Thursday, January 28, 2010

CBR II: Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris

I was hesitant to read this book.  See, it was given to me for my last birthday by a 30+ woman who loves Twilight, the only book I've had to stop reading out of disgust.  My concerns weren't helped when the aforementioned friend gushed about how 'hot' it was that the lead male said 'She is mine' about the lead female (at times like that, it's very hard not to point out the possible connection between opinions like that and her terrible track history with men).

So yeah, I went in with prejudices.  And a summer head cold, which, really, is just the virus world's way of laughing at us.  Bastards.  But I'd read a few reviews that basically said, 'this ain't Twilight', so I figured I had nothing to lose.

I really enjoyed it.  A lot more than I expected to.

Now, in case you're one of the five people left on earth who haven't heard of the series or its TV off-shoot, 'True Blood', Dead until Dark is the tale of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress and her encounter with the vampire Bill.  And their hot sex.  And yeah, he does say 'she is mine', but with some of the vampires, that doesn't mean much.  And luckily, Sookie finds it about as attractive as I do.

Sookie is an interesting character.  She's got all the standard romance cliches: pretty, several hot guys want her, virgin and, very sheltered.  She is, of course, Plucky and has a Magic Power.

Yet half the town call her Crazy Sookie.  She gets wonderfully pissed off by men playing games with her.  She understands her limits, but there's a thread of determination and she will, if necessary, try to rip your testicles off and feed them to you.  Despite the fantasy premise and the cliches, she's quite believable.  

Bill the vampire, is also interesting, but I have to admit, I didn't entirely feel the romance.  Although he's eminently worthy of being loved, I couldn't help but feel that poor Sookie initially fell for him out of mix of loneliness and delight that she couldn't read his mind.  Like, here was the first man able to hide thoughts about moles on butts when they're together, and that was enough for her.  Don't get me wrong, girlfriend is sensible about dating the vampire, and makes it damn clear she's loyal to Bill (which I respect her for) but put it this way: Harris has already set up at least two other genuine contenders (one a shape shifter, the other a much more powerful vampire) and, should she go down the Anita Blake path, at least one fuck-buddy (and Charlaine, please, don't go down that path), and I'm just not convinced that Bill would actually win out.

Aside from that, a few little points/amusements that struck me while reading.  These are spoilery (for those five people)

- Another word for whinger in my part of the world is 'Sook'.  So I'm having my own personal issues about her name.  My inner five-year old is all 'whut?  Rah-ha!'

- Why the fuck did the vampire blood turn her hair lighter?  I get the skin and the feeling healthier and the general sexiness, but since when did vampire blood turn into L'oreal?  Hair is dead, and 'sides, this version of the mythology holds that Vamps are stuck the way they are when they change.  Also, what does it say about me that I'm pondering this?  Book full of shapeshifters and flying fanged guys and all other weird shit and I'm questioning on the hair?!?

-Bubba.  Hehehe.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go buy a few more of these books....

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