Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dead Reckoning - Book Review

Golden Lines:

I am ashamed to say that at that moment I was scared of Eric, this desperate and determined vampire who was attacking his best friend because he didn't want me to know...something.  Through the tie I felt with him, I got a confused bundle of negative emotions: fear, anger, grim, resolve, frustration.
"Take me home," I said. (pg. 89-90)

His eyes narrowed .  He didn't like my raining on his parade.  Understandable.
And that was the thing, wasn't it?  I found all of this understandable.  But I still hated it, hated myself, wasn't too fond of anyone else.  "You need some blood," I said.  "I really am sorry you were wounded, and you go ahead and take some."
"You are being a hypocrite, and I will take blood," he said, and he struck.
It hurt.  He didn't make it feel good, an action almost automatic for a vampire.  Tears ran down my face without my wanting them to.  In an odd way, I felt the pain was merited, justified - but I also understood this was a turning point in our relationship. (pg. 301)

Short and Sweet Summary:

Vampire Regent (king wannabe) Victor wants Vampire Eric, Sheriff of Area 5 and Sookie's boyfriend out of the picture...but Victor can't just kill Eric without serious political consequences.  To cover his own tail (as we like to say in Mississippi) Victor decides to put Eric in a conundrum of sorts so that Eric will have to strike first.  If Eric makes the first move, then Victor is within his rights to destroy Eric.  Part of that conundrum involves Sookie (of course).  If Victor can think of a way to harm either Sookie (Eric's "wife") or Pam (Eric's "child"), he knows that Eric won't be able to control his anger.  Eric, Sookie and Pam must figure out a way to kill Victor or accept that he will kill them.  Sookie and Eric's "marriage" along with the blood bond they share is what keeps Sookie safe...but Sookie's wants the bond severed so that she will know if her and Eric's feelings for one another are magic or real...obvious leftover issues from her relationship with Bill.  Sookie calls on her witch friend, Amelia and her boyfriend/ex-cat Bob for help.  BFF Amelia always brings extra complications when she is with Sookie and this time is no exception. 

Along with the vampire problems, Sookie is also dealing with best bud Sam and his financial problems associated with society's unwillingness to accept the weres as they did when the vampires "came out."  Sam's business is suffering due in part to prejudice as well as 2 other new establishments opened in part to take business out of Eric's District 5...of course those establishments are owned by Victor himself.
Adding to her already full plate of issues are Dermot and Claudine, Sookie's fae great uncle and cousin who were locked out of the fairy world at the end of Dead in the Family and are now living with Sookie...the fae world holds more mystery than truth and Sookie is still trying to figure out how and why her human family became intertwined with the fae. 

What I Liked:

Sookie still has her independence but has also figured out how to work "within" the system more...human independence just doesn't cut it in the vampire world and can get a gal killed pretty quickly, not to mention endangering some of the people Sookie loves most.  Instead of bowing to the vampires though, Sookie seems to have figured out a way to retain her personality without being a liability to those around her in the highly volatile vampire world.
One of the toughest characters in the series, Eric, shows his soft side...he loves Sookie.  Like her past relationship with Bill, her relationship with Eric is far from perfect...there are complications which are relationship threatening at best.  While the very small romantic side of me would like for Sookie to be able to have a relationship with one of them, the realist side of me sees how impossible that would probably be. 

The plot, the build, the climax and the "afterglow" may have been one of the best so far.  It's complicated, dangerous, takes all of them to figure out, using each of their strengths to plan as well as put into action, yet the danger is real and a death of one of the good guys is inevitable.  There is also no "happily ever after" for Sookie.  Even with the best of possible outcomes, she is affected more and more by her human life as it crosses more and more into the lives of the supernaturals (this made me think of early Anita Blake but it didn't really bother me here).

Bill. Period.

What I Didn't Like:

While it certainly is believable that Sookie would begin to question herself after being surrounded with supernatural beings and witnessing so much violence and hatred, I found a few things in Dead Reckoning unbelievable.  The one sex scene in this book reminded me a little of an Anita Blake sex scene...Sookie is definitely not Anita Blake, nor do I want her to be.  It is realistic to me that Sookie would grow as a sexual being since she was a virgin at the beginning of the series, but whoa Nelly has she grown.  I swear it made me wonder if Charlaine Harris has been watching True Blood :)
Jason and Tara, very large parts of Sookie's life in the past, are just seen in passing in Dead Reckoning...and I mean literally...Sookie waves at Jason as they pass each other on the road one day and Sookie preparing for Tara's baby shower is the only Tara we get.  

The character Miriam was introduced and supposedly was an important part of Pam's life.  And then she was gone.  Done.  Huh?  I fully expected Sookie to use the mysterious fairy gift, the cluviel dor in this situation...and maybe that's what Harris wants the reader to believe...I also expected either Dermot or Claude to try and steal the cluviel dor...I don't think we've seen the full picture of these two and/or their agendas. 

My Response:

I actually like to read books in a series after the series is complete.  I simply can't stand the waiting and I forget lots of details when I read through the newest installment so quickly to find out what's going to happen.  I worried when Dead Reckoning came out that I would be disappointed as is the case with books in a series that go on so long after they should have stopped.  Dead in the Family was not my favorite;  all the fairy info seemed to be thrown at the reader...Harris has spent so much of the series explaining and working in vampire and were details and politics that having the fae stuff just thrown in so quickly literally threw me.  However, I was pleasantly surprised with Dead Reckoning.  Harris works in enough back story here and Sookie explains to others some of what happened in the fairy war.  She also meets her demon lawyer who explains even more whys of what happened that I was able to piece together some of what happened in Dead in the Family as well as the current installment, Dead Reckoning.  I will definitely reread Dead in the Family at some point soon.

Overall, I think anyone who is a Sookie or True Blood fan will enjoy Dead Reckoning...If you're not already a fan, should you start at the beginning?  I definitely think so at this point.  Dead Reckoning and Dead in the Family are the only two that I've felt should be read "together" in some way.  True Blood fans should also know that the storyline of the books is different than in the tv show...especially after Season 1 which is based on just the first book in the series, Dead until Dark.  The books are also wayyyyyy ahead of the tv show.  Dead Reckoning is the 11th book of this series and the tv show is just starting Season 4/Book 4.

I enjoyed reading this one and finished it in just one day :) 


  1. I was going to say, you were quick on the draw with this one! I've not committed to this series yet. I'm not completely sold on it...

  2. Just finished All Together Dead...can't wait to get up to this one!

  3. Sandy, I was a Sookie fan before the True Blood series got started. And, if you've never seen the series, I would suggest not watching it and reading the books least so that you are ahead of tv. Season 1 was the best. The earliest books are the best as well.
    Tiny, try to read Dead in the Family and Dead Reckoning close together...I'll be interested to see if you can put all the pieces together...or if it was just me.
    Alexis, thanks :)

  4. I probably shouldn't have read your review as I'm only up to Book 3 of the series. But that is OK as this series is more of a mindless fun read for me and not something I'm crazy about (as it has taken me so long to read the books as they are now.) I think I want to see the HBO show though.

  5. Jenners, I enjoy the show enough to own Season 1 and 2 on DVD ;) And, you are exactly right...these are mindless fun reads...exactly what I needed right now :)

  6. Great review! I also finished it in one day, really enjoyed it!! You can find my review here