Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dead in the Water

So, as you know, I'm a sucker for a good series.  I've long been a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries in particular (I'll be keeping mum on the TV series, though.  Alan Ball *shakes fist*).  The latest installment was released at the beginning of the month, and naturally I got my hands on it as soon as I realized.

The Basics
Harris, Charlaine. Deadlocked. New York: Ace Books, 2012. eBook.

Born and raised in the South, Charlaine Harris has been writing for over thirty years.  She's the author of several series, including the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries.  She recently announced that Deadlocked would be the penultimate novel in the series, so that she could move on to other projects, including a graphic novel.

I'm going to jump straight in here, so if you aren't already familiar with the series, I suggest you head over to the Wikipedia page for Dead until Dark, the first novel in the series. Deadlocked finds our heroine, Sookie, in some dire relationship straits (what's new).  Her relationship with boyfriend Eric is cooling down, her friendship with Sam is threatened by his psychotic girlfriend, and her fairy relatives are causing all sorts of stress.  Yeah, that about sums it up really.

The Book
To begin with the beginning, I found this novel really difficult to get into.  It had a very slow start. Typically, I pick up a Sookie book and I jump in and don't put the book down again until I'm done.  Harris is usually very good at hooking her audience.  Maybe it was the club setting or the hanging out with gal pals at the beginning; those haven't really been staples of Sookie's life throughout the books. Moreover, nothing in the previous books led me to believe that Sookie was particularly close with any of these women; not the level implied in the opening chapter. She's friendly with them yes, but other than Tara, I felt this was a bit out of left field.  

That being said, once the book got going and I was able to fully engage, I devoured the novel at my usual pace. I liked what Harris did with the plot and I liked that the mystery was a bit more at the forefront of this book.  The past few novels in the series have highlighted the crazy supernatural world and Sookie's love life more than any actual mystery.  But this time, Harris had me guessing for a while, and it reminded me a bit of the earlier novels in that sense.  I also think Harris did a fairly good job setting the groundwork for the direction of the final novel in the series.  She certainly left me wanting more and excited to know what happens next.  

While this book had some vampire infested bits, they seemed more like token vampire moments. Most of the novel was taken up with fairy shenanigans with a splash of shapeshifter politics.  There's nothing wrong with that, but I miss my vampires.  I know vampires are a bit overdone, nowadays, but back when they weren't I loved this series and the world it created. It's one of the few places I come to get a vampire fix, so I want that filled please.  I hope that the last book spends a bit more time with our vampy friends.

So, overall it was mixed bag for this book.  I definitely enjoyed reading it, but it wasn't Harris's best.  I suppose that I'm glad she's ending things soon. It feels like its time, and it's best to get it done before things start to get stale.  It'll be nice to have the complete run and see the full picture.  I think the first few novels will always be my favorites, but this one was a decent installment.  

  • As per usual, check out the author's website. Harris frequently posts a chapter from her upcoming books, which is great fun.
  • She has a Sookieverse themed online game, which is kinda cool: Dying for Daylight.
  • And, I suppose you can google the TV show. (grumble)

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