My Soul to Take by Tananarive Due

My Soul to Take by Tananarive Due is the fourth book in her immortals series and is set in the year 2016 when governments are striving to keep terrorists at bay and plagues secret to reduce the threat of panic.  Glow, a type of blood that is warm to the touch, is being touted as the solution to the pandemic and disease problem, but the United States has banned the drug for its terrorist ties and unknown origins.

Fana, an immortal, and her father, Dawit, hope to help the human race by offering the healing powers of their blood, but they are stopped at every turn by a rival faction of immortals who oppose the sharing of blood with mortals, led by Michel.  Complicating the situation even further is Fana’s attraction to mortal Johnny Wright and her betrothal to Michel.  Due has crafted a unique world in which these characters struggle not only for the life and death of humanity, but with greater questions of acceptance and compassion.  She even sprinkles her novel with technology gadgets that could be in our very near future, which is a nice touch.

“Fana was grateful that Mom had raised her with mortals in her family, closest to her heart.  Her cousin, aunt, and best friend were all mortals, so she hadn’t grown up with the feelings of superiority shared by her Life Brothers, and even her father.  She tried not to feel it, anyway.  Fana always began her meditations by asking for humility so she would not lose herself.” (page 64)

While readers will enjoy the intricate details throughout the novel about the Immortals and their way of life, something is missing — it is hard to connect with the characters without having read the previous books in the series.  Complicating matters is the emergence of Phoenix, a former music star, and her family, who are dealing with the deaths of a fraternal grandmother and maternal father that haunt them.  As quickly as readers become involved in her story, they are quickly shifted away from it and immersed in the immortal world.  When readers are returned to Phoenix’s story, they may feel like they have to flip back to recall what has happened to her.  This format does a disservice to the character — whose story line does intersect with Fana’s early on — and makes it difficult to reconnect with the character and her story and how it connects to the Immortals story line.

Due has a talent for creating other worlds, environments where immortals are gods, but have secreted themselves and their innovations away below the ground.  There are some that want to save humanity, and others that see humanity as ants to be squashed.  Through a great deal of biblical allusion, she creates an allegory for the Book of RevelationsMy Soul to Take is a slowly, unwinding battle of wills, but mortals refuse to sit on the sidelines and watch.  A pleasurable read that could be enhanced by reading the previous books in the series.

About the Author:

Tananarive Due (pronounced tah-nah-nah-REEVE doo) is the American Book Award-winning author of nine books, ranging from supernatural thrillers to a mystery to a civil rights memoir.

She has a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Leeds, England, where she specialized in Nigerian literature as a Rotary Foundation Scholar. Due currently teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles. Due has also taught at the Hurston-Wright Foundation’s Writers’ Week, the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, and the summer Imagination conference at Cleveland State University. She is a former feature writer and columnist for The Miami Herald.

Due lives in Southern California with her husband, Steven Barnes; their son, Jason; and her stepdaughter, Nicki.

This is my 63rd book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.


  1. I know people who are slavishly devoted to this series — but have started from the beginning. It’s too bad that reading the earlier books is so crucial to enjoying the story!

    • I liked the book well enough, but I think that when I accepted it based on assurances it was a standalone, I was disappointed to find myself playing catch up. There were moments of confusion for me, and I had to push through those moments to get back into the story.

      • Boo — that’s so disappointing! I would be frustrated to play catch up, too, esp if it was sold to me as an acceptable stand alone!

        • For stories of this nature that blend reality (even in the future) with a fantastical world, you have to maintain that sense of the world created, but if not enough is shown in the current book and you need to read the others to stay there, it’s harder to do as a reader and very distracting

  2. Books like this aren’t my cup of tea anyway, but I appreciate you letting us know it’s not a standalone novel. I give you kudos for finishing it. I would have been too confused and would have given up early on.

    • The story was interesting enough to keep me going, but I was wondering about certain aspects of the immortals world that were probably revealed earlier on…like how did Michel and Fana come to be and why are they considered the bringers of the Cleansing, etc. It was interesting to say the least, but I think I would have to have read the first ones to really enjoy it more.

  3. I won’t look for this one since I haven’t started the series. Thanks for your review.

    • I found I was playing too much catch up with this one, having not read the first 3 novels. I don’t think this would make it as a standalone novel.