There are some books that you read quickly through and there are those books are almost too seductive and you want to slow down and savor every moment with the characters, and The Reckoning by Alma Katsu — the second book in The Taker series (check out my review of The Taker) — is the latter. Once plunged into this world of immortal, devilish, and sometimes wayward beings, readers will not want to leave and by the end of the book, they will be clamoring for more.
The novel picks up just where Lanny and Luke leave off in the previous novel, and just as he begins to settle into their new life together — helping her to purge her past — the unthinkable happens. The terror Lanny feels is palpable and forces her to take action in a way that she never thought she would, leaving Luke devastated. What makes this all work so well is the tables are turned not just on Lanny forcing her to react, but the tables turn on other characters as well, including the powerful and frightening Adair.
“Inside, he detected a scent that he associated with Lanore, her musk making a part of his brain fire excitedly, re-creating the feeling of being in her presence. She felt so real, so present, that he expected her to walk around a corner or to hear her voice carry down the staircase, and when neither happened, he felt his loneliness more profoundly than before.” (Page 236)
The Reckoning is not only about the revenge that Adair will take upon Lanore and the events that lead her back into his path, but also it is about the judgment we all must make of ourselves, our past deeds, and our future path. Readers will uncover more of Adair’s secrets, learn about the great Lord Byron, and come to find out that Lanore is not as immune to the charms of the dark side as she’d like to think she is. There is a great blurring of the line between good and bad, with each character playing along the edges in their actions and thoughts. Lanore’s character grows stronger here, burning with fear, yet conviction, while Adair’s softer side is revealed without taking over. Katsu does well to blur these lines and show us the reality of this surreal world — that not everything is as black and white as it seems (dare I use the pun that there are more than 50 shades of gray?).
The Reckoning by Alma Katsu is an addictive world that readers will plunge into without looking and emerge from emotionally spent and eager for the next whirlwind with The Descent. Katsu is a phenomenal writer who is adept at building worlds and atmospheres that will hold readers in their grip and never let go, and many of these worlds straddle reality and fantasy like no other. History, even its alternate versions, come to life in her hands as her characters run through the pages, fearing the worst and never expecting redemption.
She’s made me into a believer, enticing me back into the world of fantasy, horror, and, dare I say, the Gothic, which I had given up as trite and overwrought long ago. I’ve been seduced. The Reckoning by Alma Katsu is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I don’t say that about many sequels.
About the Author:
Alma Katsu is a 30-year DC veteran who lives in two worlds: on one hand, she’s a novelist and author of The Taker (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books). On the other hand, she was a senior intelligence analyst for CIA and NSA, and former expert in multilateral affairs. Check out this Interview With Alma.
This completes my first series for the Finishing the Series Reading Challenge 2012.