Living Dead in Dallas: A Review of Charlaine Harris’ Second Book in Her True Blood Series

dallasIn Living Dead in DallasCharlaine Harris continues the bad luck streak that cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse seems to have been stuck in ever since Bon Temps received its very first vampire. Harris opens her novel much like HBO left off the first season, with the death of somebody in the back of a car in Merlotte’s parking lot. However, unlike HBO’s True Blood, the body in the car will turn out to be the body of one of Sookie Stackhouse’s coworkers, only no one really seems to care which bothers Sookie tremendously.

With the murder of her co-worker, Sookie is floored and hurt, but she soon will find herself in a whole new world of supernatural trouble. In Living Dead in Dallas, Sookie does take on the Maenad in the woods and nearly looses her life to her, but the vampires save her, sucking the poison from her veins. Since they save her, Sookie is now indebted to Eric, so when he requests that she go to Dallas to aid in the search of the missing vampire, Godric, she must comply.

Variations From True Blood

In HBO’s True Blood, Vampire Bill stacked Longshadow when he went to attack Sookie and thus, was forced to make a vampire out of a young girl named Jessica as his punishment. However, In Harris’ Dead Until Dark, it was not Vampire Bill who does the staking and therefore, there is no Vampire Jessica to interfere and complicate Sookie and Bill’s relationship at this point.

Moreover, Godric though meeting the same end in both the book and the series, is portrayed much more as a tortured man in Living Dead in Dallas as opposed to the series which paints him as a man with many regrets and a strong desire for redemption. He is also not Eric’s maker in the book, but is written as such in the True Blood series. The Fellowship of the Sun subplot with Jason Stackhouse is also an invention of the HBO series and not the book.

Main Points of Living Dead in Dallas

Moreover, what is key to this installment of the Sookie Stackhouse books is that Sookie gets attacked by the Maenad in the woods, inevitably goes to Dallas with Bill, uncovers Godric and gets stuck in the attack on the vampire nest where Eric Northman manipulates Sookie in such a way that she will be forever changed.

Overall, Harris delivers with Living Dead in Dallas. She expands greatly on many of the relationships that she introduced in Dead Until Darkand again, sets up the drama and events for what is to come in her following installment.

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris is available for purchase through Penguin Books with ISBN 9780441009237.

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Dead Until Dark: A Review of Charlaine Harris’ First Book in Her True Blood Series

until darkCharlaine Harris introduces any of True Blood’s most admired characters in her first installment. Dead Until Dark, introduces Sookie Stackhouse, her sex-on-a-stick brother Jason, Vampire Bill, Eric Northman, Sam Merlotte, Detective Andy Bellefleur and many others.

Harris begins Dead Until Dark, her story of the fictional town of Bon Temps much like HBO begins the series with vampires finally “coming out of the coffin.” The vampires have officially announced their existence thanks to the Japanese who were able to create a synthetic blood substitute eliminating to the need for vampires to feed on humans, though it does not take away the vampire’s strong desire for human blood.

Vampire Bill

Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress at Sam Merlotte’s bar and supernatural in her own right, is excited that Merlotte’s has had its very own first vampire visitor, Vampire Bill. Sookie immediately befriends Bill, winning him over later in the story when she saves him from hated vampire drainers. Harris lays the foundation for the relationship that will later develop between the two.

Dead Until Dark and True Blood

The first season of HBO’s True Blood is based off of this book. As seen in the show, Vampire Bill and Sookie meet, Renee turns out to be more than what everyone thought he was, the Rattrays turn out to be a lot more than just drug dealers and what is most strikingly different from the series is that when Sookie runs into trouble with the Vampire Longshadow in Fangtasia, it is not Vampire Bill who does the staking.

Outside of plot-line with Renee that mostly ends in this book, much of what occurs in Dead Until Dark is setting up the story-line for the next installment in the series. Much of what has happened to Sookie will effect her choices and decisions in what Charlaine Harris delivers next and in what HBO delivers in season two of the True Blood series.

Commentary of Harris’ Creation

Overall, Harris does a great job of getting the reader to feel as though they are truly in Bon Temps, watching the beginning of all of this supernatural activity swirl around them. Her descriptions and plot twists make for a true page turner. Dead Until Dark, as action packed as Harris has written it, is still kept on the short side of a novel, but that does not mean the reader is left feeling jilted. Instead, readers are made ready and looking forward to what Harris creates next in Living Dead in Dallas.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris is available for purchase through Penguin Books with ISBN 9780441016990.