15 May, 2011
Review: Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
I mean it. Hand me another Sookie right now and I will read it. Got five more? That works too. The Sookie Stackhouse series is addictive in the negative sense of the word. I will consume as many Sookie books as I have, ignoring all others and real world concerns like bathing. If I can get more Sookie books I will abdicate my responsibilities and go in search of them. (That said, the short stories are abysmal. Each one is painful, the bad trip of fiction indulgence.) Perhaps Harris is the victim of the HBO series success, perhaps readers are just noticing. (Either way, she is to continuity as television's Dr. Who is to continuity. Timey-wimey and all that.)
I don't think the books and the show can have the same fans. Perhaps they do, but for me they are two completely different universes based around a similar concept. Anna Pacquin is not my Sookie. My Sookie is Harris's creation, the ball of hair I love to hate. Other reviewers are right in pointing out Dead Reckoning's Sookie is a different girl. She's a Sookie who is starting to grow up. When we meet Sookie she's bullied, asexual, clinging to the edges of her life in fear. This Sookie is assured, she's a problem solver, she's beginning to expect more from herself than we do, and Dead Reckoning finds her in a full reexamination of her life. When Sookie runs to a man to save her, she notices. This is huge for Sookie. Instead of hiding behind every back she can find, she throws her friends out when they transgress. This isn't the Sookie that, as I once said, gets passed around at vampire events like a party favor.
If you happen to be Team Eric you won't care for Dead Reckoning much. Sookie begins to realize the effects of a controlling relationship. She decides to look outside it to try and determine her true feelings, her true inclinations. In a beautifully executed moment Sookie realizes how distant she's become from what her life used to be. A Sookie even noticing that is a major change for our girl. Standing between what her life became and what it used to be Sookie has some hard choices to make. Those choices are left for the next book. (If you're looking to Harris for resolution, you're going to live a life of frustration. I could do without a certain character cameo as well - stop suggesting that series to me via their appearance in Sookie's world, please.) Harris also introduces a major out for herself that I won't spoil. Suffice to say she's given herself a game changer.
Reading a Sookie Stackhouse book is like settling into a rollercoaster ride. It won't be smooth, it won't always go where you want, there will be terror. When it's over and your stomach has settled you realize that you really loved it and want to go again right now. And maybe again. When does the park close?