Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Reckoning (The Fahllen #2) by M. Leighton

The Reckoning (The Fahllen #2)
By: M. Leighton
Release Date: October 31, 2011 (Available for Kindles only)
This Sister Says: Sensational, Spooky, Satisfying

Summary: Carson Porter thought she’d had one of her most challenging years to date when she began her transformation into a reaper, but little did she know her battle had only just begun. Faced with changes in her boyfriend, Derek, the fear of her sister being able to steal her powers through mirrors and having to fight her every step of the way to rescue even one soul, Carson was nearly ready to throw in the towel.  Only she can’t.  During a visit from an angel, Carson learns that her destiny is far more important than even she realized—and far more deadly.  Can she dig deep within herself for the strength and the perseverance that she’ll need to carry out her mission?  And will she have to do so without Derek or can she recover the man she’d once loved so desperately? Find out in the exciting conclusion of the Fahllen series, The Reckoning.

Why, oh why must all good things come to an end?! The Reckoning is the second and last book of The Fahllen series, and I, for one, am heartbroken. I fell so absolutely and completely in love with these characters and this world it’s hard for me to believe that there won’t be another one coming out for me to look forward to. But instead of lamenting about the fact that it’s over now, I want to celebrate the fact that it happened. There is so much that I loved about this book that I have to (again) break it down into a top five so I can gush over its brilliance without giving too much away. With that said, my review does contain some spoilers for The Reaping, so if you haven’t read that yet, 1.) What are you waiting for?! Read it now! It’s sooo good! And 2.) Don’t read any more of this review until you’ve read that! Seriously, go read The Reaping! You will not regret giving this series a try! Trying to pick my favorite things from this novel is like Sophie’s Choice, but these 5 aspects of the book are what made it un-put-downable for me and made me fall even more in love with this story.

1. Carson. She is absolutely one of my favorite protagonists of all time. She’s spunky, smart, and one of the most genuinely sweet characters in YA. The Reckoning picks up just a few months from where The Reaping left off, and it makes everything Carson went through in that novel look like a cakewalk. She is tested time and again, battling Grey for souls, coping with the weakening of her powers, and most heartbreakingly dealing with severe complications in her relationship with Derek. But through it all she remains strong and resilient and never gives up on what is right. What I love most about Carson is that inner strength she has, with all that she’s lost, and despite everything that gets put in her way, she chooses love and faith when it would’ve been easiest to succumb to despair and she becomes a heroine in every sense of the word.

2. The Villains. Fahl, Grey, Leah, and possibly another player are possibly the scariest and most evil bad guys around. Their scheming, manipulating, and malice make this tale into a deliciously dark one. The vivid images that Leighton uses to describe them make them so real to me I can easily imagine running into them in the dark of night (so I think I’ll stay indoors after the sun goes down). They cover every part of the evil spectrum and because I’m a little twisted I couldn’t get enough of them! I found them so intriguing and fascinating, and as much as I hated them for hurting my beloved Carson, I couldn’t help but want to see more of them. If you want to be seriously creeped out by an evil only God himself can destroy you have Fahl. If you want the soulless evil twin you have Grey. And if you want the sweet-best-friend-turned-into-a-parent-killing-evil-monster, you have Leah. Oh, Leah. These characters thoroughly enthralled me and made this book into something I just could not put down.

3. The Reapings. I love Love LOVED that we got to see Heaven’s Reaper work her magic in this book. And not only that, we get to see her battle Grey for these souls now that they’re on (somewhat) even footing. Seeing people in their last moments of life is a truly sad and horrifying thing to witness, but Leighton handles this subject matter masterfully and although it is at times extremely heartbreaking to observe the pain and suffering of those lives ending, it is also a beautiful thing to see when Carson succeeds in winning those souls. But Carson doesn’t always say or do the right thing, and we watch her struggle in her work and that is fascinating in itself. I loved being there with Carson and wondering if I would’ve made the same mistakes or do some of the brave things she did. I love stories that demand introspection, and this book definitely demanded it from me.

4. Love & Faith. With all the darkness and evil that surrounds our protagonist in this novel it would be easy for her to get sucked in to and overcome by all the nastiness and depravity therein. But Carson reminds us what is really important in life, even and especially when it’s not easy. Love saves us all. Be it God’s love, parental love, romantic love, or love between friends, we are shown that it’s always worth the risk of potential heartbreak. And faith in the people we love, and in ourselves, though at times excruciatingly hard to do, is essential to living a good life. With a novel dealing with supernatural things like reapers and characters like Fahl who is almost the devil himself, I found it wonderful that these were such blatant themes throughout the novel. There is an awful lot of darkness in this novel but that makes the moments of love and faith shine even brighter and is just another thing that makes M. Leighton stand out as an exceptional writer.

5. M. Leighton. Anyone who can write sentences like this one, “They wanted to curl their dark digits around my throat like a collar of death and squeeze until there was no life left in my body,” manage to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout an entire book, and explore the complexities of a teenage girl so fluidly and with as much insight as Leighton does deserves special attention. I get completely absorbed by her writing, so much so that 3 of the 4 books of hers that I’ve read, I’ve read in one sitting. Just like Ralph Bellamy said, “Everything ends. But there are always new beginnings.” And I cannot wait to read the new stories that will come from Leighton now that she has concluded the Fahllen series. She is a true talent and I know that she will keep bringing the world fantastic works of art, I just hope my little heart can take all the twists, shocks, and creatures that go bump in the night that go with it!

A good book has no ending. ~ R.D. Cumming
I find that quote especially fitting for this book. I can imagine the world of The Reaping/The Reckoning beyond the last words of their prologues and its characters and message will stick with me for a long time to come. It was so bittersweet reading those last few pages knowing that this series that I loved so much was ending, but I know that I am better for having read it and I am so grateful that I stumbled upon such an amazing talent like Ms. Leighton. It is available on Amazon, so if you haven’t yet, you should immediately go buy and read The Reckoning, which, in my opinion, is one of the most thrilling books out there in YA today.