by Billie Doux
"I'd loved two vampires. Bill had broken my heart. Maybe Eric was on his way to doing the same thing."
[This review does NOT contain spoilers! Or maybe minimal spoilers, since I can't talk about the book without talking about the book.]
I always zip through a Charlaine Harris novel, and I certainly zipped through this one. As usual, Harris manages to successfully combine the everyday (Jason's relationship with Michele, Terry's new girlfriend, the birth of Tara's twins) with the supernatural (fairies with alien motives) and murder (a woman found dead on Eric's lawn).
There are several plots running parallel in Deadlocked. First is the cluviel dor, the magical fairy object that Fintan gave Adele that grants only one very personal wish, and I think this particular plotline concludes nicely. There is also a satisfying resolution of the ongoing fairy shenanigans, both at Hooligan's and at home with Claude and Dermot, as well as the return of Sookie's frightening great grandfather Niall.
The murder mystery -- a young woman who got Eric to bite her right before she was killed -- was well-plotted, but I found myself impatient with it because I could see throughout where it was going. (Which I can't really talk about without spoiling you.) Suffice it to say that the circumstances surrounding the murder and Eric's forced engagement to the Queen of Oklahoma were obviously intended to drive a contrived plot wedge between Sookie and Eric. We do get to meet the Queen, and she's no Sophie Anne. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.
I'm not a fan of Alcide and his Long Tooth pack of weres, but they were rather cool this time. We get quite a bit more of Sam's unpleasant were girlfriend, Jannalynn the Long Tooth pack enforcer, who is starting to feel like a cross between Callisto and Debbie Pelt. And Bill is back in a big way, investigating the murder at Eric's house, and I actually enjoyed Bill this time, too. He's gone through a lot and changed for the better, and it's rather sweet how he and Sookie are finally becoming real friends.
Sookie has changed over the course of the series, and it was never more obvious to me than it was in this book. She is tired of violence, sick of getting caught in the middle of warring supernatural factions, and her exhaustion is evident as she deals with the twists and turns and personal developments in this novel, specifically the possibility that she might be losing Eric. The action takes place during summer in the deep South, which is overwhelmingly hot and uncomfortable and worsens Sookie's exhaustion. She has a birthday, and the obvious message is that she is getting older and is still single and alone, while her friends and loved ones are getting married and having families.
Harris is contracted to do only one more Sookie Stackhouse novel, and I was very aware that this is most likely Sookie's penultimate adventure. And it did indeed feel like Harris has an ending in mind and is drawing all those loose plot strings together. (Harris even finally explains the origin of Barry Bellboy's telepathy.) Near the end of the book, Sookie has an extended fantasy where she gives all her friends imaginary happily-ever-afters, and I think I can see one coming for Sookie in the final book. At least I hope so. Even if it's not the ending I want.
SPOILER ALERT! Since this review is basically non-spoilery (unlike my other Sookie reviews), I am going to open the comments to spoilers. Say anything you like about the book in the comments. And I'll even start us off with one.
So if you don't want to be spoiled, DON'T READ THE COMMENTS!