Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead Reckoning (Book 11 in the Sookie Stackhouse series)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publisher: Ace Books, 2011 (Hardcover)
Length: 325 pages
Genre: Adult; Fantasy
Started: June 13, 2011
Finished: June 14, 2011

From the inside cover:
With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit - and the twisted motive for the attack.

But her attention is divided. Though she can't 'read' vampires, Sookie knows her lover Eric Northman and his 'child' Pam well - and she realises that they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot -which is much more complicated than she knows.

Caught up in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will learn that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human - and that there is a new Queen on the board . . .

These books are my guilty pleasure read, I consider them recreational drugs for my literary brain: you know they're bad for your health, but you sure enjoy the experience. After a slightly disappointing last book, Dead In The Family, I figured this book would have to be better, and fortunately it was, but only marginally so.

There's a couple of things going on in this novel plotwise: Sookie is being targeted yet again (really, what else is new?), and Eric is hell bent on killing Victor so that he can be free of his influence (as the book progresses you realize these two things are technically related to the same plot, but oh well). There's also a lot of relationship angst. Eric is distant for reasons Sookie discovers later, and Sookie in turn decides to remove the bond that she and Eric share, which pisses off Eric to no end. It seemed like the author decided to just throw all of Sookie's old flames at her in this book, Alcide randomly shows up naked in her bed, and there's even a a lot of interaction with Bill, who makes it very apparent that he still loves Sookie. Not that Sookie's old boyfriends didn't randomly show up trying to win her back in previous books, it just seemed like overkill in this one.

These books haven't been very impressive for the past two installments, I don't know if these are just the low point before things gear up, or if the series is starting to just lose steam. Characters seemingly show up randomly without any real relevance to the plot, the plot points seem thrown together haphazardly, and the characters just seem to act out-of-character for no obvious reason. Also, I sense that the CD item introduced in this book could be a major cop-out, but I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt and see how she uses it. I'll still be reading these because I do love the characters, and I want to see where things go, but I hope the next book is better, I'm not ready to give up my guilty pleasure read just yet.

A little better this time around, but still not feeling the same magic as with the earlier books.

Thoughts on the cover:
I've never liked these covers very much, but at least the last few have been obviously related to something in the plot, I just don't get it with this one.

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