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Sookie Stackhouse, Book 1
Goodreads⎮Reviewed July 2018
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Length: 10 hours
Publisher: Recorded Books⎮2007
Synopsis: Vampires have officially “come out of the coffin”, and Miss Sookie can’t wait for one to come her way.
Anthony Award-winner Charlaine Harris’ New York Times and USA Today best-selling Sookie Stackhouse novels entice countless fans with an irresistible mixture of vampire romance, beguiling mystery, and old-fashioned Southern charm.
4.5★ Audiobook⎮ I watched HBO’s True Blood series in its entirety nearly a decade ago. I enjoyed it enough to finish the entire series, but I’ve never thought of it as one of my favorite shows. Last year, when I read the Midnight, Texas trilogy from Charlaine Harris, I considered listening to the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I adored the Midnight, Texas novels and wanted more of Harris’ atmospheric writing. But I was concerned that having already seen True Blood would hinder my enjoyment. From what I can tell, the HBO show was very closely adapted from the Sookie Stackhouse novels.
Recently, after doing some further research on the matter, I discovered that the TV show and book series go their separate ways after a certain point. This, and my hankering for something Southern Gothic, was enough to make me a dive head first into Dead Until Dark. I can now confirm that the first (and second) installments in this series closely mirror events from the television show.
However, it didn’t bother me as much as I had anticipated. Instead, it was rather nice to be introduced to the characters and setting of Bon Temps by Charlaine. She has this richly engaging way of setting a scene that almost feels downright cozy. I even found myself liking Sookie and Bill more than I did in the show. There were minor deviations, but for the most part, they were more like elaborations than outright differences.
Most of all, I really loved being able to picture the cast members while listening to Dead Until Dark (particularly Alexander Skarsgård!). But my favorite part, by far, was Bubba. Bubba is the vampiric incarnation of an American rock legend who was “turned” by a morgue attendant who happened to be a big fan. Although it isn’t outright stated, it’s safe to assumed that “Bubba” is/was Elvis Presley. As a huge Elvis fan, I loved this inclusion. Bubba doesn’t play a huge part in the story, but he still managed to be my favorite (even though he eats cats!). It’s a shame that Bubba never made an appearance in the television show (probably for legal reasons).
Even almost a decade removed from having seen the TV show, it was still hard to view Dead Until Dark with fresh eyes (ears). I love Harris’ detailed, yet straightforward manner of writing. It made the audiobook extremely easy to hear. I heard Dead Until Dark in a couple of days. And believe it or not, I actually think it was easier to follow in the book than the TV show. If you’ve yet to see it, I definitely recommend listening to the books first. I wish I had done it in that order.
Narration review: Although the material may not have been new to me, Johanna Parker was a pleasant surprise! She is such a find. I have been very impressed with her narration ability, especially her characterization. She does a marvelous job of providing clearly defined distinctions between the characters and matching said distinctions appropriately to each character’s persona. I was also floored by the authenticity with which she pulls off the Southern accent. The accent she gives Sookie actually sounds eerily similar to the one Anna Paquin used in the show. It’s a real Southern twang, not the Scarlett-esque “lilt” so many narrators use. Well done, Ms. Parker! I look forward to hearing you for the rest of the series. ♣︎