27 May, 2012

Review: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Harris is not a gifted writer. Her skill lies in her plotting and her ability to keep you interested in the next twist her road will take. Unfortunately Sookie spends large portions of Deadlocked driving in circles.This isn't to say you should skip Deadlocked, but there are some larger-than-Harris flaws in this one. Can we open with the big one?

Harris has always had a somewhat complicated racial world view - in fact this blogger has already summed that up nicely. Harris goes for broke in Deadlock. Alongside her usual quiet bigotry she highlights the character of Palomino - a vampire with "caramel" skin and "cornsilk" hair. Later in the book she has a character toss out the phrase jungle-bunny in an attempt to emotionally affect KeShawn Johnson. He (of course) is above such things. In a world where a black woman of superhuman strength and experience would permit herself to be named after a pony, I suppose we can allow for KeShawn's tolerance.

Deadlocked sums up some of the troubling aspects of the series. While Sookie doesn't dump vampires for their abusive ways, she does begin to examine her choices. Unfortunately Deadlocked is a character dump. The time spent with vampires isn't the engaging run through their soap opera ways that we're used to. Vampires come and go through Deadlocked without really capturing your attention. High stakes vampire drama seems like an afterthought to the real focus. Fairies. Ok, not really, but the addition of her fairy heritage is where (in my opinion) Sookie's story went to pieces. Deadlocked is full up to here with fairy. (I think we're fairly clear of them for the final book as Deadlocked seems to set the stage for their removal.) But vampires and fairies and werewolves, oh my. Everyone and everything makes an appearance in Deadlocked. If a character isn't included, they're contemplated. Relationships we don't care at all about are lingered over and remarked on. People take her to brunch. Sookie cooks half a dozen times for half a dozen occasions. She describes everything about her days in mind-numbing detail. She wonders what a flash drive is and understands a Reader's Digest reference. By the end of Deadlocked Sookie has closed the door on most of her past. She's walked away from most of the distractions the first eleven books brought her to refocus on the things that mattered to her in the first one. I think it may be a misdirection. My money for book 13 finds Sookie dead and sleeping with the angels, all of whom will undoubtedly be hard bodied sex machines who can't resist her small town ways.

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