Dead Until Dark, the first Sookie Stackhouse novel and the basis of True Blood, by Charlaine Harris was much better than I expected, and made me hate Twilight all the more. No sparkling vampires here! I also noticed that there were striking similarities in how Harris writes about vampire Bill and Sookie's other love interest Sam, and how Meyers writes about vampire Edward and Bella's other love interest Jacob. I feel like Meyers borrowed a bit from Ms. Harris there. I will say that Meyers' character development is stronger when comparing first book to first book, but Twilight is like four times as long so that's not quite fair.
What I really loved about Dead Until Dark is the southern aspects. I've been to Shreveport and have driven through the state several times when driving from Oklahoma to Alabama and Florida, so I could vividly picture the surroundings. Harris gives a shout out to Anne Rice and mentions that the vampires seem to collect in New Orleans, perhaps because of her books. They're excited to get vampires a little further north in this book. The setting was just so familiar to me, and I think that made reading about the vampires all the more interesting.
I also like the Sookie is kind of a badass. She totally goes after two people with a chain. But she's really normal at that same time, even though everyone thinks she's crazy because of the telepathic stuff.
I also enjoyed how Harris talked about the vampires being out in society, and how it's PC to say they have a "virus" rather than saying they're dead. And they have vampire groupies called "fang-bangers." It's hilarious. I will definitely check out the other books in the series, and will probably have to try the show as well. I do really like Anna Paquin, and think she probably fits the role really well.
And this counts toward the four-month reading challenge!