Lanore McIlvrae thought she had it all planned out. After imprisoning Adair in the walls of the old castle where he had kept her prisoner, Lanore finally feels safe. With her latest partner, Luke, she is traveling the globe, selling off pieces of art that she has procured over several lifetimes. But something is amiss, for Adair has somehow escaped his prison, where he’s had a long time to think about Lanore’s hideous betrayal and his undying passion for her. How could his plans have gone wrong? Once he promised himself to her forever, in a body that she adored, but his cruelties were too many and too violent, leaving him in the darkness for many years. Now he’s on the hunt once again, and Lanore sets out alone to find Adair’s other consorts in an effort to discover the best way to hide from him forever. But the Adair that emerges from his prison is feeling very different than the man who was once lured into the trap. All of his feelings for Lanny have intensified exponentially, and he is a man at war with himself, trying to figure out if he wants to torture and kill her or make her his lover forever. Wicked and corrupt, Adair gathers his cronies to ensnare Lanny, where he will have her trapped, just as she had him trapped. What will become of this man, newly changed but destructively bent? And what can Lanny do when the sight of Adair turns her flesh cold but her body wanting? In this sequel to The Taker, Alma Katsu gives us a taste of the impenetrable life of the immortals and forces a climax that will leave readers hungering for the last and final installment of this series.
Alma Katsu doesn’t play around with her readers. She considers them smart, savvy, and bold enough to explore the depths of emotion that she delves into in her books. This book was a surprise to me, for although I knew that Adair couldn’t stay entombed forever, his attitude when he was released caused me to wonder what exactly had been running through his mind while he was enshrouded by darkness. Adair is a truly evil man, one who thinks of how best to use his minions and then toss them aside once they’ve fulfilled their duties. Now he’s on the hunt, and Lanore knows it. She can hear the shrieking in her brain that tells her that he is free, and that’s enough to send her flying to destinations halfway around the globe in search of a way to destroy him forever.
But despite Adair’s wish to tear Lanore limb from limb, there’s a stronger desire in him to capture her heart and make her love him. A new side to Adair, that’s for sure. But his motives still seem sinister, and when he wants something, nothing can stop him. For Adair, to love is to give up power, something that he refuses to do and something that he cannot do easily. His love is like a leech, sucking and swallowing souls whole and leaving the remnants behind. As he calculates just how to trap his supposed soul mate, a vicious streak comes out that binds another unwitting human to him forever, but this time, the human can manipulate things for Adiar that he never thought possible.
Adair has been trapped in his prison for many hundreds of years. When he escapes, the world is very different than the one he left behind. There are vehicles without horses traversing the roads, and people carry phones with them at all times. What, Adair wonders, are these phones for? Let’s not even get started with what happens the first time Adair sees the Internet. He is a man out of time, an escapee who will have what he wants, despite the cost, be it large sums of money or human life. Lanore is not safe, and knowing this, she leaves Luke to be free and not in danger like herself.
Lanny has changed too. Once a fine thief and seducer, she has narrowed her proclivities to furnishing art houses all over the world with her treasures and finding a second life with Luke. She is still, and always, grieving over Jonathan, but this hurt hasn’t prevented her from loving again, though the love is unconventional. She is a truth seeker and wishes to live in the light, but due to the foolhardy trust that she places in a band of old friends, she finds herself in a place where no one can help her and where she is at Adair’s mercy. A deliciously creepy and haunting atmosphere comes chiming out of this novel, bursting forth with violence, cruelty, and sabotage. Will Lanny ever escape the torments that her lover and torturer have for her?
I found this second installment of The Taker Trilogy to be just as breathtaking as the first, and was on tenterhooks watching Lanny being led about by her feelings, only to discover that she had been duped more viciously than I had expected. But there’s another book on the way, and I, for one, am rooting for Lanny and Luke to take down this hellion of a man—though it’s bound to come at a steep price. If you haven’t read these books, you are truly missing out on something great. Highly Recommended!