Review: Dead Reckoning – Charlaine Harris

dead reckoning

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #11

Sookie Stackhouse, Bon Temps barmaid and telepath, has issues in her life when Sam Merlotte, her boss, is having financial issues with the bar. This could mean she will have to find a job. Things are not helped when someone firebombs the bar, though it is unclear whether Sam was the target, or anyone else. Sookie soon learns that Sandra Pelt is out of prison, and is still out for her blood for her sister’s murder – which, naturally, Sookie committed. Sam and his girlfriend, werewolf Jannalynn, enforcer of the Shreveport pack, seem to be having issues, but Sookie cannot get involved with that now.

Sookie is having some strange issues in her relationship with Eric Northman, vampire Sheriff of Area 5. He seems distracted and distant from her lately, and even though they have a blood bond between them, she knows something is up. Matters are exacerbated when Eric and his right hand, Pam, seem to be having endless arguments – of which Sookie seems to be the centre. Victor Madden, the regent of Louisiana, is intent on pushing all Eric’s buttons, in hopes that Eric will snap and that Victor can put him down. Something really needs to be done about him. Sookie is afraid for her life, and calls up her witch friend, Amelia Broadway, to reinforce the wards at her house. Amelia jumps at the opportunity to return to Bon Temps, and arrives with the surprising news that she can break the blood bond between Sookie and Eric. Sookie has been interested for a while, seeing as she wants to know if she loves Eric because she loves him, or if she loves him because of the blood bond.

Severing the blood bond only seems to broaden the gap between Sookie and Eric, and he is beyond furious about her actions. Meanwhile, Sandra Pelt is making a hard play to kill Sookie, who needs to do anything and everything in her willpower to survive. She recently discovered a letter from her grandmother, confessing to having slept with the fairy, Fintan, and having her children through him, and gifts Sookie a cluviel dor, which is a magical and very precious gift that grants her one wish, but only for love. She is struggling with the knowledge she has of her grandmother. Alcide Herveaux, the packmaster of the Shreveport pack, returns to attempt to win Sookie over as well as get her to become the pack shaman. Sookie turns him down, and in a furious fight, kicks Claude and Dermot out of the house, and has Bob and Amelia leave. Amelia is crushed to be thrown out like she is. Dermot and Sookie come to an agreement, and he stays even after everyone else leaves. Sookie also learns that her favour of calling up Bill’s “sister” to save him came with strings he was not willing for, seeing as Judith is in love with him, and he is in love with Sookie.

What will happen between Bill and Sookie? Will he be content just to remain friends? What are Pam and Eric fighting so terribly about? Does Sookie still love Eric, even without the blood bond? Will Sandra Pelt get to Sookie? Will Sam’s bar go under? What is going on between Sam and Jannalynn? What will Sookie do with the cluviel dor? Will Amelia and Sookie sort out their differences? Will a plan finally be hatched to get rid of Victor?

GRADE 5Well these books are definitely taking a bit of a nosedive, but Kim did say that they would. They are getting a bit stale, losing what made them a lot more entertaining and interesting. Not that they are the worst books that you could waste your time with or anything like that, and they still fit the bill for useless and light, but there are just some things that are getting annoying. I think the worst for me (besides always yapping about her faith and what not) is what has happened to Eric’s character. He used to be cocky, cheeky, hilarious, sexy, all those things, and now he is like some brooding lapdog for Sookie, and I am over it. He has practically become nonexistent over the last few books, and it always feels like Harris brings him back in as an afterthought. Surprise, surprise, the whole world still wants Sookie, but the suddenness of Harris bringing Bill back as well as his suddenly chasing Sookie so openly again just doesn’t sit right or feel normal, either. Also, what the hell is up with the immense amounts of incestuous hinting over the last two or three books (more in your face now than ever) about Claude and Dermot and sleeping in beds and picturing each other naked and I have no idea what else? It seems Harris realised it was not hot (no matter how sexy Claude and Dermot are supposedly) and that it just grosses readers out – and tries in a miserable way to address this. Hmmmm… not so great. Makes me feel sick. There was also the whole unnecessary thing with Alcide in Sookie’s bed and all. I don’t know, the logic was more flawed than usual in this book, and no shocker that there was an immense amount of bad stuff happening in a ridiculously small amount of time again. One of the positives, though, is that I absolutely love how Dermot is trying to fit into the human world, and is a lot nicer than Claude, though I love how blunt Claude can be. Then there was the issue of the immense amounts of sex talk in here. It was everywhere. Meh. I did like reading about Bubba again, he always makes me smile. I don’t know, this wasn’t the worst book to waste my time with (seeing as how they read super fast), but these books are starting to drag. Harris doesn’t seem sure of the direction she wants to take the stories in, and once again introduced plenty subplots, and didn’t tie most of them together. Sookie is also becoming exceptionally grating as the books progress. Pity, too.

