books & reading reviews

Text-to-TV Showdown: Dead Until Dark vs. True Blood

I know it’s a risky move to watch a tv show or movie based off a book before reading it, but these things happen to the best of us. Usually it means I will be unable to read the book, already knowing the plot. This was true for the first half of Dead Until Dark, the first in a series by Charlaine Harris that the hit show True Blood is based off of. I’d just rented the first season on Netflix, which like the book, tells the story of Sukie Stackhouse, a modern day southern belle who happens to fall for a vampire.

In the story, vampires have just “come out” to society and are attempting to mainstream their way into society. I’d already started watching the show and was several episodes in, when I found out about the book series. It took me awhile to track down a copy of the book and meanwhile there was the tv show, in all it’s deliciousness. I couldn’t resist – I love a good vampire story and this one intrigued me. I really liked the spin they took on vampires and the idea of them trying to live peacefully among the living without pretending to be something else.

When I managed to snag a review copy of the book, I was feeling all kinds of guilty. I’d cheated on the first rule of Book Lovers: Always read the book first!!! I vowed to finish this book no matter what – never mind the new baby I gave birth to in the middle (seriously, my timing could not have been worse). I couldn’t help but compare the two and for awhile, I preferred the tv show – it’s easier to look at pretty pictures, let’s be honest), but either the writing got better halfway through, or I just finally got into it – either way, I ended up really liking it.

The book and tv show have a lot of major differences, although some major things like “Whodunnit” are the same. It was kind of hard to enjoy some scenes where the “villain” of the story seems nice and normal and I’m thinking, “Run away you fool!” This is probably what made it really hard to enjoy initially – knowing who the killer was. Oh well.

I did end up liking the book and definitely plan to read book two, Club Dead. So which one did I like better? TV show or book? I honestly cannot say! I think they did a great job making the two into their own things, both with pros and cons over the other – so you can enjoy both versions of the same basic story. I also plan to watch season two of True Blood when it comes out on DVD.

Are you a fan of all things Sukie Stackhouse? What do you think – which is better, the book or the show?