Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“I so seldom had to dispose of a human body myself, I was at a loss. Fairies turned into dust, and vampires flaked away. Demons had to be burned. Humans were very troublesome.”
- Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked is the twelfth instalment in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. In this novel, Sookie has to put her sleuthing skills into action once again after a "fangbanger" (i.e. a human who likes to fraternise with vampires) is killed at a party hosted by Sookie's beau, Eric Northman. All the evidence suggests that Eric was responsible for the human's death, but did he do it? Sookie doesn't believe so and sets out on an investigation to prove Eric innocent. As a result Sookie is - yet again - left wondering why she allows herself to get caught up in the nasty world of Vampire Politics.

In addition to the vampires, there's trouble brewing within her own supernatural clan and Sookie suspects that a magical heirloom left to her by her grandmother is to blame. You see, the type of magical item that Sookie has inherited can provide its owner all that they desire, but Sookie is wary of the consequences of her utilising it. Also, she doesn't really know what it is she truly wants.

Deadlocked is the second-to-last book in the series and as is to be expected, Harris is beginning to draw the story to a close. Loose ends are finally being tied off and there are fewer tangents. However, I continue to be particularly frustrated by the inconsistency in Eric's character. In the previous instalment (Dead Reckoning) he was an ass, but in Deadlocked he has been transformed into a bit of a wimp. Sookie seems to be more in control of the situation than what Eric does, and Eric's supposed to be one of the most intimidating and powerful vampires on the face of the planet. As he is represented in Deadlocked it is difficult to imagine why anyone would bother trying to bring him down; to me he seems defeated already.

Another problem with Harris' new version of Eric is that he doesn't really feature in the story all that often, even though the plot is centred around him. He's there, kind of in the background somewhere, but he's not an active participant in the events. It is almost as if Eric has become the means by which Harris can re-introduce vampire Bill Compton as the central vampire to the story. Bill continues to charm his way back into Sookie's life and it's difficult not to draw the conclusion that Sookie will end where she began, romantically speaking. And if I'm perfectly honest, that really annoys me after all the effort Harris put into making him unlikeable and effectively fading him out as a central character earlier on in the series.

I also cannot fathom why on earth Harris insists on making every male character in this series unable to resist Sookie's feminine charms. I don't think I've encountered a character more alluring and irresistable! And it comes across as fake self-indulgence that we learn all this from Sookie herself. I don't find it to be a particularly endearing quality of our heroine, although perhaps modesty isn't in Sookie's genetic makeup.

Even though Deadlocked is further improvement on the disappointment that was books 8, 9 and 10, there remains a few issues with the characters and the storyline that have not, as yet, been resolved. Being the penultimate novel in the series, I had expected Harris to build on the constants in her characters rather than trying to force major, last-minute changes. I am more than curious to see how Sookie's story will end, even though I fear it won't be the finale I had hoped for.
Author Scott Bartlett has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader of this blog an e-book copy of Royal Flush.
All you have to do to enter the draw is to leave a comment on this post. Please provide an email address so that if you win the author can get in touch with you to arrange delivery of the e-book. Entries will be taken until midnight (Australian Central Standard Time) on Thursday, 31 January 2013. The winner will be announced on Saturday, 2 February 2013.
Giveaway is open to everyone because we all deserve a free book every now and then.
Best of luck!

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