Review: Dead as a Doornail – Charlaine Harris

dead as a doornail

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #5

Sookie Stackhouse, Bon Temps waitress and telepath, is trying to be supportive of her brother Jason’s ordeal. After having been abducted by Felton Norris of the Hotshot werepanter community and changed, Jason Stackhouse has a whole new life to live – he will change at the full moon now, a normal life if over. Initially he seems despondent about it, but soon Sookie learns that Jason is loving his new life, and is slightly envious that he is not a  full-fledged werepanther. Calvin Norris, leader of the Hotshot community, is severely shot and ends up in hospital, hanging on by a thread. Soon Sam Merlotte, Sookie’s friend and boss, gets shot, too. It becomes evident to her that someone is hunting the shape shifters in the community. Sookie, meanwhile, is still trying to deal with having murdered Debbie Pelt, psychotic ex-girlfriend of Alcide Herveaux, a werewolf and friend of hers. This is proving to be difficult when the Pelt family sends out two private detectives to look into matters a little more closely.

Eric Northman, Sheriff of Area 5, has still not remembered what happened in the time that he spent living at Sookie when the witches blanked out his memory, and does not like the fact that Sookie will not fill him in on the details. When Sam sends Sookie to Eric’s bar Fangtasia to ask for a favour, Sookie is miserable. There Eric loans Sam the English pirate vampire, Charles, to help out at Merlotte’s. Sookie’s ex-boyfriend, Bill Compton, also a vampire, still seems to be out of the picture, and Sookie is torn between him and Eric, though she is also tired of the danger being around them places her in. Sookie is also terrified to learn that the Hotshot community suspects Jason of the shootings, and that he may very well be in danger when the new moon comes.

Woken in the middle of the night by her fairy protector, Claudine, Sookie narrowly escapes her burning house. Much of it is saved, but Sookie will still need somewhere to stay in the meanwhile. Sookie and Alcide are on bad terms after he uses her to assist his father, Jackson, in his bid for packleader of the Shreveport werewolves, figuring she owes him one for killing Debbie. Sookie is beyond furious, saying she would have helped him without being obligated. Alcide tries to help her with her home, and Alcide proposes a more romantic relationship, though Sookie has no interest in that. Sookie, too, gets shot, and the detectives have no idea that what links the victims is that they are shape shifters, though it is uncertain who shot Sookie and why. Tara Thornton, a friend of Sookie’s, seems to be in over her head with her new vampire lover, and even Eric warns Sookie to stay away.

Will Eric ever figure out what happened during his stay at Sookie? Will the Hotshot werepanthers attack Jason, or is there some way that he can be cleared? Who is out to get Sookie, and why? Who is shooting the shape shifters in town, as well as the outlying areas? Will Jackson, Alcide’s father, win his bid for the pack? Will Tara ever get out of the trouble she is in with Mickey?

GRADE 6.5This book was alright. It was not as funny as the last one, but it was a pretty good outing. It was more focused on Sam and the shifters, which was cool, and a lot about the werewolves and their politics, which I also liked. I missed reading more about Eric, though I still prefer having less of Bill in here. Sookie really, really needs to start making up her mind about who she wants to be with. I find it a little frustrating that she is permanently getting a little too close and personal with far too many different men, all at once. Granted, I know she is not tied to a single one of them at the moment, but currently she is just playing with all of them. Calvin Norris is still an interesting character, though he is starting to get a little ominous now, which should be setting off alarm bells in Sookie’s head. Also, Patrick Furnam’s warning should have been the final nail in the coffin lid for her, so to speak, but she does not seem to be taking it too seriously. Nothing really happened in this book, to be honest. I mean, things happened, but not too much. It felt like a filler book, although it was entertaining for me nonetheless. It’s a quick read, interesting, though not as good as the ones I have been reading before this. I think after the last one had so much Eric and the other vampires in it, I kind of missed them in here.

