Originally reviewed here
.Why I Read It:
I bought a box-set with the first seven books in this series almost FOUR YEARS ago. I bought impulsively because I saw them being reviewed on [info]calico_reaction's blog and they were all being given favourable reviews. It was still stupid of me to buy so many at once though. Anyway, they languished for a few months on my TBR before I got my hands on the first couple of episodes of the HBO adaptation True Blood. I thought that would give me the kick I needed to start the books. Well, it had the opposite effect. I was bored to tears by the show and it destroyed any incentive I had to start the books. I *finally* decided to try the first book because I'm determined to read the older books in my TBR this year. Needless to say though, my expectations were fairly low.
I have to say, having low expectations can have its advantages. I was expecting to really not enjoy this book, but it surprisingly ended up being okay. No, I didn't LOVE it. I didn't even like THAT much, but it never felt like a chore to read.
I think part of the reason I enjoyed this more than the television show was that the novel has a tighter focus. Because True Blood had to have enough material for a whole 12-episode season, they focused on characters other than Sookie. I also felt like the show meandered needlessly a lot and it felt loonngg and dragged out. The novel on the otherhand focuses solely on Sookie since it's told from her POV. This worked MUCH better for me. It also stuck to the meat-and-potatoes of the plot, as opposed to going off on tangents that were presented in the show.
As for the story itself? It was okay. Sookie is a fairly likable heroine. She rarely bemoans being able to read people's minds. Instead, she's come up with ways to deal with it and is a good sport about the whole thing. I was annoyed about how much she talks about her virginity and her "hormones" though. Ugh, I GET IT, you've never had sex but you REALLY want to.
I also found myself quite liking the relationship between Bill and Sookie. It was fraught with tension, but it never devolved into anything dangerous or unhealthy (as far as dating a vampire goes anyway). There was a few times when Bill would pick Sookie up and carry her around and THAT did irk me (reminded me a little too much of Edward and Bella) but then there's a scene where Sookie yells at him for doing so and telling him she's a grown woman and can walk by herself. That made me much happier. I was a little put off by the the first time they had sex though (which I won't say more about due to spoilers.) Other than that though, it was decent.
The mystery aspect of the novel felt a little lackluster for me. The novel never really gave any clues about who the murderer could be and while I *did* guess who was doing them, it was really more of an arbitrary guess than anything. It wasn't *completely* left field, but so many people in Bon Temps were anti-vampire to begin with that it wasn't shocking.
And just one last thing. It's become a common complaint that PNR has otherworldly beings that claim to be powerful and dangerous and never do much other than brood and act mysterious -- in other words, they never feel *that* dangerous. I'm happy to say the vampires in this novel DO feel dangerous. They're volatile and crazyyy.Final Verdict:
My expectations were pretty low, so while I liked this book more than I thought I would, I still didn't *love* it. Sookie was a likable character and I liked her spunk and her relationship with Bill had tension, and had no insta-love (insta-attraction maybe, but Sookie recognizes that he's a dangerous being as well). The mystery was very "meh" and even though this novel felt like it was supposed to be a mystery, the mystery itself felt very secondary to everything else. The pros outweigh the cons enough that I'm willing to try the second book and see how things go.