Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: 'Dead Reckoning' by Charlaine Harris

We are now at book eleven in The Southern Vampire Series, and the momentum seems to be winding down.  Upon last check, there are only two more novels planned for the series, and if books ten and eleven are any indication, we are headed for a slow and painful conclusion. 
In this installment, Sookie Stackhouse is on the defensive yet again.  Someone is out to get her and repeatedly attacks Merlottes Bar.  Eric is struggling under the oppressive Victor, the new Regent of Louisiana, who is antagonizing him into a fight so he has an excuse to kill him.  Pam's human lover is dying of leukemia, and she wants to turn her, but Victor refuses to give his permission.  There is something Eric is not telling Sookie which is putting distance between them. 
This book has some major developments--the blood bond changes, Sam is promoted to best friend status, Sookie learns more about her family and where her telepathy comes from, and there is a major problem with her relationship with Eric.  Unfortunately, between these major developments is a series of slow, only semi-interesting, scenes where Sookie is being victimized in one way or another.  It's all feeling a little bit repetitive at this point.  Harris should not have brought Sandra Pelt (Debbie's vengeful sister) back.  She seemed like more of a distraction than a integral part of the story.  There is a scene with Sookie hiding in Bill's hidey-hole with him that feels completely contrived.  No one cares about Bill any more!  Rather than coming across as sexy as Harris probably had intended, it seemed creepy and weird.  And don't get me started about the weird scene where Sookie comes home to find a naked Alcide sleeping in her bed for no apparent reason.
Speaking of not sexy...there was no chemistry at all between Sookie and Eric in this book, leading me to believe their relationship is ending.  In past books, the sparks between them practically set the pages on fire (book four--hello!), but this book showed no emotion between them.  When Eric finally tells Sookie the problem that he's been keeping from her, she hardly reacts at all.  We're used to Eric being the stoic one, but even he seemed to be showing more heart than she did. 

The book is also full of continuity problems.  Harris's timelines just don't add up.  She reveals that Eric and Niall have been colluding for years and Eric has been reporting to him about Sookie.  Supposedly, it was Eric's report to Niall that caused Niall to send Claudine to her.  How is that possible when Claudine showed up in book four when Eric had amnesia and he didn't know she was part fae until book seven?  There is also the fact that vamps can't be around fae without wanting to drain them, making this close working relationship between the two improbable. 
Problems with continuity generally mean the author did not have a strongly built world to begin with and is making things up as they go along.  Another sign pointing to this is that sudden appearance of the cluvial dor, a faery love charm which grants one wish.  You just know that Sookie is going to use this wish on something completely ridiculous like to make Eric human or something.  The cluvial dor makes things too easy for Sookie and too convenient for Harris as a writer.  She basically can do any implausible thing she wants now under the guise of this faery magic.   
I will continue with this series because I feel I have so much invested in it already, but I can't say that I'm counting down the days until the next book.
Overall, I give 'Dead Reckoning'...
Plot - 2 1/2 bookmarks
Character Development - 2 bookmarks
Love Story - 1 bookmark
Sex Scenes - 1 bookmark
World Building - 2 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - I can't help it.  All I see in my head anymore are the actors from the TV show.  The show has some good casting though.


  1. Since blogger wouldn't let me post my lengthy reply, here is an abbreviated version (which I'll have to post as anonymous).

    I agree with most of your points. Charlaine Harris admits to being a pantser, which explains some discrepancies. (I take them with a grain of salt.)

    Where was Sookie's big emotional reaction to those big reveals (particularly pertaining to Eric)? I thought Bill scene was funny and tense, but the Alcide scene seemed just thrown in.

    Am sad Eric/Sookie relationship has lost spark of earlier books and seems to be nearing its end.

    Jo Hart (gracefuldoe)

  2. I know! Sookie didn't seem to react to Eric's news hardly at all! Stoic Eric seemed to have a more intense reaction than she did.

  3. Not just in regards to the big reveal at the end, but the reveal about Eric/Niall/Terry too(a reveal I wasn't a fan of to be honest because it puts Eric on par with Bill in deception) - she didn't confront Eric at all about it from what I can remember, certainly she didn't have a big reaction to it.

    Jo Hart (gracefuldoe)