Hello everyone, and welcome back to the very last re-read *tear* of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books. This week we’re recapping Deadlocked, and then next week we will discuss the final book in the series, Dead Ever After. And while I know there are an abundance of spoilers on the internet (to be discussed next week!) I have so far managed to avoid them (a la How I Met Your Mother’s Super Bowl episode). So my recap is unspoiled with what is yet to come, though I have my own predictions of Sookie’s happily ever after. We’ll just have to wait and see if I’m right!
Deadlocked begins with a scene that could be taken straight from Magic Mike, if you added some fairies into the mix. Sookie is taking advantage of ladies’ night at Claude’s strip club, Hooligans, with some girlfriends. While her human friends don’t notice, Sookie can see—because of her fae blood—the strangeness surrounding them. Waitresses with green skin and double eyelids, an elf with pelt-like hair—and they all call Sookie “sister.” But then the ladies are hit with a huge surprise—JB du Rone, Tara’s husband, a stripper at the club. It’s what Sookie likes to call an OSM (Oh Shit Moment).
Later that night, Niall surprises Sookie with a visit. Before he can reveal the reason for his visit, though, Claude and Dermot arrive home from Hooligans. In yet another OSM, there’s a brief standoff, before they discover that no one knows who actually cursed Dermot with craziness. So Niall drags Claude off with him to search for the culprit, leaving Dermot to stay with Sookie. The next morning, Mustapha Khan warns Sookie that Felipe de Castro is traveling to Shreveport to investigate Victor’s disappearance, and delivers Eric’s request that Sookie come to Shreveport to greet Felipe. Mustapha also warns that Sookie’s on Jannalyn’s bad side for helping Sam. Jannalyn is jealous of their relationship, particularly as Sam has essentially elevated Sookie’s status to part-owner, upping her paycheck and responsibilities. In yet another awkward moment that day, Jannalyn walks into Sam’s office as they are looking over tax forms, mistakes their posture for something else, and almost attacks Sookie in her jealousy. Sam is not pleased, to say the least.
Sookie drives to Eric’s house for the meeting with Felipe. Before she even walks to the door, Bill warns her away—the vampires inside are behaving worse than Diane, Liam, and Malcolm in the first book. Sookie chooses to ignore his warning, though she is aware that this might be a stupid, horror-movie-esque decision. Inside, Felipe sends her back to Eric, where he is feeding on a woman in his bedroom. Sookie is so furious that she almost leaves, but Eric is clearly drunk. The girl had amped up her shifter blood with a vial of fairy blood, to make it more intoxicating. That doesn’t change the fact that he drank from her, knowing that Sookie would arrive soon. But Sookie has to put aside her anger for the moment. She seems to be the only one who realizes that the girl was sent to him purposely. The sender was clearly hoping that Eric would be unable to stop, and drain her, killing her. While they avoided that trap, they still have to speak with Felipe about Victor. They all deny responsibility for his death, but give theoretical reasons as to why they would have done such a thing. Just as Sookie accuses Felipe of negligence with Victor, she’s saved by the bell—or police. There’s a dead body on Eric’s front lawn. They explain their actions as much as possible to the police, Sookie and Eric talk a little about the “drinking situation,” and have to shelve the rest of their conversation for another time.
When Sookie wakes, she has three voicemails—one from Tara (she’s in labor), one from Alcide (who needs to talk), and one from Dermot (who needs her to come home). Her conversation with Alcide is interesting—Jannalynn wants Sookie to help her propose to Sam. Sookie would drive him to Mimosa Lake, where Jannlalynn would have dinner prepared. Sookie immediately refuses, emphatically so. She doesn’t believe Jannalynn is good enough for Sam, and she certainly doesn’t think her motives are pure—she’s more likely to kill her than collaborate with her.
