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Woke, but Tiring – A Review of Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Just finished this book in time for the new year. Pity the review came out a bit later, so you didn’t know.

Another pity was this book. We’ll talk more about that in a second.

In Dead Until Dark vampires are real. The supernatural is mainstreaming and becoming part of daily life with humans. Including Sookie Stackhouse, a human with mind reading abilities. With the arrival of a hot vampire at the small town bar she works at, he brings on a little bit more trouble whether he wanted to or not. Murder. The deaths of various humans who get down with vampires, including one of Sookie’s coworkers. She’s down to prove the innocence of those she’s close with and do whatever she can to make sure she’s not targeted next.

Let’s talk about this Sookie character first. A lot of her traits felt very contradictory. She hates people due to reading their minds uncontrollably sometimes but she’s incredibly bubbly. Her emotions and feelings towards her clearly shifty boyfriend change more than weather in the spring, hating him in the morning and bedding him the same night. Her strengths became her weaknesses at the same time, and it was like the author flipped a coin to decide if she’d be good with them or not. It made me very hard to feel for her unless a situation she got into just had plain old shock factor.

Speaking of shock factor, the killer. This is a murder mystery plot after all. There wasn’t any realisation at any time during the novel over who the killer was and me being right, or when the killer was revealed I was in disbelief or realising it all made sense. It was just left feeling mediocre about it. It only barely made sense because this character really didn’t have a lot of presence in the story. There were no stand-out points that connected their motives and made everything click. It was like fixing a car with duct tape.

It wasn’t all piss poor though. The magical realism played into this book was quite well done, how the vampires decided to fit into the world and much about them was already well known to the general public, including some stereotypes. It made the world feel solid. Another solid part of the world was how diverse both the humans and vampires were and how naturally they were a part of it; black vampires, gay vampires, polyamoury between vampires and humans. It made the world feel all the more natural.

Until we talk about how the men in it were portrayed. All of them were assholes, and for some reason the main character looked up to a lot of them? The hot vampire she dates is clearly manipulative, her boss wants to be a homewrecker on her relationship, her brother calls Sookie’s mental trauma ‘excuses’. I’m not saying men are as pure as Jesus himself, but none of them came close.

And as much as I was looking forward to reading a lot of the series, I don’t want to now. This is the first and only Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood book I’ll be reviewing on this blog I’m afraid.

Dead Until Dark gets a score of 2/5. I’ll give it credit for being woke at the time of its publishing, but everything else can be discredited.

Yours in writing

Amy