Tag Archive: vampire


Book Review: Dead Until Dark


When my recent cold left me home with little to do besides drink hot tea and watch too much Doctor Who (which is silly; there’s no such thing as “too much” Doctor Who) I decided to read one of the books that came on my Kindle. The one I chose was Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, the first of the Southern Vampire Mysteries – the books that serve as source material for the show True Blood. I’ve never seen the show so I was unfamiliar with the characters and the work in general.

For those unfamiliar with the book, here is a brief synopsis –

At some unspecified point before the beginning of the book, vampires “came out” and have started living openly in human society. This is made possible by the widespread availability of synthetic blood and the existence of vampire groupies (called “fang-bangers”) willing to serve as live donors.  The main protagonist is Sookie Stackhouse, a young waitress in a small Louisiana town who has what she considers a “disability” – telepathy. Her ability is widely known in the small town, but on par with a bad habit – people ignore it to be polite and rarely ever speak of Crazy Sookie’s eccentricity. One of the vampires, Bill Compton, has returned to town to claim his family’s home now that he is legally able to do so and he shows up at the bar where Sookie works. She surprised to discover that she cannot read his thoughts and finds him fascinating, partly because of his vampirism and partly because of the silence she hears around him. Shortly after his first appearance in the bar she saves him from a pair of “drainers,” humans who drain vampires of their blood and sell it as a street drug. The two begin a romance that oscillates off and on for much of the book. Sookie’s boss, Sam, also begins displaying feelings for her, something Sookie calls him on when he starts acting jealous by pointing out that he had plenty of time to ask her out before Bill arrived in town. Laced within this rivalry/love story is the mystery of who is killing local girls, the fact that they were all fang-bangers leads many to suspect that the killings are the work of a vampire.

The author attempts to blend together a love story with a mystery and in trying to balance one against the other they both suffer. Sookie falls very quickly in love with Bill, even though he acts remote and distant at times, in a way that reminds me unpleasantly of Bella from the Twilight series. However, Sookie is a much more dynamic character than that wet piece of cardboard and is quite likable. Bill is very stoic, revealing very little of himself, but there are hints of a deeper character underneath. When Sookie reveals details of what her “funny uncle” did to her, he remains outwardly calm but the next morning the uncle is found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs with a broken neck. Since this is the first of several books, I hope there is more character development in the future.

There were enough hints as to who the murderer of the fang-bangers is well before the identity is revealedthat it is more of a “Of course it was [***].” moment instead of a “I can’t believe it was [***]!” moment. I like a little more suspense in my mysteries.

I am impressed with the author’s depiction of Sookie’s telepathy, which is perhaps the most realistic interpretation I have read. Instead of being able to pluck thoughts from people’s heads and read them like books, she gets shattered fragments; words, phrases, a image, a vague feeling, a swirl of colors, or a memory playing out like a snippet of film. This is closer to how people really think, in cobbled-together bits and pieces, than the neat and orderly fashion often depicted in fiction. Sookie isn’t always able to interpret what she sees and feels from others, since it often lacks context, and her frustration over this at pivotal times lends to the believability of her character. Instead of being an omnipotent mind reader able to probe your innermost recesses, she is stuck adjusting the rabbit-ears on an old analog TV in an attempt to pick up anything that makes sense.

My final grade for the book is a C; the plot was muddled and forced at times, but the characters have potential and there are some very unique aspects to the world the author has built. I am curious to see what the second book will be like.

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I don’t use a lot of cosmetic stuff; for the most part makeup makes me break out in a rash, but most body powder is pretty safe. I bought some new powder, a brand I have not tried before, and I dabbed a little on to see if I would have a reaction. Standard protocol for anyone with a sensitivity or allergy. I didn’t have any sort of reaction after a day, so I thought I was good to go.

My bathroom has a dimmer switch, thoughtfully installed by my Dad, because my eyes are sensitive to light, especially early in the morning.

I swear these two things have something in common.

So I apply my new powder in my dim bathroom and go about my business. It was not until later, when I was at work under the bright fluorescents, that I realized something. My new powder was, in fact, a glitter body powder. It is full of ultra-fine glitter that makes me all shiny like a sparklepire.

I guess I’m going to have tack eighty years to my age, move to the Pacific Northwest, and find some emo with low self-esteem to stalk in the name of love.

Braaaaainssss…


Last night I watched Resident Evil, something I have never seen before, right before bed. I know better than that, but I was curious as to what the big deal was with the whole series and I had some time left on my Farmville farm, so I figured “What the hell.”

Such a big mistake.

It’s not that it was scary, I found the makeup and effects to be a bit pedestrian, but it was the inherent flaws in the story that left me pondering in the darkness. And before I get some snippy cinefreak jumping all over me about suspension of disbelief and all that filmtastic junk, let me just say; I don’t care. I love movies and I’m willing to accept a degree of impractical psuedo-science, but this was just too much. It was a bad movie.

Case in point – the T-virus. This is the thing that makes everything else happen. It’s because of the virus’ release that the place is put on lockdown and so forth and so on. As the Red Queen helpfully exposits, the virus works on the idea that the body keeps going after death, that nails and hair continue to grow.

This is an old wives’ tale; the body doesn’t continue to function after death. That’s why you’re dead – you stopped functioning.

In my misguided efforts to try to rationalize the thought processes behind this, all I could come up – it’s for organ harvesting purposes.

Not everyone has an access panel in their tummy.

That kinda makes sense, in the sense that if the body is kept alive through this mojo-magic science, then it would be easier to harvest the organs when you needed them.

But… the organs would be filled with a virulent disease that would turn the recipient into a brainless, ravening monster.

Clearly this wasn’t a well thought out plan. Unless there is an untapped market for corpse-hair and corpse-fingernails that I’m  not aware of.

A good zombie plague could do wonders for the weave industry

This seems counterintuitive, since the Umbrella Corp has stasis devices that could keep their corpsesicles fresh and freezer-burn free for years. The tongue-creature was in such a stasis unit and seemed quite sprightly.

Speaking of the tongue-creature, the Red Queen states that it is the result of the T-virus being injected directly into living tissue. Rain was chock-full of living tissue when she was bitten numerous times. These bites would have injected the virus into her living tissue, and yet it takes two thirds of the movie for her to go zombie. And yet Disposable Male Romantic Interest #2 is only scratched by the tongue-creature and within minutes starts mutating.

I don’t think the writers of Resident Evil have ever heard of science.

And even though there were several scenes of these “monsters” feeding, the bodies were surprisingly intact. This could be because the zombies, while ravenous, lacked the muscle control to bite and swallow their food, or it was simply a dumb-ass movie.

I started thinking, as I so often do, that there seems to be a lot of zombies in the media lately. Zombies and vampires.

This is not a vampire. This is an insult to your brain.

There’s probably some deep psychological reason for this, perhaps tapping into the fear of dead bodies nearly everyone has, or the use of blood-drinking to simulate sexual congress. I’m sure there are many scholarly works on the phenomenon out there. This being the Internet, there’s probably a site devoted to vampire/zombie slashfic, but I ain’t gonna look for it.

HELL. NO.

It kind of sad that with all the advances in effects and CGI that there are so many bad monster movies being made. I love monster movies, but I haven’t seen a really good new one in years. (I’m not including Hostel or Saw, those are slasher flicks.) I added some of the later Resident Evil movies to my Netflix queue, but I might remove them. I just wasn’t impressed.