Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris

Book 3
As I was saying, Dead Until Dark is the first novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  The “Southern Vampire” novels, they are also called.  Not sure the Swedish sheriff would appreciate that, but whatever.
Do you all know the premise?  The Japanese have invented synthetic blood.  Since vampires are no longer compelled to drink blood from live people, they have “come out of the coffin” and want to be recognized as citizens.  Those that choose to live in human communities are known as “mainstreamers”.
There is just enough of the fantasy/sci fi geek in me to debate whether the rules of this particular vampire world make any sense.  Mostly, I buy it so I won’t bore you with the details. 

True Blood, the TV series, is nasty.  In a graphic-sex-beyond-my-imagination way.  The blood was cool, though.  The novel isn’t quite that nasty, but one of the reasons is that the novel is told in the first person, and Sookie would have no way of knowing about Jason and that blond girl in the parking lot of Merlotte’s, or about his ending up in the emergency room after drinking that vial of vampire blood.  So one the one hand, the TV show is cooler because it follows the other characters around – they are more developed and very interesting.  The book is more intimate with the heroine.  Because she is the heroine.  On the other hand.  Jason is nasty.

The other way the TV show is cool is that in the portrayal of Sookie’s gift (or curse, depending on your point of view).  She can read minds.  The director or whomever did a really good job of showing how loud and awkward freaking crazy that would make you if you couldn’t turn it off at will. 

But I was talking about the book.  And the TV show is not entirely faithful to the text.  For example, (slight spoilers here) when Long Shadow is killed, the TV show is very clear that Bill did it.  The novel is not.  It has Sookie blacking out and thinking that Eric did it.  Now, perhaps that is simply what she thinks, and another truth will come out later.  But it still a pretty big departure.

The character of Tara doesn’t even exist in the novel.  I love Tara.

Anyway, if you like the show and would like to a) get further into Sookie’s head or b) have a whole bunch of brain candy to get you through to the next DVD release, this is a good pick.

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