Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
There’s a reckoning on the way . . . . . . and Sookie has a knack for being in trouble’s way; not least when she witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is known to be two-natured, suspicion immediately falls on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but before she can investigate something else – something even more dangerous – comes up. Sookie’s lover Eric Northman and his ‘child’ Pam are plotting something in secret. Whatever it is, they seem determined to keep Sookie out of it; almost as determined as Sookie is to find out what’s going on. She can’t sit on the sidelines when both her work and her love life under threat – but as she’s gradually drawn into their plans Sookie finds the situation is deadlier than she could ever have imagined.
You may or may not know that the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris are most definitely my guilty pleasure. They are the perfect read when you’re looking for something easy on the mind. Dead Reckoning is the 11th novel in the series, and I have been waiting a very long time for it! It is always such a delight to delve back into the world of Sookie and see what mischief she is up to next! For those of you who aren’t familiar with this series, you will probably know it better as being adapted into the television series, True Blood.
Charlaine Harris doesn’t waste any time in getting to the heart of the action in Dead Reckoning as we see Merlotte’s bar get fire-bombed, threatening everyone inside – including Sookie and Sam. But who would do such a thing and why? Sookie has many enemies of course, but with the recent ‘outing’ of weres inAmerica and the knowledge of Sam’s shapeshifting abilities, it is clear that he has many enemies as well.
Aside from this, Sookie realises that Pam and Eric are keeping things from her – important plans for their vampire leader, Victor, which will ultimately involve Sookie in ways she never would have thought possible! Of course that’s not all – also thrown into the mix are some faeries, elves, werewolves and a couple of witches and you’ll soon know you’re back in the world of Sookie Stackhouse!
There are many, many sub-plots happening throughout – a revelation from Sookie’s grandmother that teaches her exactly where she came from and how she became not only a faery, but also telepathic. There are a lot of questions answered in this novel, some have surprising answers, some are a little silly. There is a lot of suspicion surrounding Sookie’s remaining faery family – Claude and Dermot. Claude is particularly unlikeable in this novel, and doesn’t carry much of a presence, but Dermot’s character is built up more and we are given a small insight into what he’s really like, without Claude’s influence.
As much as I enjoy reading these novels, I have to admit I was a little disappointed with Dead Reckoning. It lacked the excitement and clever plots that the other novels in the series share. For a good 100 pages or so, I didn’t get a sense of the ‘Sookie’ I had come to know and love. She’d lost that ‘spark’ that is so identifiable in her. Her relationship with Eric, one that many fans of the series have been waiting so long for, has become a bit of a dwindling fire. And with Bill coming back into the picture a bit more, I’m starting to wonder where Harris is going with all this. For all us Eric & Sookie lovers, I’m not sure it’s going to end in our favour anymore.
Although it was good to see Eric and Sookie taking their relationship seriously, with Sookie questioning the future of what it will be like when she’s gray and old, and also with certain things out of the way, (I’m trying very hard not to give away any spoilers here!) we now know for sure that they really do love each other. We just have to wait and see if that will ever be enough to keep them together. Some rather catastrophic events take place within Dead Reckoning that makes Sookie question the kind of people she has in her life, and the level of violence she is ultimately subjecting herself to. These are the strongest, and truly gripping, dark moments within the book that really brought the standard of this novel on par with the others in the series again. The ending definitely makes you feel excited about this world again, and with what is to come.
What I will say is that this novel seems more like a ‘filler’ to tie loose ends, and answer some questions, between Dead in the Family and the 12th Sookie Stackhouse book. The ending of Dead Reckoning has definitely set things up for the next in the series, and I feel that the next one will be ten times better. However, I must say I did thoroughly enjoy being back in the world of Sookie and the other characters. It’s a lovely feeling revisiting them when you already know them so well! Now I have to enter the waiting game once again, this time for book 12.
Dead Reckoning is out now, published by Gollancz.