Book Review: ‘Dead Reckoning’ by Charlaine Harris
May 19, 2011
Charlaine Harris just released book 11 in the Sookie Stackhouse series titled Dead Reckoning, which just so happens to be the basis for the HBO hit series True Blood.
Now, if you haven’t read the books yet, I highly recommend you do because the earlier books are some of the best books in this series. And, if you like reading about vampires, love, and violence – then you’ll love this series.
Warning: If you plan on reading Dead Reckoning soon and you don’t want to know what happens, then you may want to stop reading now. Spoiler alerts are ahead. I will do my best not to give too much away, but there are no guarantees.
Anyway, I bought the book and started reading it right away. I finished it in two days, but in short – I didn’t love it. In fact, I feel like this story is starting to get very stale. Over halfway through the book, nothing exciting happened. In fact, nothing really exciting happened until the last 100 pages. Even then, the action wasn’t what it used to be.
The book starts out with Sookie trying to figure out how to live with her fairy roommates Claude and Dermot. On top of that, she’s planning a baby shower for Tara, who’s having twins. Are you asleep yet?
Then of course, Sookie is being hunted down because someone hates her (hint: it’s Sandra Pelt), which of course is a shocking turn of events. At one point, she drives up to the back of her house (deja vu) only to realize someone is inside. She gets ready for the attack by grabbing a gallon jug of milk, at which point she bashes it over some rednecks head and takes off running. I forgot to mention, it’s raining outside, so she is getting wet. Where does she run? Well, she runs to her ex-boyfriend Bill Compton’s house, who by the way is a vampire. Here’s the
worst best part – Sookie takes off all her clothes before going into Bill’s house to ensure she doesn’t leave any water drips on the floor. Instead of leaving her undies on, she decided it would be better to be completely naked, which of course seems totally logical when you’re in a life and death situation. Long story short, she quickly finds Bill’s “hidey hole” and jumps inside. Bill is in his “hidey hole” too and when he wakes up, they have a totally lame, yet awkward moment filled with a few giggles (lame right?) because they’re both naked and Sookie is on top of him. Again, this was a little absurd. Once the rednecks leave, Sookie decided to head home and Bill goes with her to make sure she’s safe. Yawn.
Then, as the stagnant story progresses, Sookie discovers through a weird and unclear thought process (deductive reasoning?) that her “husband,” vampire Eric Northman, has another woman on the side. Apparently, Eric has been paired with some other powerful vampire (the Queen of Oklahoma) and they are now husband and wife. But, Eric did tell Sookie that he hasn’t consummated the marriage yet. So, I guess he gets some brownie points for that?
Either way, I lost complete interest in the story. The main problem, for me anyway, was that the characters are not recognizable anymore. Sookie seems weak, a little too naive, and almost borderline stupid. In the earlier books she was more independent and much stronger. For instance, Sookie went through more traumatic events in prior books with more strength and less vomiting than this book – and this one was pretty tame and boring.
The thing about reading a series like Sookie Stackhouse is you become invested in the lives of these characters. You look forward to reading about these characters and when the characters change and become unrecognizable, then it’s hard for the reader to remain invested. Bottom line is, this book did not live up to its earlier reputation. The earlier books hit the ground running with twists, turns, and lots of action – but this one never even got started.
Charlaine Harris is a great writer, but is it possible she’s lost the spark? Has she lost interest in these characters? From the readers perspective, it would seem so.
What do you think?