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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review: Dexter series (the first four books) by Jeff Lindsay

My husband and I have been big fans of the television show Dexter. When I discovered there were books, my first thoughts were that this would be the opposite of the Sookie Stackhouse Series. With Sookie, I read the books years before True Blood became a TV show. With Dexter, I saw the TV show first, then read the books. Somehow, I thought this would give me some sort of answer about whether it's better to see it in video format first, or in book format first. It didn't. In both cases, the television versions stray far enough from the books that they are more like Fan Fiction than the original. So, it's apples and oranges. I think it's less frustrating to watch it on TV first though, because the books give you more insight into the character than a TV show can possibly give you.

But, enough of that, you want to hear what I thought of the books, right?

In Darkly Dreaming Dexter we first meet our favorite Sociopath. I have to say that I don't think he's quite as lovable in the books as he is in the show. The books are a bit darker, I think. The first book has the same basic plot as the first season of the TV show: The Ice Truck Killer. Things end differently though. A lot differently. People die in the book that are still alive much later in the television series. I give the first book in the Dexter series an 8 of 10.

In the second book in this series, Dearly Devoted Dexter, things veer sharply away from the television plotlines. I think that is probably because the subject matter in book two is too dark for the television show. There is a monster loose in Miami who does not kill people, he does something much worse. He cuts off arms, legs, genitals, eyelids, and tongue. He does it over a long period of time (sometimes cutting off toes, then feet, then up to the knees, then at the hip). And he keeps his victims alive (and awake) throughout the process. I give the second book in this series a 9 of 10.

The third book, Dexter in the Dark, is (gasp) an Urban Fantasy, drawing on ancient mythos, and bringing them into the present. I had no idea that this series was going to head off into areas that I happen to like. While most of the reviewers at Amazon seem to hate this book, I liked it. Mostly. Dexter in the Dark once again veers sharply away from the television series. I don't really like the Rita in the books, but I love her kids. I'm actually a bit disappointed that the television show didn't pick up on the mentor thing. I give Dexter in the Dark an 8 of 10.

The fourth book of this series, Dexter by Design, brings us back to the Dexter of books one and two. Well, except he's married now. I really do not like the book Rita, and I'm not sure if that's the author's intention or not. The storyline in this fourth book deals a bit more with Deb and with Dexter's feelings about Deb - I like that Deb knows about Dexter in the books, and I have to wonder if the TV series is ever going to take us there. I enjoyed the travel and the experiences, and felt the pacing and plotline were very well done. This one gets a 9 of 10 from me.

I will give the Dexter series so far a 9 of 10.

The fifth book in the series, Dexter Is Delicious, is due out in September of 2010. There is a blurb for it already:

Everything's changing for our friendly neighborhood serial killer. As if getting married wasn't enough to complete his nice-guy persona, Dex is now the proud father of a baby girl.

And disconcertingly, he actually seems to care. But even if fatherhood is distracting Dexter from his midnight excursions to rid Miami of a few more lowlifes, there's no let-up at work.

Two young girls are missing - and it's not long before one of the bodies turns up, partially eaten. But as Dexter and Miami PD's finest investigate, Dex can't shake the feeling that somebody's watching him... And at home, there's no rest for the wicked.

His stepchildren are clamouring to learn how to control their bloodlust, and Dexter must train up his young apprentices. But to do that, he'll have to find the missing girl, find out who's tailing him, and survive a dark journey into an underground community that really has a taste for death.

Cannibalism. It sounds to me like things are only going to get darker.

Now if I could just get a blurb for Season Five of Dexter.

1. Darkly Dreaming Dexter 8 of 10
2. Dearly Devoted Dexter 9 of 10
3. Dexter in the Dark 8 of 10
4. Dexter by Design 9 of 10
5. Dexter Is Delicious (coming September 2010)

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