with one- but after one in almost every chapter, I was hoping to actually come across more stimulation from dialogue and unforeseeable (i.e-not predictable) and thought provoking plot twists .

I do not mean to come off unjustifiably harsh on the series based on the first book, but I guess I just have high expectations for my vampire characters and narratives. There was a time when vampires and literary monsters represented more than a venue to explore sexual desire, but actually brought about questions of good/evil, morality, life and our existence, understanding those who are different from us, religious/christian themes, faith, fear of foreigners or 'xenophobia', purity of family and blood lines, a fear of new diseases transmitted by blood, as an explanation for plagues, and representing issues between cultures, social classes and the sexes, and humanity's technological advancements and their evolution into the all powerful and god-like species. These themes and more can be observed in Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Beowulf, and classic tales to name a few.

If you do in fact take the chance and read the other books, I would be interested in your comments.

Hayden said...

I don't think you came off as unjustifiably harsh on the series--both book and TV. I felt there was so much potential there, which sadly wasn't realized.

I don't think I'll be watching or reading more in this series; I have enough already on my TBR/TBW list to add stuff that I'm not all that interested in.