“I was squinting at a painting through the dimness…when I felt a hum in the back of my head. At first, I thought it was only a headache from the excitement of the day…except I never got headaches…It was only then that I understood that it was a signal, like the electric current that switches on a machine. I had been contacted, and a dread I’d carried for two centuries bloomed inside me, firing through every cell in my body. I could try to run from the past, but it seemed the past was not done with me yet.”
Alma Katsu, The Reckoning
The Reckoning, by Alma Katsu, was published in June and is 343 pages. I bought the book from One More Page Books in Arlington, VA and won a copy in a Goodreads giveaway, so I will give away one copy to commenters on this post (US residents only, please.) It is Book Two of The Taker Trilogy.
The Reckoning is the story of immortal Lanore McIlvrae who has imprisoned her evil “maker” Adair in a brick wall, and has spent the last two centuries trying to atone for the sins of her mortal and immortal lives. She is looking to the future with the doctor, Luke Findley, who helped her in the first novel in the trilogy, The Taker. As she views items from her past that she has presented for an exhibit at a London museum, she feels a humming in her head warning her that Adair has escaped his prison and that he will hunt for her. Suddenly on the run after two hundred years, Lanore must seek out those like her to search for a way to destroy the indestructible Adair. From her present dreams, to memories from her past, and spanning the globe, Lanore travels great distances to protect the man she loves and herself.
As Lanore searches, so does Adair. As he struggles to acclimate himself to life in the present and find the best way to exact his crushing revenge on Lanore, he is increasingly agitated by feelings of fear, weakness, and even love for her, though his demonic nature continues to assert itself. When he finds her, will he unleash his fury, or will he make her see the depth of his feeling for her?
Set in multiple time periods and featuring unforgettable characters like Lord Byron, The Reckoning is a fascinating, page turning, thrilling novel that has every bit as much power as the first book in the series. Katsu manages to create highly unique and diverse characters as rich and layered as the times from which they come. She even makes a devil like Adair somehow sympathetic, which is a mark of genius.
Katsu is a master of suspense and surprise. Just when the reader thinks she knows what will happen, the pages take a turn one cannot predict or anticipate. I gasped out loud several times in the reading and groaned when I finished the book knowing I would have to wait for the final book in the trilogy. I can’t wait to see how this trilogy ends.
I have one hardcover version of The Taker to give away to someone who comments on this blog post. If you’ve read The Taker (which I recommend before reading The Reckoning) or are simply interested in starting the series, I’d love to hear from you. I have one note of caution: these books are extremely graphic and violent, often in sexual ways. Fans of True Blood will enjoy the series, but if you don’t like rated “R” or “NC-17″ movies, you should not enter this contest. Please comment by Wednesday, August 15th, and good luck!