Last December, I fell in love. I took a debut novel from an author I knew nothing about and climbed into bed with her book, THE TAKER. From the comfort of my bed, I was swept into the early 1800’s into the obsessive mind of a young woman, madly in love. The epic tale spans from her childhood in the small family-owned town of St. Andrews, to her life in the throes of danger and passion with the man we know to be “The Taker”, Adair, to the present day, where she retells her life story to a young doctor.
I was swept off my feet by the raw beauty of Alma Katsu’s writing. She was fearless in her examinations of the human mind, heart and soul. I put this stunning, captivating novel into the hands of everyone I could and eagerly awaited the second installment of the trilogy, THE RECKONING. (Note, if you have not read the first book, please stop reading here and go get yourself a copy!)
When the book finally released, I had to prepare myself; prepare to spend the next few days lost in the fate of Lanny and Adair. I climbed into bed once more, nervous that it might me impossible to top the utter captivation I felt while reading the first book. For those with the same fear, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
THE RECKONING was pure perfection for me. It was an epic journey in its own right, taking parts of the first book and running in other directions with it. We begin with Lanny, having let go of her worldly antique collection and anonymously donating all of her pieces to a museum in Paris. Luke, the St. Andrews doctor, remains by her side, hopeful that he will be the security and love she has been looking for for centuries. When a familiar headache catches Lanny off guard, terror fills her veins. She can feel it. Feel him. Adair is free.
After spending hundreds of years trapped behind a brick wall, Adair is shocked by the sight of daylight. His mansion has been demolished, setting him both him and his murderous fury at Lanny free. What follows is two separate journeys, Lanny’s journey to escape Adair and Adair’s pilgrimage to find the woman who fills him with both ice and fire.
Though my plot descriptions will stop there, I can assure you of a few details: Adair’s complexity will be explored and expanded, Lanny’s adventures will thrill you, new characters will steal and break your heart (oh, Savva), old characters will boil your blood, and dark magic will snake up the bones of the story like the vines of a rogue bush. But my favourite part of this story, as always, is Alma Katsu’s haunting prose. I have never been so affected by the elegance and terror that fills her every word. As Lanny reflects on the centuries of her life, her contemplation of the human soul becomes a recurring theme. My heart beat harder in my chest while Lanny muses about the existence of her very soul — forever stalled in this world, held captive by her immortality. The power behind Katsu’s words and the soul of her writing stuck cords, deeply imbedded in me.