DEAD RECKONING by Charlaine Harris [Review]

SPOILER WARNING: This review is for the eleventh book in the Sookie Stackhouse series and may contain spoilers for the previous ten books. However, I’ve tried to avoid including any Dead Reckoning spoilers.

It’s always a happy day in my household when Charlaine Harris releases a new book, so I’ll admit to doing a little happy dance when Dead Reckoning arrived on my front porch. If you can believe it, this is the eleventh book to feature telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. The story starts off with a bang when Merlotte’s bar is firebombed with Sookie, Sam, and their customers inside. That’s not good for business, which is already down thanks to a new bar that recently opened nearby. The firebombing also brings out the protective side in Eric, Sookie’s hot vampire “husband.” As it is, vampire politics have Eric and Pam on edge. Sookie doesn’t know exactly what is going on—just that Eric and Pam are acting weird and very secretive. Sookie is never one to just stand on the sidelines, so you know she’ll end up right in the middle of whatever the vampires are plotting.

Even after eleven Sookie Stackhouse books, I still enjoy spending time in Bon Temps. It’s fun to catch up with familiar characters like Bill, Alcide, Amelia, Bob the former cat, and some of Sookie’s extended family (Hunter, Dermot, and Claude). Bubba is back too! And there is an ominous new character (don’t worry, no spoilers here) that could really mess things up for Sookie.

If you thought Dead in the Family went off on a bit of a tangent with the story of Eric’s maker, Appius, you might be happy to know that Dead Reckoning returns to the central storylines of the series. Namely: the source of Sookie’s telepathy, the mysterious fae, and the vampire power struggle. Dead Reckoning holds some unexpected surprises that I think will give fans a lot to talk about. I thought Sookie’s telepathy had been pretty well explained, but now there’s a new twist to the story. In fact, the last chapter is so packed with information that I’m still processing what it all means.

I highly recommend Dead Reckoning to any fan of the Sookie Stackhouse series since it reveals some important new details about Sookie. It also sets up a few new storylines that I’m sure will be addressed in the next book, so you don’t want to miss this one.

UPDATE 5/5/2011: If you’ve already read Dead Reckoning, please come chat with us over at the Dead Reckoning discussion page.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Ace Hardcover | Pages: 336 | Source: Publisher | Buy on Amazon

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  • Genna Sarnak

    I’m an avid fan and can’t wait to read the next book. It’s always nice to get immersed in Bon Temps and my favorite characters. I’m glad to know you enjoyed Dead Reckoning. Thanks for the review!

    • Anonymous

      Hi Genna! There’s something comforting about returning to a familiar setting and characters, isn’t there? I hope you like Dead Reckoning as much as I did.

  • Lili T. Cassidy, age 44 Vienna

    I am going to be on the very unwelcome list here when I tell this. Even though I like this book better than the last two books, I don’t think that I’ll be reading the series any longer. With only 2 books to finalize the series, that is, as things are now; who knows maybe there will be another offer for additional 3 more books- all balls are still in the air, in terms of running plot.
    True, some questions are answered, (who was watching Sookie and for whom and why; exactly how did Sookie’s fairy relatives enter the picture) more balls have been thrown in the air. (Eric’s current binding contract situation, Bill’s past connection that is so similar to Sookie and Eric, Cataliades and his enemies, Claude and his schemes, Dermot and his state of mind/situation not to forget the infamous kiss of breath, and a lot more)
    I have started reading Southern Vampires when the books first came out. I haven’t jumped on the °yey the Sookie!” wagon years after the first book was out nor after I watched the series.
    At the beginning the books were not only romantic but smart. The plots were thought through and executed fluidly. In the last three years, they have left a lot of those things to wish for.
    The plots have huge holes in them, and it is less of a thought thru book but more like an unedited writing exercise.
    In Dead in the Family, Eric drains a fairy. He doesn’t get crazy, he doesn’t start attacking anybody. He is exalted but he is “normal”. In this book which is the follow up book, a glass wiped with fairy blood, is going to make the vampires go bananas? And this is only one of the things that decides for me, that I do not to need anymore. Others I won’t list to avoid any spoilers.
    I love urban fantasy genre. I love fantasy genre and I do read some. I am following several series.
    The Dresden Files, Jane True series, Walker Papers, I haven’t even given up on George R. R. Martin yet, even though all my children have been assigned to read the books to my grave stone, if I don’t get to live long enough to read them myself. My point is, it is not the longevity of the series that makes me turn away from the Southern Vampire Series. But the books seem to be weaker.
    Mine is just a point of view. I am not saying not read the books. And I am definitely not saying the writer is a failure. Anybody who can write a story deserves my respect. No matter how much I might not like the story, it is hard work, to create a story from the ground up, and to wrap it up.
    I am merely saying, I am done with the series, and giving my opinion as to why.

    • Anonymous

      Lili – You’re not unwelcome here at all. I appreciate your comments! You make an excellent point about Eric and the fairy (I had forgotten about that). And if you’re not still enjoying the series then I don’t blame you for wanting to spend your time reading different books.

    • Marissa Wagner

      I agree with you. I will probably still read the series, but it is very irritating that three books came in 2010, and this is the only one to come out this year.

      I feel that Charlaine Harris knows she has a fan base and is now stringing us along. I did not feel that this book was a complete story. It could have been half of the next book.

      There weren’t even any lovey gooshey moments for me to enjoy – just anxiety and confusion from Sookie the whole book.

      Makes me feel cheated in under 300 pages.

  • Lau009

    I think that everyone whos fan of the books, have the same feeling about Dead Reckoning, it feels like a “half part of one book” its was new information and great plots but end wide open, I love this books so I will keeping look forward for the 12 an 13 books, but its sucks that has to pass A YEAR FOR US TO GET THEM!!!

  • Krystalapatton

    I absolutely adore this series; I think it’s original, witty, entertaining, addictive, and very readable. The only thing that bothers me while reading the series is all the inconsistencies and mistakes. Sometimes I feel that I know the little details of the series better than Harris herself.
    Just a couple examples: Sookie declares that she’s only heard a vampire’s thoughts twice, when she had heard Eric twice and Stan the Dallas Vampire Sheriff once as well.
    In Definitely Dead, Harris describes Debbie Pelt as a werefox when she was actually a lynx.
    In the second book she gets Charlise Tooten’s husband, Ralph’s name wrong: she calls him Micah.
    Also in Definitely Dead, she says that Al, Claude’s photographer suggested he take photos with Sookie when in the previous book she said that it had been Claudine’s suggestion, and so on and so forth.
    Maybe I am just focusing too much on the details, but it frustrates me that she makes so many mistakes within her own series and her own invented characters.