Sookie finds herself caught up in yet another mystery—who firebombed Sam’s bar, Merlotte’s, and why? Also, Eric Northman, her vampire boyfriend/husband, is acting a bit strange and so is his child, Pam. On top of that, Sookie, her cousin Claude and uncle Dermot, clean out the family attic. Once the secrets found there are unearthed, Sookie is left with quite a few decisions to make.
I don’t know where to begin. I like the book, but I don’t love it. Maybe I will upon reading it a second time. There are parts that are absolutely amazing and parts that make me shake my head. The funny moments outweigh the frustrating moments, though. I laughed out loud when Bill compliments Sookie’s breasts in a way that made me wonder, “Would a southern gentleman say that?” But, whatever. My main issue with this book is the slow leeching of the TV series, True Blood, into the story. I think the two worlds should remain separate yet the proof is in the writing. Pam says something to Sookie which is taken from the show. And Eric in this book seems like Eric from True Blood. I couldn’t shake that feeling and I could honestly see Alexander Skarsgård as this Eric. I’ve read all of the books up to this one—which is the 11th in the series—and I’ve never visualized him as book Eric. Anyone else get that sense?
But enough about that. What I like about the book is Sookie doesn’t seem to be slipping back into her usual “I’ll just take whatever is thrown at me” mode. She asks questions and makes sure she gets answers. That being said, she’s a bit contradictory. She’s hell-bent on vengeance, yet when the time comes to exact it, she has second thoughts. That, I don’t understand. It’s an ethical dilemma and one she seems to battle with throughout the book. She doesn’t like that some things just don’t bother her the way they used to. What does that mean for her and what can she do about it now?
I also enjoyed getting to know more about Dermot and the rest of Sookie’s fae family. The trip into the attic was long overdue. We never got the supernatural family history before so that was very exciting. Although, I felt it should have been in the last book, “Dead in the Family,” since it was about, families. Putting that detail into this book took up space which could have been used to resolve other issues. Like Sookie and Eric’s relationship. They have always had a rough go at it, but I truly feel they love each other. Eric says some really profound things to Sookie and she seems to just shrug them off. And then they leave off on a sour note, with us wondering what will happen now.
The most shocking thing about “Dead Reckoning” is that I liked Bill Compton. He was everything Sookie needed in a friend, albeit his sleaziness may have slipped out once or twice. I didn’t hate him with the fire of a thousand suns because he wasn’t being a creepy stalker ex-lover, which shocked me. For most readers of the series, we know he was sent to procure Sookie for the Queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Ann LeClerq, who has long since met her final death. The after-effects of his behavior still linger, but Sookie is able to see him as a friend and that’s a good thing. I like the character growth this shows and the sense that things are being resolved.
I will say this is some of Harris’ better work. “Dead Reckoning” is twice the book “Dead in the Family” was. It reads better, flows great and doesn’t hold back. There are so many things revealed in this book that I want to go back and re-read it just to be sure I have everything straight. We’re moving into a new age of Sookie Stackhouse and I’m worried what that means for Sookie and her happy ending. “Dead Reckoning” seems to tie up quite a number of loose ends and only a few remain unraveled. The ending leaves me wanting and that’s the point. I can’t say what will happen next, but I’m not sure I want to know.
For more information on the books or the wonderful Charlaine Harris, please visit her website at www.charlaineharris.com.
© 2011, Elle. All rights reserved.
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