Review: Dead to the World – Charlaine Harris

dead to the world

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #4

Sookie Stackhouse, local barmaid of Bon Temps and telepath,  gets a shock one night when returning home after her ex-boyfriend, Bill Compton, informs her that he will be doing some more research in Peru for the queen of Louisiana to construct the vampire database. She has made her New Year’s resolution not to beaten up again. On her way home, mopey and depressed, she comes across a half naked Eric Northman, Sheriff of Area 5, and Bill’s boss. Not that Sookie has any love for the man, nevertheless she stops to find out the problem. It rapidly becomes evident that Eric has no memory, and that he is in danger. She takes him home to care for him. The following night, she meets with Eric’s protege and business partner, Pam, as well as Chow, the bartender at Fangtasia, the bar they own. Jason Stackhouse, Sookie’s brother, soon figures that Eric is a vampire, and that Sookie is going to need to harbour him. Seeing as poster have been put up around town, offering a $50 000-00 reward for the Viking vampire, Jason arranges that Sookie be paid $35 000-00 for the duty.

Eric has been cursed by powerful witches, who are also werewolves, and this causes a problem. Hallow, the woman that cursed him, is intent on finding him. Sookie is dealing with other issues when she is contacted by Jason’s boss and learns that he has gone missing. Detective Andy Bellefleur and company are not particularly willing to take things seriously, and blow it off. Sookie is worried, and knows that Crystal Norris, the girl Jason was with on New Year’s Eve, is a werewolf. Making enquiries in Hotshot, where the girl lives, proves fruitless, though she is courted by Calvin Norris, the leader in the area. Sookie travels to Shreveport to meet with Alcide Herveaux, a Were who helped her recently when she was looking for Bill. It seems that he is back with his good for nothing ex, Debbie Pelt, who hates Sookie with a passion. Alcide takes Sookie with him to tell the packmaster of the powerful Were witches, as well as their power that is garnered from drinking vampire blood. The pack gets involved when one of their own is found slain.

Sookie needs to find her brother, Jason, and the police are starting to get involved. Eric, on the other hand, is showing no signs of recovering his memory, though he and Sookie are getting closer. Sookie has always been an unattainable conquest for Eric, and those walls fall away when Eric, helpless, falls in love with Sookie. She is lonely, and depressed, and yields to this unknown man, who is nothing like his former self. She needs to get over Bill, and she needs to find her brother. The witch coven needs to be stopped, so that the world can be put to rights again. Eric needs protecting, but it seems that a war is cooking up between the witches, who want to take over Shreveport, and the Weres and vampires.

Will Eric recover his memory? Will Sookie be able to protect Eric? What will happen with their relationship if Eric’s memory comes back? Will Debbie ever leave Sookie alone? Will Alcide ever get Debbie’s claws out of himself and go on with a normal life? Where is Jason? Is he dead or alive? Is he hurt? Will Sookie be able to stick to her New Year’s resolution of not being beaten up? Will the Weres and vampires band together to defeat the witches?

GRADE 7.5I must admit that this book entertained me far more than I expected. I can probably call it my favourite of the series so far. I had so many laugh out loud moments, and I was endlessly entertained by the events of the book. Eric Northman is by far my favourite character in the series, and I love getting to read more about him than anyone else. He is cocky, arrogant, extremely self-serving, and he happens to be funny as hell and extremely sexy. However, reading of an Eric that was definitely not himself in the slightest was jarring yet highly amusing, seeing as Eric reverted to a much more old school and conservative kind of man, believing Sookie needed to be protected and provided for, as well as taking Jason on about it. What I also liked (yes, I am likely to be shot for this) was that there was virtually no Bill. Not because I don’t like him, but because he is very bland and boring at the best of times. Sookie finally jumped Eric’s bones, something I have been waiting for for ages, though I was very sad at the conclusion about how things went there. Yes, I have been dreaming about Eric getting his way and seeing how things would turn out for them after that. The books speeds along, and introduces us to new characters, and I must say that Calvin Norris was interesting and well put together, though not Sookie’s type at all. He has manners, and no matter where he is from, he has pride and power. Jason going missing was something that was important, but at times did not feel important at all. I like Jason, and even though he did not feature heavily in this book, he did provide for much of the humour in it. Hallow was a total disappointment in the end though, I was expecting more bang, and there were certainly flaws, but oh well, you can’t have it all. It is a light, fluffy read, so don’t go in expecting a work of art, but it worked for me, and it was a quick read, and it hit the spot for me.

