Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris (The TV Show vs The Book)

(Click image to add to your to be read pile)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Paperback


Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability." She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome-and Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting for all her life... But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of-big surprise-murderer. And when one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears she's next.

The first time I fell in love with the characters of the Sookie Stackhouse series was the moment HBO aired the first episode of True Blood. After watching it for years, I decided that it's time for me to pick up the books that started it all.

If I could describe the book in one word it would be - different. 30% different than the TV show’s first season, different than many books out there, the book was just different. Yeah, sure it did have a vampire or two but that's not all it had. It had shifters, werewolves, mind readers and, well, us. And if I read Dead Until Dark when it first released back in 2001, I would have been a lot more amazed and excited about the book.

I wouldn't say that the book was mind blowing but that I simply enjoyed it and was captivated by the small town of Bon Temps and the great narration the book had. And thanks to the TV Show, I couldn't help but compare the book and the show throughout the entire book. I even had to re-watch the first season to see if they included my favorite parts from the book and unfortunately, they didn't.

Big change between the book and the show is the fact that Tara (the protagonist's best friend) was a main part of the show while in Dead Until Dark she hasn't even been introduced yet. Another difference is that the books portrayed Sookie as an innocent woman who always follows the morals her grandmother taught her while in the TV Shows she isn't (much). Aside from these two things everything else is almost the same.

I loved Sookie (the protagonist) and her narration. It was sweet, humorous and simple; nothing too over the top and annoying. And the best part is that I didn't find her irritating at all. For that, I give Harris a mental applause. Bill (the male lead) on the other hand was actually the hopeless romantic vampire you expect from a vampire back in the 2001. But thanks to the image HBO gave me of Bill, I still dislike him. Other characters like Sam, Eric, Pam, Jason, Arlene, Lafayette, and Renee are all the same as we see them on screen. I’m actually very happy that they stayed true to the books with most of the characters.

In short, the TV Shows have added in a lot of new content to make the episodes longer and more interesting to the public while the books are spot on and original in its own way. With characters and a plot that will always stay Harris' own. I am surprised that I actually loved this book enough to consider reading the other eleven books Charlaine Harris wrote. Eleven books will be quite a journey. Wish me luck!

4/5 stars

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