Well, there it was, the day I was looking forward to, May 3, 2011, the release of Dead Reckoning. I had my book on hold at the local Barnes and Noble for a while and could not wait to get my greedy little hands on it. Of course, picking up the book was not the only thing I had to do that day, ERRANDS, on that day of all days. The day ended up being more hectic that I originally planned and by the time I was able to sit down and read, it was midnight! I only got 50 pages in and before I knew it, I was DEAD TO THE WORLD (pun intended), passed out from exhaustion. I was up until four-thirty this morn finishing the book. I have to say it was worth the wait for I had remained spoiler free, except for the chapters that were released by Charlaine Harris previously.
In this 11th installment of the Sookie Stackhouse Novels or the SSN for short (NOT THE TRUE BLOOD BOOKS as they have been called by some *scoffs*), I found a “back to the basics” routine for the arc of the book series. Sookie has grown into her character more and more and knows what she wants and what she feels comfortable with, although she struggles with her religious upbringing. Sookie was darker and much more mature in this installment that in the past books and that was very refreshing. I found myself cheering her on in some instances and I felt incredible sorrow for her in others. When she read her Gran’s letter and her explanation of what happened with Fintan, I felt her sadness and her coming to terms with the fact that she did not really know her Gran at all. Her worry for Eric and Pam regarding their relationship was very heartwarming.
Speaking of Eric and Pam, the in-fighting between those two was very disturbing. Eric was as unhinged as anyone had ever seen him and not quite the vampire we had all come to know and love. Sookie knew it, not only due to the bond, but to the way he reacted to situations. I felt BIG TIME sorrow from Pam about not being able to turn Miriam to save her life, she loved her. When Sookie made the choice to sever the blood bond (this is when I cheered her on the most) between her and Eric, I was proud of her. It was no secret that I wanted the bond gone so she (and everyone else in the Sookieverse world you know who you are, *cough BILL FANS cough*) would know if her feelings for the VIKING were genuine.
I loved how she was worried about the spell harming Eric and how she ran to the phone when it rang and they both made sure the other was okay after it was broken. I understood why he was upset that the bond was no more. I was relieved to hear him tell her he knew of a ritual to break the bond and why he did not offer it. If Sook did not have a problem with this revelation as well as the one where he had Terry looking out/spying on her (THIS IS MY THEORY IN TRUE BLOOD AS WELL, but I digress lol), well then, neither did I. My favorite line in regards to their relationship from Sookie was “I do love you, all on my own”! This is what she needed and I think Eric needed to know as well. I believe he was worried that she might have only loved him due to the bond, even though he never said it out right. Favorite line from Eric was “Yes, I am very fond of Pam, I made a great choice. You were my other great choice”. In my opinion, no more proof was needed that they loved each other deeply.
Bill, I really did not see a need for him at all in this book, AT ALL. He just seemed like a page filler for me. It seemed the author went out of her way to include him in the book somehow but it came off as obvious/forced and not related to the story at all. Of course, he made it known to Sookie that HE LOVES HER (as if we did not know, he says it every time) and that he would bed her at any time she wished. I almost choked on my CHERRY COKE when he said that she had the best breasts and could win an international competition. He was really not a factor in anything, except to be there for Bubba, who seemed to cling to Bill and trusted only Bill and Sookie. Oh, I forgot he gave Sookie a ride home from Fangtasia and offered some advice on the Eric situation, which was surprisingly wise and sage. So KUDOS to him for that. But that is as far as I will go.
DING DONG!! The wicked VICTOR’S dead, the thorn in everyone‘s backside! I never wanted a character deader than he already was, besides Sandra Pelt, who finally met her death in the closing chapters, with help from Jannalynn and Sam. Oh, I did not mention Sam much did I? Well, not much to say, except he seemed a little darker to me but it was CLEAR that he and Sookie were just friends. However, we were left with the impression that IT COULD BE more but I don’t see the VEILED hints that others do. It seemed to me they are great friends that think no one is good for the other. I see no HEA for them.
Overall, I loved, loved the book and thoroughly enjoyed reading it, as fast as I could and will be doing so again. However, with that being said it was satisfying in some aspects but not in others. We were left up in the air about the status of Eric and Sookie’s relationship, not just in the sense of him trying to get out of the marriage contract with Oklahoma, but in general. The last chapter was so open-ended and left to interpretation, especially in regards to Sookie’s newly acquired gift of the ‘cluviel dor‘. What‘s a girl to do with a gift like that? Think long and hard about it, Sook! I might have a few ideas and wouldn’t you like to know what they are? That is the mark of a good author to leave you guessing and that is exactly what Ms. Harris has done! Now, let's speculate away, shall we? :)