Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris This review is full of spoilers.

Before I start, I think it's important to say that I watched True Blood before I read this book and so it somewhat colored my opinion of the characters, and events, that being said, I didn't care for the first season of True Blood so I went into this book hoping that it would be better than the show, but not expecting much.

I was not overly impressed with this book, although it did have it's moments. Right off the bat I found Sookie to be irritating, but I can't quite place my finger on what about her irritated me. It could have been her un-modest self introduction of her own looks that just rubbed me the wrong way, or the way that she calls her telepathy a disability. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand that she was trying to show that she did not consider this a gift, but to call it a disability is uncalled for in my opinion. Whatever the reason I just found her frustrating from the start, but I can't think of a book that I've read about telepath, and I found the concept interesting.
Unfortunately, the story begins with Sookie meeting Bill, the vampire. I enjoyed the first few pages of their meeting, which was not full of the cliche love at first sight or obsession before they even speak. She was justifiably intrigued by him because as a vampire, she could not hear his thoughts. I also enjoyed a story starting out with our leading lady saving the male love interest.
The story was set up as a mystery, but because I saw the show first I already knew who the killer was, so I can't speak on the suspense (although that story line is kept fairly well on screen, and I enjoyed the suspense there).
I was very unhappy with the portrayal of relationships in this book. The thing that made me most upset was the fact that, on the night her grandmother died (or perhaps her funeral? I can not remember) Bill thinks it is a good idea to comfort this distraught young girl, by having sex with her for the first time, and her first time for that matter. Now call me crazy, but I do not think that when a person loses their grandmother, and only parental figure, and is grief stricken, it is a good time to make them make those big decisions. It is not the time to try to move the relationship to 'the next level' nor is it the time to make decisions of virginity. I know that if I were in Sookie's position I would have felt extremely taken advantage of, although perhaps not until after the fact, and Bill, being incredibly old, should know better. I also cringed at nice-guy-Sam-Merlotte. I was very upset at the way that the author brushed aside Sam mascaraing as a dog and watching Sookie undress. To be honest that one thing that I will take away from this book was how distressing it was reading about Sookie's relationships, because on top of the large events I mentioned, there was a terrifying aspect to her relationship with Bill that stemmed from his controlling and jealous attitude towards her, and her feeble objections to being treated like his property and then content acceptance of it all.

I would recommend this to people who liked the Vampire Diaries books, or someone looking for a quick romance-mystery for a vacation of something, but not to someone looking for a good mystery. The book had it's moments but overall it left a bad taste in my mouth and the desire to read something with a healthy relationship.