You may well have heard of the Sookie Stackhouse series, written by Charlaine Harris. I hadn't...until about two weeks ago, when my online friend, Mim, from New South Wales, Australia, recommended it on her blog. Thanks Mim! I have since done a bit of online research into this series and have discovered it to be a pretty huge hit world-wide! But I am no longer ignorant. Dead Until Dark is the first of nine in the Sookie Stackhouse series, and I just finished it.
A couple of years ago, I would never have seen myself enjoying this book, but that would have been a pre-Twilight opinion. What does that series have in common with the Sookie Stackhouse series? Vampires! Yes, all of you vampire haters out there - breathe your heavy sigh of disbelief now, and then move on to something else, because we're talking bloodsuckers and shape shifters here!
Sookie Stackhouse is the main character in this book that introduces the series. The plot features her relationship with her new vampire boyfriend, Bill, and revolves around a few mysterious deaths that some would like to attribute to Bill. What's unusual about this book (ok - there's lots that's unusual, so consider this just one more thing!) is that, unlike in Twilight, the vampire presence is an accepted part of the mainstream community (so, instead of ordering a beer at your local restaurant, a vamp might order up a pint of synthetic blood - you know, that kind of stuff).
This book predates the Twilight series, a fact which I find almost unexplainably interesting - maybe it's something to do with the fact that Twilight was my virginal entree into the world of vampires; I didn't know this kind of popular fiction existed before my (belated) reading of Twilight a year ago. In fact, Dead Until Dark reminds me of Twilight in a way, and it made me wonder if Stephenie Meyer was influenced by Charlaine Harris in her writing of the Bella and Edward characters.
I'd have to say that, so far, I like the Twilight series better, but there's a good chance that this may be because I'm already attached to those characters (having read over 2,000 pages of that four-part series and having watched the first two movies). That being said, I'm in no way complaining about having to read an additional eight books in the Sookie Stackhouse novels...in fact, I am already in possession (via the library) of book #2 in the series. Unfortunately, I've noticed that #3 in the series has a long wait list for it, so I'll be waiting a while to finish them. In the meantime, I think I'll be heading to Blockbuster Video shortly - I understand that the Sookie Stackhouse series forms the premise of the hugely popular television series, True Blood, and I may as well start that series from the beginning, too!
Anyway, if you're at all interested in the whole vamp/shape shifter scene, check out Sookie Stackhouse...at least she's a more interesting and opinionated and self-assured character than Bella!