A new Sookie book is like visiting with old friends. There are so many folks I love in Sookie's world, and it is real treat catching up with them, but it's like a visit with the old gang in more ways than one: it is great catching up with them all, but there's so much going on in their lives, you feel like you didn't spend as much time with them as you would have liked.
Old Favourites ReturnA few old favourites make significant appearances here: Bubba, Mr Cataliades, Amelia, Bob, Hunter and Alcide show up. Alcide in a funny (and very compromising) way, and it makes me think we might not see Alcide again in a hurry. Bill plays a larger role in Dead Reckoning than he has in a while, and I found myself genuinely liking him (not just feeling sorry for him) for the first time in quite a few books.
Sookie and the VikingEric is obviously in a starring role, and as much as I was rooting for a relationship between the two of them, you begin to see some problems here. Sookie's starting to genuinely consider the real costs of a relationship with him: both him as an individual, and him as a vampire. What's going to happen when she gets older? How can they have a relationship if Eric won't talk to her; not just about his business and problems, but about serious issues that have huge consequences for her? This couple has serious communication problems. She's also really beginning to examine how much violence she can cope with and wants in her life. While Sook struggles with the thought of killing someone, even if that someone is trying to kill her, Eric will snap their neck without a moment's thought--or a pinch remorse. While Sookie understands Eric's character, motivations and actions, she needs someone who will understand her remorse and horror, and comfort her, even if she knows she's not being rational. Eric will never be that person. And Eric's been keeping a big secret.
Sookie has grown up a LOTSookie has experienced more personal growth over the course of the series than any character in any other series I have read. She's a lot more mature, and there's an 'Aha!' moment where she decides she's going to have to prioritise her crises in order to cope (like she's not so much living as rushing from one life-threatening situation to another). She's beginning to examine what she really wants from life, and I it seemed like she was starting to think of herself as leading two separate ones: her normal, human, life in Bon Temp, as a barmaid, a sister, and a friend, throwing her best friend's baby shower; and another, where she's the wife of a powerful vampire, a pawn in political power games, and in constant danger from vampires, weres, faeries, and God-knows what else. And more than anything Sookie just craves peace. A quiet, happy life with the people she loves. At one point, she tells Eric she wishes he was a 'normal' vampire: boring, and without the political struggles.
The Happily Ever AfterNope, Sookie's HEA is not sorted out yet, and Dead Reckoning doesn't make it any clearer. It DOES set the foundation for what I know is going to be an amazing conclusion to the series in 2 book's time. I don't think it serves us well to make too many assumptions. Ms Harris has been deliberately ambiguous about answering Sookie's HEA related questions--and rightly so, the Sookie Stackhouse books are HER creation. When asked about the relationship with Bill, CH has said their relationship will never be the same, to go on and say, that doesn't mean it won't be better. She's
What we know about Sookie's Happily Ever After, so far:
- It has been previously 'revealed' (after a bit unfairly being outed by Alan Ball) that Charlaine Harris was actually going to kill Bill in Dead and Gone. If this is true, it would mean Bill's out of the running for Sook's HEA.
- Charlaine Harris has NOT said Sookie hasn't met her HEA, just that her HEA hasn't happened yet; it's not tied up and done. This doesn't mean the viking is out of running, just that whatever the go is, it isn't sorted out yet. Harris is being deliberately cagey about this, and why shouldn't she be? This is her baby, and years and years have gone into making this series what it is. This means: Sookie may or may not have met her prince charming, but Harris isn't going to tell you.
- Sookie won't become a vampire
- None of Sookie's lovers will become human
Closing ThoughtsDead Reckoning ends on an ambiguous note (but not a dissatisfying one), and perhaps creates more questions than answers for the series. While we learn a lot more about Sookie's family history and telepathy, some threads in the story I thought had been neatly tied up are unravelled again (notably, an unexpected twist to do with Bill). What is Sookie going to do with her Grandfather's gift? How will the events of this book effect her relationship with Pam? Eric? The Queen of Oklahoma? What the HELL is Claude really up to? It definitely seems as though everything is coming together for a big finale in 2 books' time.
The world of the Southern Vampire Mysteries is rich and vibrant--and SO real--and Charlaine Harris has created an intricate web with almost infinite possibilites. I cannot wait to see how see where she takes it next.