Two small southern town supernatural romances consecutively (this and beautiful creatures before it), and Dead Until Dark is the hands down winner. That probably just furthers my theory that I've officially "outgrown", so to speak, YA lit because I can't stop picturing the characters as kids whose silly love lives hold no value to me . I'd rather read about vampire sex.
I won't pretend this is miles above fantasy/supernatural YA romance lit. The kinda bad writing is pretty on par with it, the characterization leaves something to be desired, and the plotline is just as over-the-top border on ridiculous as any YA lit. But if you can put those things aside, you've got a nice little fun read about sex and vampires and murder mysteries. That same argument can be applied to most YA lit, of course, but the lack of YA-ness of Dead Until Dark is why I actually enjoyed it. After a succession of books about the one girl who's not like the rest, the slutty cheerleader foils, the sexy-bad-boy-cardboard-cut-of-a-human inexplicably in love with the empty vessel girl, the parents who just don't understand, reading a book where the length of other girls skirts and how much clothes the main character wears in comparison is not an issue was really refreshing. I guess what I'm getting at is I still like the over the top, trashy, campy, messy supernatural romances, it's just the insecure teenager-ness of it all that's turned me from the genre and led me to kind of enjoy this book.
Critically speaking, this book isn't much. It's a bit of a mess. Sookie is pretty empty-vessely. She cries a lot, has a power that sets her apart from everyone else, and things *just happen* to her. Bill's not really the *sexy bad boy* (I think that's Eric???), he's a decent guy, trying to adapt, trying to figure out why Sookie doesn't like him creeping around her house because girls like a century ago would have loved that. He's a bit like Edward Cullen without all the death threats and if Edward Cullen was absent for like half the book. The slew of supporting characters remind me a bit of a modern Jane Austen novel, with them all being a bit like caricatures of human beings (an overprotective boss, and older many times married best friend/co-worker, a promiscuous kinda underachieving brother, a flamboyant makeup wearing gay cook). Naturally, the leads fall in love in about 15 minutes. Drama ensues. Nobody really deals with that drama the way normal human beings do. Everybody has a super power.
But I liked it. I feel the same way I think most people feel about True Blood at this point. It's a bit terrible but I'm ok with that. I'm probably going to read the next few books in the series. My search for a light, fun series to read may not have been in vain after all.