When Sookie returns to her own house, it’s to yet another OSM. Both Dermot and Mustapha are sitting at the table. While he didn’t kill the girl, he knows who did, but cannot tell her—and it seems his friend Warren is missing. As the week progresses, not much changes. The fae are restless and worried about Claude. The police investigation is ongoing, and Eric doesn’t call. Oh, and Tara has her twins. Sookie is thrilled, and is having a good day until Alcide enters the bar. She conveys a message to him from Mustapha—“don’t trust Jannalynn, and call Mustapha when he is alone.” Sookie also learns that Splendide was vandalized, and the focus seemed to be on the items from her own home. Someone clearly knows about the cluviel dor, and is looking for it.
Later that day, Bubba surprises Sookie with a visit, to warn her that “she” is coming. It’s Freyda, the queen of Oklahoma, and Eric’s betrothed. As the two women size each other up, Bubba actually pulls out a cell phone and apprises Pam of the situation. Go Bubba! Freyda explains that she is beautiful and powerful, and while Sookie may be a pretty and interesting human, Eric will not stay with her long term. She is certain that power will trump love, but she wanted to see her rival, to figure out why Pam and Bubba both are so fond of Sookie. Bill likes her even though she’s rejected him, the most aloof vampire ever, Thalia, says she’s tolerable. It’s clearly not her fairy heritage that does all that. As Bubba says, “She smells good. She has good manners. And she’s a good fighter, too.” Before she leaves, Freyda takes a moment to confirm the list of all the people Sookie has killed, almost as if she’s measuring her up for a big fight, or at least considering how much of a threat she represents. But before Freyda can take action, Sookie rescinds her invitation. Everything seems quiet for the moment, but the key question is—where’s Eric? In the past, he would have rushed to Sookie’s side at the mere possibility of a threat. He does call, and insists Freyda won’t win, but Sookie points out that he’s still not with her, and hangs up. He doesn’t call back.
The next morning, Sookie essentially mourns the loss of their relationship, even though it is not yet officially over. And when she gets to work, Sam isn’t there—which makes her even more upset. “Another man who isn’t there when she needs him.” She’s so mad, and so upset that he might be jaunting off with Jannalyn, that she calls him and demands to know if he’s married. When he says no, Sookie is so relieved that she begins to cry. But Sam calms her down, and comforts her, even though he doesn’t really know what’s wrong. Later that day, Bill pops over with an update on his murder investigation. Though they discuss the murder, Bill also gives his opinion on Eric’s situation. He clearly believes that Eric will choose Freyda in the end. He will get a kingdom, immunity from Felipe’s wrath over Victor’s death, and Freyda. He says, “You have to admit that her character is much like Eric’s and that they’d make a good team.” Is Bill jealous, or is he telling the truth as he sees it? Or Both?
As they are discussing this, Eric arrives, and both he and Sookie are instantly antagonistic, both questioning the other’s trust. But they put that aside, to note that Mustapha warned Sookie about Jannalyn, which means she might be involved. That afternoon, Donald Calloway, a Splendide employee, stops by. He had opened the package with the cluviel dor before giving it to Sookie, and read the letter, but didn’t realize what he had at the time. So after reading his thoughts, Sookie invites him in, lets him prattle on, and when he threatens her with a knife, she throws boiling water in his face. Then Mr. Cataliades comes charging in, jumps on him, and breaks his neck. And with the dead body on the floor, she invites Mr. Cataliades to take a seat and fill her in on his recent activities. Because of Donald, someone found out about Mr. Cataliades’ connection to the only cluviel dor in the world, and has been pursuing him. Diantha arrives, changes her appearance to Donald’s, and proceeds to hide the body and lead the trail away from Sookie. Mr. Cataliades also takes a moment to offer telepath lessons, to help Sookie avoid another Donald situation, and also explains that Barry has telepathy because he is his great-great-grandson.
