“He was pale, of course; hey, he was dead, if you believed the old tales. The politically correct theory, the one the vamps themselves publicly backed, had it that this guy was the victim of a virus that left him apparently dead for a couple of days and thereafter allergic to sunlight, silver, and garlic. The details depended on which newspaper you read. They were all full of vampire stuff these days.”

I added this also to my ebook challenge read. This is the first in the Sookie Stackhouse -series which I’ve heard called alternatively urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, horror, and paranormal mystery. I would actually call this one a paranormal romance because the plot in the first book is the relationship between Sookie and her vampire. So, I was again the wrong reader for this one.

Good: –
Not-so-good: not really original but very much average
Bad: vampires as romantic

Sookie Stackhouse is a young waitress who lives in a small town with her grandmother. She also the ability to hear other people’s thoughts. Because she can’t be open about it, she calls the ability her disability and other people just call her weird or mad. Vampires interest her but she hasn’t met any until the start of the book where her first vampire steps into the bar she works in.

Sookie finds out that she can’t hear the vampire’s thoughts which she finds soothing because around people she has to always concentrate to keep the thoughts of other people out of her mind. However, she also finds out that in the bar there is couple, Denise and Mack Rattray, who drain vampires’ blood and sell it. Of course, Sookie becomes worried. When the Rattrays and the vampire, who is called Bill, leave Sookie follows them.

The Rattrays have subdued Bill and are draining his blood so Sookie attacks the couple and drives them away. Soon enough, Sookie is seeing Bill often and even her grandmother is interested in hearing about Bill’s experiences during the civil war. But then one of the local young women is killed. She was known to frequent a vampire bar in a bigger town.

Sookie is very much a girl-next-door protagonist; she’s curious and friendly, loyal and cares deeply about the people in her life. The only thing she isn’t open about is her mind-reading ability but most people know about that, too.

The setting is the modern day US south where the vampires have just come out in the open and have been accepted as citizens although not everyone are thrilled about it. There are vampire bars where some mortals go to get bitten by vampires. On the other hand, other people seem to have no problem killing vampires. This is quite similar to Hamilton’s Anita Blake -series’ setting (I’ve just started the first book) and I was a bit disappointed by the similarity.

Some vampires don’t pretend to be human but act as they please. However, they are cast in the villain role here. Bill is seen as the romantic, old fashioned hero although even he reveals his inhuman side when provoked.

The story flows well and there’s nothing really to disruptive in it. If you like romance, you’ll probably like this one. The characters have some depth but they don’t really have quirks to separate them from all the other characters around. The plot seemed very light-weight to me, because I’d like something more in the plot than just a romance.

My biggest problem is that I consider vampires to be soulless, blood sucking murderers who might appear charming and suave but to whom humans are always just one thing: food. So, I really have a hard time picturing them as romantic anything.

Characters: 5, Setting: 5, Plot 4.
Overall: 4