Wednesday, May 2, 2012

‘Deadlocked’ is dead in the water

(Note: No big spoilers, only general book discussion)

Sookie Stackhouse is a modern day heroine – and I don’t mean one of those whiny ones in ‘Twilight.’
She’s strong, smart and fiercely independent.

At least she used to be.

Somewhere along the way, our Bon Temps waitress/vampire concubine/part fairy heroine completely lost her likeability factor.

Sookie was introduced in May 2001 as a feisty woman with more bosom than brains most of the time. It’s not that she wasn’t smart, she just didn’t think before she did something. As a woman, I think a lot of us can relate to that.

Sookie fell in love with the town’s lone vampire, Bill, a pouty and princely specimen that stole her heart, held it for a handful of books, and then ground it into dust (before biting and raping her in the trunk of a car).

She then flirted with, but never consummated a relationship with, local pack leader Alcide, before settling into a two-book relationship with the were-panther (and annoyingly charisma-free) Quinn. Finally, she embarked on her current relationship with Viking vampire Eric.

Whew. For a woman who was a virgin at the beginning of the story – she’s sure made the rounds.

Sookie has had a hard lot in life, there’s no getting around it.

She can read people’s thoughts – even when she doesn’t want to. That can turn into an intrusive and noisy part of her life. We also found out she’s part fairy and her blood is like an aphrodisiac to vampires – which essentially means she can never be sure if they truly love her or if they just love the taste of her.

Through the years Sookie has said hello and goodbye to a bevy of different friends, family and lovers in her life. Some have stuck (like Eric and Bill), while others have had the longevity of a fruit fly. Through it all, though, she always managed to maintain some level of decorum.

That is until they had her completely lose herself in her relationship with Eric.

In all her other relationships, Sookie managed to still be her. Not with Eric, though. With Eric she’s essentially a “yes” girl. Meaning, whatever Eric wants, Sookie does. That’s not the heroine we fell in love with.

Without giving to much away, Sookie does manage to reclaim some of the spark she has lost over the past five books or so at the very end of ‘Deadlocked.’ It’s just not enough.

There is only one book left in the series, and I think the one thing you can say about ‘Deadlocked’ is that it gives you a fairly clear indication who she’s going to end up with. There are a lot of shippers out there who are going to be ticked off, by the way.

The problem is, Sookie never used to be defined by who she was dating. She was defined by her own heroism, loyalty and dedication.

Even though I’m a fan of Eric the character, it’s clear that Eric and Sookie as a couple don’t mesh. He sucks the life out of her (figuratively and literally) and she can’t (or won’t let herself) be true to her own nature around him.

In addition to my problems with Eric the past few books, I've also had it with the fairy storylines taking over everything. Claude is not an entertaining character. He never was. Claudine was an entertaining character -- but her brother has never been able to be anything but boring. That also appears to have been taken care of in this book -- but we'll have to wait and see.

I admire Charlaine Harris for letting her cash cow go next year – even though it will probably hurt her pocketbook.

As much as I love Sookie – and I truly do – I think it’s time to let her go. Now if Janet Evanovich would just do the same thing with Stephanie Plum.

What do you think? Is Sookie Stackhouse still a viable heroine?


Blogger Team Sookie said...

I completely disagree with your view on this book.

Sookie Stackhouse has NEVER been anyone’s “yes girl”. She broke the blood bond with Eric when she wanted to. She told him she wouldn’t move in with him until she was sure their relationship was stable. She kept her job after he told her it was too dangerous to work there (since she had been attacked there several times). She let Claude move in, even though she knew Eric wasn’t thrilled about the idea. Whenever she was mad at something he did, she sure let him know it. How is that being his “yes girl”? Your review makes no sense!

I think you’re incorrectly classifying Sookie’s desire to keep her relationship with Eric as a form of emotional weakness. But the truth is that she loves him and wanted it to work. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. Sookie dumped Bill and Quinn because they betrayed her. The majority of Sookie and Eric’s problems came from external sources. It was a different situation.

Also, Eric doesn’t like “yes girls”. If he did, he’d be dating fangbangers instead of loving Sookie and hanging out with Pam.

May 2, 2012 at 5:57 PM 
Blogger Amanda Lee said...

Sorry, but Sookie used to be a dynamic heroine. Over the past five books or so, she's been all about Eric. I don't particularly like any of her love interests. I read the books because I loved Sookie as a heroine. She has lost the majority of her personality to this relationship with Eric. I'm so glad Harris has said they won't end up together -- because he's better off as a character without her and she's better off as a character without him. Her whole life has become wrapped up in Eric -- to the point she's hardly recognizable anymore. I would hope she would end up without any of these sad sack excuses for men at the end.

May 2, 2012 at 6:24 PM 
Blogger Team Sookie said...

I disagree. When Sookie was with Bill she let him feed on her even though it made her feel very tired (she was becoming anemic). She let Bill pick out her clothes on certain occasions, even though she didn't like it. She stopped taking vitamins and iron because Bill didn’t like how it made her blood taste. She stopped eating her favorite foods because Bill didn’t like the garlic in them. Current Sookie would never put up with that. But she’s not the same girl she used to be. Too much has happened for her to go back to the person she once was. In the end I think she’s stronger.

“I'm so glad Harris has said they won't end up together”
Could you please provide a source? I didn’t know she said that.

May 2, 2012 at 11:17 PM 
Blogger krtmd said...

CH never said that, so don't worry Team Sookie. Also, Amanda Lee, you have some of your facts confused - Quinn is not a were panther.

I disagree that Sookie loses herself with Eric. I think she has changed over the course of all these books - particularly being kidnapped and tortured by the fairies. Who would be the same after that?

May 3, 2012 at 6:18 AM 
Blogger Crzy4Max said...

Wow, are we reading the same books? Team Sookie just provided plenty of examples for you and your response failed to respond to any of them.
Even in Deadlocked, the book you are supposedly reviewing, Sookie turns Eric down when he wants to come over and on another occasion, doesn't let him inside to talk when he wants to.

I'm all for opposing viewpoints, but at least provide some examples for your assertion.

May 3, 2012 at 2:50 PM 
Blogger Team Sookie said...

Wow, calling Quinn a were-panther is quite an oversight! I noticed that error before but I didn’t mention it because the Sookie hate was a bigger issue for me. But come on, the animal Quinn turns into is a huge part of his character. It has been described at length in several books. Even Deadlocked references him being a were-TIGER. Really, you might as well have said that Eric, Pam, and Bill are leprechauns instead of vampires.

Do you honestly believe your review is worthy of being taken seriously when you include incorrect information and fail to provide any evidence to support the assertions you’ve made? I don’t.

May 3, 2012 at 6:38 PM 
Blogger Amanda Lee said...

Here's the link for Harris ending the series.

May 3, 2012 at 7:57 PM 
Blogger Amanda Lee said...

You can also Google Harris and Sookie and Eric won't end up together. It's mentioned in numerous articles.

May 3, 2012 at 8:00 PM 
Blogger Team Sookie said...

Regardless of what man Sookie ends up with, her character arc has been of a woman coming into her own and cultivating her inner strength. I still disagree with what you’ve written. Your review is inaccurate and lacks any compelling argument that would support your claims. You might want to work on that.

Also, I googled “Harris says Sookie and Eric won’t end up together” and all I found was fan speculation. Do you have the actual quote? If you claim that the author said such a thing, you should provide the source. Thank you.

May 3, 2012 at 11:08 PM 

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