Warning: There are big spoilers for True Blood season one and mild spoilers for season two contained herein.

I recently purchased Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels to provide me with some easy reading while on holiday. I have a thing about reading in public, I really can’t do it, certainly not with anything that requires a modicum of concentration. I tend to get so engrossed in the book that all around me is blocked out, and yet I still retain that child’s curiosity where I can’t bear to not be involved in what is going on around me. So when I want to read my favourite Dickens, or lose myself in Thomas Hardy’s words, I lock myself away somewhere. If I want something to keep me amused in quiet times by the pool I buy something that doesn’t require one hundred percent of my attention.

Unfortunately, I also have an inability to leave unread books just lying around unread. So instead of reserving Sookie and her vampiric adventures for leisurely holiday perusal, I have picked them up and gone through the first two already.

True Blood, the HBO series based on the books, is one of my favorite current series. I have been assured by everybody I know who has already read the books that, other than the main characters, the books bear little resemblance to the TV series. I assumed it may be similar to how Dexter worked. The first season followed the story of Darkly Dreaming Dexter, but Showtime only retained the rights to the first book, so subsequent seasons bore no resemblance whatsoever to the subsequent books.

While people continue to assure me that the books and the series are not the same thing, I beg to differ as far as the first two books and TV seasons go. Granted, the first book, Dead Until Dark, is not a full enough story to make a feature length movie out of, let alone a 13 part TV season. True Blood season one follows the base storyline of Dead Until Dark; girl meets vampire, dates vampire, people start dying, girl’s brother is the suspect, but not, as it turns out, the murderer. The books are written in first person and while Sookie and Bill are quite rounded characters, the background characters remain just that. Whereas in the show, they are much more fleshed out with subplots and storylines of their very own.

True Blood season two follows Living Dead in Dallas in the same manner, although I am on UK time with this show so haven’t seen the full season as yet. Again, it’s a couple of hundred pages book, so the TV series is a much fleshed out and sub-plotty version that follows the basic plot line. Vampires in Dallas need Sookie’s help to find a missing brother who has been kidnapped by The Fellowship of the Sun. This book manages to have a small subplot of it’s own, with the maenad making an appearance at the beginning and again at the end of the book, while the Dallas storyline takes up most of the in between part.

And then, right at the end, there is a, actually rather cool, revelation about Bill’s past, which I am kinda hoping they keep in the series, because there is so much conflict and story potential in it. On the other hand, if they do include this in the series, it’s quite a huge revelation and I really would have rather seen it play out on the screen than in the much inferior book.

Now, I am very wary of starting the third book, in case True Blood series three follows the story in the same way it has with the first two books. I just don’t see how I can avoid it without starting on the back up holiday books or paying another visit to Amazon.