Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

[This review does NOT contain spoilers! Or maybe minimal spoilers, since I can't talk about the book without talking about the book.]

"I'd loved two vampires. Bill had broken my heart. Maybe Eric was on his way to doing the same thing."

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!
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


Billie Doux said...

Okay, I want to post a comment that includes serious spoilers, and here it is. Bail out now. You've been warned!
Throughout the book, it was obvious that Sookie's relationship with Eric would not survive this situation with the murder, the Queen, or both. I found it especially infuriating that Eric was following his dead maker's wishes, and I'm glad that in this book, Sookie also found it infuriating and contrived. I also thought that it was obvious that Sookie's relationships with both Sam and Bill were being strengthened by the situation at Merlotte's and by Bill's steadfast loyalty and friendship. I've always felt that Sookie would end up with either Bill or Sam, and now I'm thinking it's going to be Sam. Yes, he's a supe, but he tries to stay out of the situations Sookie continually finds herself in because of her vampire boyfriends. And they can have babies and grow old together running Merlotte's. As I said above, I'm not happy about it, but it would be a logical way to end the series.

donna said...

I totally agree with what you said. I think she is going to end up with sam in the next book and get mariedand have babies. She used the fairy object (i so cant spell it without looking it up and too tired to do so lol) to save sams life so obviously he meant more to her than anyone else. I think they would be cute together and Sam just seems *safe* compared to all of her other boyfriends.

Valerie said...

I’m a big Sookie and Eric shipper and a Claude fan so this book was seriously upsetting. The murder and that whole plot seemed really implausible but I’ll go with it because these books are always entertaining and enjoying. I really hope this series gets a spinoff or something because I don’t want it to end

Eesti said...

This one started out strong, with a compelling storyline/mystery. The pace slowed down a little bit after the first part of the book, but it was full of interesting revelations. Charlaine Harris mentioned a lot of old characters from previous books, and I was interested in Sookie's fantasy for the people she cared about later on in the book. I was hoping for a more spectacular use of the cluviel dor, but I guess it really is the only thing she could have done with it, especially if the books are heading in the direction I think they are. I thought this book also did a good job of keeping the vampires forefront, but involving the fae and the weres not only in the book but into the storyline as well. Charlaine Harris obviously set out to write a better book than the last one, has a lot more story to put in these last few books now that's she's wrapping it all up, and is at least going to try to make her best effort in ending the series, whether it makes all her fans happy or not.

Robyn said...

This book basically broke my heart! The old Eric/Sookie relationship is pretty much over. I have to agree with all other posters, I think she will end up with Sam and have thought so for a long time.
She deserves happiness and a 'normal' life, or as normal as Sookie can hope for as she said many times she cannot be with just a normal human, so Sam is perfect is every way-potential for babies, lack of drama, her equal in the supe arena, stable and reliable and most of all...her best friend.
I will miss Sookie when the books finish--they have been a wild ride!

Juliette said...

Reposted because I suddenly realised the first sentence shows up on the sidebar! Spoiler alert...

My goodness Sookie and Eric must be going through the longest break-up *ever*. We're at two books and counting, and they were on the rocks a bit in #10 as well. Just do it already! Pull off the plaster! (That's British for band-aid).

I wish Harris had given Eric and Sookie a stronger relationship, then killed Eric off if she wants Sookie with Sam. Equally contrived, but emotionally more satisfying! Glad the cluviel dor is out of they way - that was always going to be what Sookie did with it from the moment it was introduced so at least we can move on now.

*So* sick of hearing about Tara and her (rude word) babies. And everyone else's babies. The book is starting to resemble my Facebook page. I'm a single 29-yr-old whose friends are all having kids. Being constantly reminded of this fact is not, oddly enough, what I want from my vampire romance fiction.

(Hmm, that was pretty harsh. I did enjoy some of it!)