I love the Sookie Stackhouse books – I love Sookie Stackhouse. I love her honesty, her simplicity, her self-reflectiveness, her ability to forgive and laugh at her own and others’ failings. I love that she’s not perfect. So, when I am invited into her world, I tend to venture there with the expectation that, while I might be scared and even anxious at times, it’s all so familiar: like being embraced by a favourite grandmother or older friend. Opening the pages of one of Harris’ Sookie novels is akin to immersing myself in a giant bubble-bath that might run cold occasionally and require a top up of hot water, or where the bubbles may disappear after a while, leaving me exposed, but the point is, I’m still in a bath and I like it there.
Having read Deadlocked, I think the attitude I take to these books is both testimony to Charlaine Harris’ writing, the world and characters she’s created and is what saves me from feeling less positive about this book than I might otherwise have been. That’s because, when I reflect back on what actually happened, I have to conclude: not much.
Oh, the usual characters appeared – Eric, Pam, Sam, Bill, Jason and Tara. There was the Weres, including Alcide, and the fae, Claude, Niall and others. There were also other supes, as Sookie calls them. Instead of serving the plot, they sort of drifted in and out and kept the story bubbling along. My bath didn’t get cold, it wasn’t drained, no, it was kinda comfortable and warm the entire time. I for one forgive Harris that. Because nothing really happened, nothing was resolved either. Well, something sort of happens with the fae, sort of with the vampires and sort of with the weres, but it’s a bit meh and you move on. The one thing that did occur was more than a little predictable and it was overturned by magic anyhow.
While there were questions asked about feelings and relationships, there were no real answers. Again, y’all just went along with things and accepted that the status quo wasn’t really shaken. Compared to past books, which have sizzled and zinged in the sex stakes, this one barely went beyond first base. In that regard, it was also lukewarm and no bubbles were popped.
Rumours are that this is the penultimate Sookie Stackhouse book. If that’s the case, I hope that Harris has kept all the things she left out of this one to throw into the last one. When it comes to Bon Temps and Sookie’s companions, Harris owes it to them and us to go out with a bang and not a whimper.