The Reckoning by Alma Katsu
Just finished reading The Reckoning by Alma Katsu which continues the story of unrequited loved started in The Taker. Once again we are taken into Lanore’s world and given a taste of the immortal life she leads. I really enjoyed this book. As with the first book we have a subtle mix of the modern and the historic. The voice of Lanore is once again compelling and I must admit that I found myself liking her much more in this novel than in the first. I also really enjoy Katsu’s writing style. Her writing flows easily and appears to be effortless, which I’m quite sure isn’t the case.
At the start of this novel we immediately pick up with Lanore and Luke as they enjoy an evening out – only to be spoiled as Lanny is suddenly overcome with the absolute conviction that Adair is free! I’m not giving anything away by that little revellation as it is already mentioned on the jacket. Unfortunately in writing this review it will of course immediately give away spoilers for book one and to be honest I would advise anybody who wants to read this story to pick up The Taker first. So, don’t read on if you don’t want spoilers!
In this novel Adair manages to escape his incarceration and is hellbent on revenge. Revenge on the two people who entombed him after he had given them the gift of immortality, Jonathan and Lanny, but more so Lanny who he had also bestowed his love upon (albeit one of a bit of a twisted variety). Now we start a dance of sorts as Lanny and Adair try to outwit each other not helped in Adair’s case by having missed over 200 yearsof development which he now has to become familiar with. We once again come face to face with some of the other immortals who have over the years split apart and spread out in the world to lead lives without the tyranny of their former leader. As with the first novel we get to look back at past events, which I found really interesting and entertaining. We spend some more time with Adair and get to take a look at his earlier years and we get to travel back and look at some more of Lanny’s story once she became free of the tyranny of Adair.
I think that this novel definitely added more to the characters involved. Lanny showed a more compassionate side – putting other’s feelings before her own but the most surprising change is in the form of Adair (nothing more on that though). He really is quite a despicable character, in fact he’s brilliant in his cruel and arrogant behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, I can see he’s not very nice but I like reading a well formed bad sort of character.
We get a little bit more insight into the beginnings of the magic that helps to make the immortals. We explore the early start and we also delve a little bit into life after death.
What I was surprised about is that this is one of the few books about immortals where the grass doesn’t necessarily look greener on the other side of the fence. It’s not the sort of book that makes you think ‘what if’ or make you want to recreate and drink that sludgy looking portion to give you the secret of longevity. Things are definitely not as rosy as they seem when you get to live this long. You don’t have the opportunity to be a real part of a family, to have your own name, to watch your children growing older or to form any really meaningful friendships. Basically it’s a fairly lonely and secretive existence spent running from place to place to avoid recognition or unanswerable questions. Also, the characters that Adair chose to embrace, were all damaged in some respect due to their prior history and being immortal doesn’t improve that fact, they have years and years to dwell on their own errors and dream of redemption.
The only criticism I would level would be that although we visit a lot of different places in this story I don’t feel that any of them were particularly well drawn. If not for the headings at the start of various chapters telling you ‘Paris’ or ‘London’ , etc, I’m not sure that it would have been noticable. But, having said that I imagine the author was trying not to go into overly lengthy descriptions which would have bulked the book out and also distracted from the tale as it unfolds.
All in all a very enjoyable read. The only drawback is the long wait for the final instalment!