Bill has finally made progress in his investigations. Felipe is holding Colton, and he will kidnap him back with Sookie’s help. They put Bill’s plan into action, and go to the Shreveport casino Trifecta. There they grab Colton, and make their way out, only to get stopped by some weres in the parking lot. Apparently Alcide has found what seems to be Warren’s body, and wants Sookie to identify it. Sookie soon realizes this is a lie, but only after she sent Bill off with Colton. They are not with Alcide—they are rejects of the pack with prison records and a vendetta. They plan to overthrow Alcide, and just as Sookie starts a real ruckus, Mustapha pulls her out of the melee and drives off with her on the back of his Harley. They go to Alcide, who has discovered that Jannalyn is working with the rogues and skimming pack money to build support to take down Alcide. She wants to be packmaster. Not only that, but she’s been meeting with Claude, and together they sent Kym to Eric, with Claude’s blood to make her irresistible. The three of them drive to Jannalyn’s house, where they find Warren hidden in the attic. And then Sookie realizes that all along it’s been Claude. Claude put the curse on Dermot and conveniently blamed the dead Murray, Claude set up Kim. And Claude purposely remained close to Sookie while looking for the cluviel dor.
But the next day is her birthday. And what does she do? Go make her will. She’s sad that no one else seems to have remembered, but not to worry—Sam surprises her with a birthday party. When she arrives home, Bill, Eric and Pam are also waiting for her. In a pretty hilarious assessment, Eric says
“We came to wish you a happy day. And I suppose, as usual, Bill will want to express his undying love that surpasses my love, as he’ll tell you—and Pam will want to say something sarcastic and nearly painful, while reminding you that she loves you too.”
Sookie responds by mentioning the Freyda situation, and they finally have the conversation they’ve been needing to have for so long. That it’s not just as simple as “I love you.” And Sookie believes, rightly, that Eric could get out of the situation if he really wanted to. But Eric is angry at her also, saying “You could stop this if you really wanted to.” It’s only after he flies off in a huff that she realizes Eric knows about the cluviel dor. And the saddest part is, she doesn’t trust his motivation—would he have taken it, bartered it, or just have Sookie use it to save him from Freyda?
In the morning, Claude suddenly returns and reveals his true nature in short order. Dermot punches him, then a bunch of fairies (including Bellenos) bound in and subdue Claude completely. Apparently they hadn’t appreciated Claude trying to incite them to rebellion. Dermot confirms that Claude had searched the house for the cluviel dor, and broken into the furniture shop. He set up Eric hoping they would fight and Sookie would be so miserable that Niall would rush to her side. Sookie clearly doesn’t believe that Niall loves her enough for that to be a valid theory, but just then Niall arrives, proving it to be true. He comes as she had asked in her letter sent through the portal. He also knows she has the cluviel dor, but he will not take it from her. He forgives Dermot, blesses Sookie and her house, then takes the fairies back to his world with him. In that moment, all the fae are gone from America.
The next morning, Sookie opens her birthday gifts, including Sam’s—he’s made her ⅓ owner of Merlotte’s. She goes to thank him, but he is so horrified by what Jannalynn had done that he doesn’t know what to say. Making things worse, Alcide requests their presence at his house for Jannalynn’s trial. Before she dies, she calls the police station and confesses, clearing Eric. She and Mustapha begin a fight to the death. But when Jannalyn tries to use the fight to kill Alcide, she stabs Sam instead. He dies almost instantly from his wounds, as Sookie crouches over him. And in that instant, she knows what she has to do. She uses the cluviel dor, and Sam lives again.
Eric leaves without speaking to her, and Sookie takes Sam back to her place and tucks him into the guest room bed. THE END.
Well, thoughts on this one everyone? It seems very much a transition book to me, wrapping up some loose ends, setting up the series finale, and demonstrating more of what Sookie wants from her future. The fae are finally gone from the world, Sookie has used the cluviel dor, and more of her enemies (aka Jannalynn) have bit the dust. But one is still left—Freyda. What will Eric choose?
