Dead Until Dark: Sookie Stackhouse is a delight!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book review Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Dead Until DarkDead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Charles de Lint said once that the current urban-fantasy novels are highly focused on character, and that readers like or dislike a series based on whether they connect with the protagonist. (I wish I could find that quote!) Based on this, I’m not surprised that Charlaine Harris has, as I write this review, the top three best-selling fantasy titles on Amazon. Disclaimer: I’ve only read this first book so far, and haven’t seen the TV series. But from what I’ve seen, Sookie Stackhouse is a delight.

Sookie is a Louisiana waitress with telepathic abilities. She sees her telepathy as a disability, not a gift; it’s brought her a lot of trouble over the years and hampered her social life and love life. Other than the telepathy, though, she’s a fairly normal woman. Sookie stands out among the impossibly tough heroines who populate this subgenre. She’s brave, yet vulnerable, and she knows her limits. Best of all, she’s funny! I really liked spending time “in her head,” and I think I spoke with a slight Southern twang for a day or two afterward!

Her life gets complicated when Bill, a handsome vampire, walks into her bar one night. To Sookie’s shock and delight, she can’t read his thoughts! Then, when her telepathy tips her off that his dining companions have foul play in mind, she rescues him and their romance begins.

Soon, Sookie finds herself tangled up in vampire politics and a murder mystery. The story is fast-paced and suspenseful. I was especially on the edge of my seat at one point when Bill may or may not have been killed, and Sookie has no way of knowing whether he’s OK until the sun goes down. Sookie’s fear and sadness come right through the page.

I enjoyed Dead Until Dark, and I’ll definitely be reading further in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

~Kelly Lasiter

fantasy book review Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Dead Until DarkIt’s easy to see why this series is so popular. Sookie’s a likable character who’s got a great voice. Readers who like paranormal romances should enjoy this series. However, Dead Until Dark didn’t quite work for me. Though I like Sookie, I didn’t like many of the other characters or the redneck backwoods setting and, most of all, I was bored by the romance, which was a main focus of the story. I listened to the audio version read by Johanna Parker. She was awesome. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to someone who likes paranormal romance in a rural Southern setting. It’s just not for me.

~Kat Hooper

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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