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Deadlocked: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel – Charlaine Harris

I don’t often review the big dogs.  I have a secret desire to find that amazing debut/self-published/small press novel and be the first to hold it up and acclaim its greatness.  Still, I’ve read all of the Sookie novels and think a popular work is worth discussion.

I pre-ordered Deadlocked, but it sat on my Kindle TBR pile for more than the usual time.  It’s tough both reading and writing a series this long.  Characters need to continue to have significant change in order to keep the series from stagnating, but that very change often infuriates readers when it doesn’t take the direction they want it to.  I also pointed out this in my blog post on Kim Harrison’s last Rachel Morgan book.  The characters’ internal development may not go where I would like them to, but Deadlocked is still worth the read.  Maybe not worth the $12.99 I spent, but worth the read.

The book starts off rather slow, and that is another unfortunate side effect of a long series.  An author needs to recap, to re-orient a reader to characters and plot points that happened in previous books.  Doing this without the dreaded info-dump is not easy.  Often this recap needs to happen fast to ensure the reader has the information they need as the plot begins.  I’m struggling with this too.  This issue is also exacerbated by Harris’ writing style in the books.  Little details of Sookie’s life fill the pages.  She dusts.  She cooks.  She continually runs to the library and post office.  Normally this level of minutia would drive me crazy, but I think it’s important to see the ho-hum, because that’s what Sookie has always wanted for her life.  Normalcy.

Like most characters in the Urban Fantasy genre, there’s something about Sookie that makes her different, weird, special, and that something is NOT what she would have preferred her life to be.  A major theme in this genre is how the character deals with that disconnect between what they wanted for their life and what they really got.  Do they eventually embrace it?  Do they modify their life dreams somehow?  Do they kill off their specialness so they can live a ‘normal’ life?  Sookie still continues to struggle with this in Deadlocked, and I think it drives a lot of the character changes that many readers are frustrated with.

Once the plot started, it kept my interest.  There’s a murder, and no one is really sure who did it and why.  Was it the Nevada vamps, trying to stick it to Eric?  Was it Eric in an underhanded plot to throw attention off him and/or shore up his rocky relationship with Sookie?  Bill?  The werewolves?  The fairies?  It’s a twisty and fun plot, even with Sookie’s repeated trips to the post office.  I loved it.

Sex?  There is none.  This series has always had smoking hot sex scenes, and this book has nada.  Zilch.  At least let Sookie masturbate for crying out loud.  Are we being set up for Sookie getting her wish for a boring normal live?  I hope not, but that’s how it feels to me.  Maybe she’ll lose her powers and end up married to a tax preparation specialist, or one of Jason’s road crew buddies.  Sheesh.

The BIG thing that bothers me though is what is happening to Eric’s character.  Since the story is told in the first person from Sookie’s point of view, we can only see him through her eyes.  In the last two books though, he’s changed significantly.  I honestly wonder if he’s been kidnapped, and a weak, whiney doppelganger has taken his place.  Where is the vampire who gleefully bowled a vamp head through the queen’s ballroom in New Orleans?  Where’s that independent, confident vampire who always had a plan?  A great plan?  A gruesomely funny and successful plan?  I get where Harris is going with Sookie’s love life, but could she have done it without turning one of her most charismatic characters into a sniveling emo?

***SPOILER****SPOILER***SPOILER***

Honestly, if I’d been in Sookie’s place I wouldn’t have used my wish on him either.  He needs Sookie to save him?  He needs her wish to avoid this arranged marriage?  Sheesh, where’s the Eric I know and love?  The man of action.   The man with a plan.  I’d dump his doppelganger butt and go find the ‘real’ Eric.  Because this can’t be him.

Comments(2)

    • Amberr Meadows

    • 10 years ago

    It sounds like a great read, but I can’t bring myself to spend $12.99 on a book. Perhaps it’s cheaper in an e-version? Times are tough these days!

    1. It was 12.99 on my Kindle – ouch! They may eventually have a “borrow” program on it, although it may be a while since this is one of those “hot” novels. I checked just now and the used ones are no savings! Perhaps you and a friend can do a share on it? I used to do that with really expensive needlepoint books.

      Wish I could lend it to you!

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