So before I begin, I would like to pre-preface my preface by saying that I haven't written a book review before. As this is all new to me, there’s no doubt it will probably end up being tweaked, prodded and poked as I write it, meaning I’m fully up for any constructive criticism in the way of content, structure and format. Be gentle.
I’ve scoured the internet and attempted to come up with my own formula of writing a review in the form of overarching key questions with some analytical and technical points thrown in (cheers WikiHow). But in all seriousness, bare with me as I go.
Now for the preface, I’ve actually watched the TV show of the book I’m reviewing, so unfortunately the images of the characters are already compromised and skewed to look like them, but I can assure you, that my impressions on the characters themselves from the book, are not. Now without further confession, I shall begin.
What is the book about?
Dead Until Dark focuses around the life of Sookie Stackhouse, a southern country woman from Bon Temps, Louisiana. In a world in the throes of an undead revelation that vampires walk amongst the living, Sookie’s sheltered life becomes unravelled when the mysterious tall, dark and undeadly charming vampire Bill Compton swoops into town. She has what she understands to be a “disability” being able to read minds, so when she realises that she can’t hear a peep out of Bill, it’s just the type of guy she wants in her life. Shortly after their meeting, well… that’s when the murders begin.
Who was the main character and how did I find the viewpoint?
The reader is within Sookie’s head, so we get a clear view of what she is thinking at all times. Personally, first person is my favourite viewpoint, I always find it much easier to either put myself in the main character's shoes or relate to them on a more personal level. Granted I haven’t fallen in love with a vampire, but I can understand her frustration to small town folk’s stubborn ways, coming from a small country village myself.
Who was your favourite character?
When it comes to deciding who my favourite character was, I think due to the first person viewpoint, it was made difficult not to pick Sookie. She’s definitely quirky, and the author brings in the tangents of a wandering mind which adds to her innocent charm. You never get a moment where she gets to know another character properly I feel, at least not within the first book, something that although would have been interesting, I find understandable. Being able to read minds constantly hearing everything around you I can imagine tuning out the white noise takes its toll, so being alone or with Bill with nothing but silence must offer the utmost relief – a testimony to good character development from past struggle.
If I had to pick another favourite character it would be Sookie’s grandmother. She was so sweet and unprejudiced towards anyone that her excitement for meeting vampires borderlined on cute fussiness. It was lovely to see a character of the older generation being so open minded towards something so new.
As a tidbit, I loved Sookie so much in the show that Laura and I named our hamster after her and just like the character, she's brave to the point of stupidity:
Did the story keep me guessing?
Unfortunately, it’s my own fault that it didn't keep me guessing as much as it could, what with watching the TV series, so I spoilt it for myself there. But now that I’ve read the first book in the series it does make me wish I had read them all first – isn’t this usually the case with anything? That’s not to say there weren’t things I hadn’t expected, there were many moments that I had forgotten and loved finding again, so it’s still worth doing, after all, not all aspects are the same.
All in all, yes I very much liked the book. I’ll admit there were some moments between Sookie and Bill that were frustratingly reminiscent of Heathcliff and Cathy, and I sometimes found the couple more awkward than their intense TV counterparts, but I will definitely be carrying on reading the series in the background due to its solid beginning. If you’re a fan of the show, you may be surprised at the weight each character actually adds to the book, and it may change your initial impressions of some of them (hint: Andy Bellefleur – not as pathetic as he comes across). I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the fantasy genre.
My rating: 3/5, go sink your teeth in! (Proper rating system coming soon).