I’ll admit it. I like Charlaine Harris‘ Sookie Stackhouse series. I can never quite get over the horrible cover art, but I can be a bit of a girl. And have a soft spot for smexy vamps so I’ve read them all. The latest installment, Dead Reckoning, continues the saga of Sookie right where last year’s Dead in the Family left off. The continuity is wonderful, but looking back, we’ve covered only a couple of years over the span of 11 books. Sookie has loved, lost, loved again, and been through all sorts of wackass shit. Big things have happened in almost every book, but Dead Reckoning seems to just be a stop gap between the next novel. Is Harris running out of steam, or is she moving the players for the next “big thing.” I sincerely hope its the latter.
Regardless, I felt at the end of Dead Reckoning I had read a whole novel, but not a whole lot happened. We tied up some loose, auxiliary ends and that’s about it. Sure a “big issue” was resolved like in every book, but it didn’t feel like it was given the credit the event was due. Revelations were made, but nothing was done with them. Characters returned, only to disappear with a cursory glance. It just sort of meandered through the events and then it was over.
Dead Reckoning wasn’t bad, I was definitely entertained and wouldn’t stop reading the series. There was violence, lots of it. And crazy monkey sex with Eric, yay! And some sexual tension, what would it be without some of that? But there were too many disjointed events and moments and passing situations where I felt like I had awakened from a dream remembering only half the story. I hope this isn’t indicative of a turning point in the Sookie novels and just a bit of lag before the rest of the story catches up.
Like every Sookie novel though, there are things that wear on me. When, oh when, will Harris join the modern age? The prior novels have had their own southern kitsch charm in all their overly detailed splendor. Something about the way Harris writes, it’s easy to tell she’s sort of stuck in 90’s style. Sookie is always sporting something that seems just a bit… dated. There’s too much description on outfits and accessories that make it easy to see Harris last took her fashion lessons from 1996. Scrunchies, red dresses with red heels with red purses, whatever. It keeps punching me in my sensibilities, making my reading experience hiccup. Maybe it’s on purpose, but I could do with less trivial details and more meat and potatoes to the story. Harris is a great writer with great ideas and characters, but the universe as a whole would benefit if she stopped muddying the waters with things that just don’t matter and just tell the story.