Speaking of Eric, have you noticed how his character has changed in the last few books? This isn’t the Eric we got to know at the beginning of the series. He used to give Sookie gifts of gravel driveways and red coats. He was thoughtful and funny. But we haven’t seen the Eric that we loved in a very long while. Why is this? Is their relationship not good for either of them? Has he changed in these few years, after 1,000 years of vampire politics? Or is Harris making his character less loveable so that the series’ HEA will be more palatable? I’m inclined to go with the third, which does not make me like the books any less, but does make me mourn the Eric that first made me love this series so much.
The couple clearly has some trust issues. While Sookie is battered on every side with the Freyda situation, her constant response is “Eric loves me.” After a certain point, it’s frustrating. Yes, Eric loves you Sookie, but that is clearly not enough or you wouldn’t be holding on to that one hope so desperately. Sookie herself admits “I no longer felt the surge of love and lust and excitement I’d had before the past few weeks. I hoped that I might feel all that again, but I was so emotionally battered that I’d gone a little numb... ‘I love him.’ I said, but even to my own ears I didn’t sound happy about it.” Neither of them are happy. Is that just Freyda, or their own relationship issues? Mostly the latter, I’d venture to say. Sookie thinks about using the cluviel dor to keep him, but then admits, “If he decided to go with the queen, he loved me less than he loved the possibilities in his future with her. Would I want to stay with someone on those terms?” Basically, I don’t want him if he doesn’t want me. Finally, some spine in this situation, rather than just hanging up on him or walking out!
As for Bill, for most of the past few books he has been running after Sookie yelling (think Buddy’s “IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou!” from Elf) his feelings, trying to win her back. He constantly assures her that he would do anything for her, and he certainly has proven that he is willing to risk his life. But how much of his advice to Sookie in this book, his assessment of Eric’s situation, is wholeheartedly for her good?
Niall is a fascinating character, at least to me. As Sookie says, “if Niall’s beauty and power had been united with a coherent course of action and a nobleness of purpose, he would have been very like an angel.” But it’s not. He’s beautiful and powerful and noble, but also petty and rather immature for such an old being. It’s quite the statement on great age not necessarily equating to great wisdom. But both Niall and Dermot get their happy ending, reunited at last, and Claude gets his just desserts. All in all, a satisfactory wrap to that plot thread, don’t you think?
The relationships of Sookie’s friends progress around her, drawing her more into the human world and away from the supernatural. In the beginning of the series, Sookie had so few friends. Arelene, maybe Tara…and that’s about it. Now, she has girlfriends—Tara and Kennedy (Merlotte’s bartender), Holly and Michelle. They meet for brunch and go to ladies’ night. With Sookie’s telepathy, she’s never had this before, but now she’s developing a much more normal social life. Good for her! But it makes the contrast between her two lives that much more stark. At one point, Sookie goes and lays out in her yard and thinks about normal things, “It was good to think about things that weren’t supernatural. In fact, it was blissful.” A sign of things to come, perhaps?
Now for a few great quotes that I couldn’t resist sharing:
- “Honestly, it was the equivalent of being insulted by a pork chop my boyfriend was eating.” On Kym’s attempt to insult Sookie
- A detective to Sookie, “out with the furries and in with the coldies, huh?” Awkward.
- “I woke up two hours later feeling like something the cat spit up.”—Sookie
- “‘Pleasant’ didn’t mean a positive good to me anymore: It meant an absence of bad.”—Sookie
- Sookie to Bill: “What are you, Zen Master Fang?”
- “I don’t think any woman minds knowing she looks good, as long as the admiration isn’t expressed in an offensive way and doesn’t come from a disgusting source.”—Sookie
What are your thoughts on this book? I know it’s not the most action-packed, Sookie is not at her most decisive, Eric is not at his best. But I enjoyed it, as I enjoy all the books in the series, and can’t wait to see what Sookie chooses for her future in the next book. So join us next week to discuss the final book in the series, Dead Ever After!