Review: Club Dead – Charlaine Harris

club dead cover

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #3

Bon Temps, Louisiana, is a small town. It is home to telepath Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress at the local bar. Her boyfriend, the vampire Bill Compton, has been working long and hard at some project he is not sharing with her, and has been a little distant. He says that he is going to Seattle to do work for the queen of Louisiana, and the two part on rough terms. His work is a secret, and apparently Bill’s superior, head of Area 5, Eric Northman, does not know about it.  Within a few days Eric sends the undead Elvis “Bubba” Presley to protect Sookie until he arrives. This turns out to be a fortunate thing when Bubba kills a werewolf biker who makes an attempt on her life.

Eric’s arrival brings news that Bill is missing. Sookie was under the impression his work would take longer, yet Eric says that Bill was supposed to return home the night before and did not, and that he had been heard from again. Sookie knows nothing of the secret work that Bill had been conducting, but is aware that his computer and all the relevant material has been stored in her house. She does not share this information. Pam pushes and eventually Eric is forced to relent and share with Sookie that Bill had been in contact with his ex-lover Lorena, and it seems he has left Sookie for Lorena. Sookie is crushed, but feels that she is obligated to help Bill out at the very least, especially when it becomes evident that Lorena may very well have been the vampire to sink Bill into a world of trouble. She also brokers a deal with Eric to take Lorena out if she is responsible. Eric arranges with Alcide Herveaux, a werewolf, who owes him a favour, to take Sookie to Jackson to listen in and find out who has Bill. He does not approach Russell Edgington, the king of Mississippi, fearing that he may be involved with Bill’s disappearance.

Sookie fronts as Alcide’s new girlfriend, and gets along famously with his sister Janice. Struggling to deal with losing Bill, still needing to help him, and having been left without knowing it, Sookie is very drawn to Alcide. He is having his own serious issues what with a nasty breakup with his ex-girlfriend Debbie, a shape-shifter, the two get too cosy. The two establish that maybe one day, when they are free and their current ex-partners are no longer an issue, they could try to have something. Eric makes an appearance in Jackson as Leif, his fictitious persona that he brings out when he is undercover, and is keeping an eye on Sookie, too. A dead werewolf who threatened Sookie at the exclusive Club Dead, where she was conduction her telepathic investigation, turns up in Alcide’s closet, and the two panic, hiding his corpse. Bill is in Jackson, and Russell Edgington has him. Sookie is going to need all the help she can get from Eric and Alcide to rescue him.

Will Alcide help Sookie out when he is evidently very interested in her? Will Sookie be able to save Bill? Did Eric truly wish to spare Sookie pain when he didn’t tell her about Bill leaving her, or was it simply because it would be easier to manipulate her if she thought that all was still well? What exactly is it that Bill was working on, and how did the project get him into such a position? Did Lorena betray Bill? Do Alcide and Sookie have a future together?

GRADE 7Another decent entry, one that I had fun with, no matter what. Finally the huge and obligatory crack between Bill and Sookie has emerged, and we all know that usually in a romance these things are patched up. Sookie’s mind is seriously confused and all that. Bill’s kidnapping left a lot of space for Eric in this book, which I appreciated because he is a character that I thoroughly enjoy and who entertains me endlessly. He is such a cruel dude, but he is also incredibly thoughtful (in his own demented way), funny, and loyal insomuch as he is able to be. Alcide was also a new character who I liked significantly. He was hardy, down to earth, albeit a little grumpy. He is hardworking, loyal, extremely kind, and appreciative. Russell Edgington was such a brief character, flying in and out. I still find it exceptionally amusing that Elvis is among the undead community, though daft, he is royalty. He is pretty sweet. Pam still doesn’t really have a large part of this book, either, but I like her. Bill’s unfaithfulness with Lorena was swept up under the rug rather quickly, and I was hoping for more explanation and closure there, like where she had come up again, how they got in touch, blah blah blah. Now it’s just rushed off and done with. It seems that anything and everything with a supernatural power is drawn to Sookie, and that can become a little grating at times. Also, it seems that she is permanently on her death  bed or being beat on, which I really don’t think is cool. She must make up her damn mind already about how and where she wants to fit in.