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Enemies of Sookie
on May 4, 2011
When you have a life like Sookie Stackhouse's, you make a lot of enemies. And in Charlaine Harris' eleventh Southern Vampire novel, "Dead Reckoning," a bunch of people with grudges against Sookie make her life a little more interesting. It's a much smoother and more satisfying ride than the previous novel, but the developments involving Eric are rather disappointing.
Sookie is busy at work when someone firebombs Merlotte's -- and though no one is injured, she worries that it might have been a hate crime against Sam. And at home, she uncovers a shocking fact in an old letter from her grandmother, as well as a mysterious faerie artifact called the cluviel dor. Additionally, Eric is acting kind of strange, but he won't tell Sookie why that is.
But it becomes clear that someone is out for Sookie's life -- thugs attack at Merlotte's, assassins show up at her house, and an old enemy pops up wanting nothing but her death. And that may not be the only threat to Sookie, since the vicious regent Victor is trying to provoke Eric into ruining his position as sheriff... meaning Sookie has to get him first.
"Dead Reckoning" is a much smoother, less disjoined novel than the last Sookie Stackhouse novel, and in many ways it's a welcome return to form. We've got some gruesome killings, a few mysteries, some charmingly embarrassing situations (Sookie hiding naked in Bill's coffin), and the looming spector of vampire politics making everything more complicated.
Harris' prose is still a pretty even mix of the dark'n'creepy and the down-to-earth unpretentiousness of Sookie's everyday life, and she inserts some genuinely funny moments into the story ("We followed the bondage Bobb sey Twins across the crowd ed dance floor"). And she seems to be simplifying matters in Sookie's life, since some of the supernatural forces she's involved with get untangled from her.
The problem? It feels like Harris has gotten tired of Eric, because he appears only sporadically in this novel, and most of the time he seems oversensitive and overbearing. Sookie seems to barely tolerate him. Then of course, a plot twist that is rather... disappointing, particularly to anyone shipping Eric/Sookie.
Sookie herself seems to be back on an even keel after the traumatic events of the last few books -- she seems steadier on her own feet, even to the point of blowing up when people meddle in her love life. She also seems to be lighting a little torch for Sam, who is a small but potent presence in this particular book, and "stranger in a strange land" Dermot is fleshed out more.
"Dead Reckoning" stumbles on therelationship front, but the onslaught of Sookie's enemies keep the darker slant of the story intriguing. However, Eric/Sookie fans should brace themselves.