Book Review: The Reckoning

THE RECKONING | Yrsa Sigurdardottir
(Children’s House #2)
02.12.2019 | Minotaur Books
Rating: 4/5 stars


Vaka sits alone on the cold steps of her school. No one has come to pick her up and the school doors have long since locked behind her. Her mind is racing with possibilities of what will happen to her if her father doesn’t show up soon. When a girl from class approaches her, Vaka can feel a wave of unease pass through her body. Sigrun has an unusual appearance and is known for keeping to herself. She lives just beyond the back of the school and offers her house phone to Vaka to call her parents in exchange for a possibility of friendship. As Vaka passes through the doors of Sigrun’s house she walks into a cold fate. This is the last afternoon Vaka will ever be seen alive.

Detective Huldar and Children’s House psychologist, Freyja, are both feeling the wrath of their mistakes in a recent case. Huldar has been stripped of his departmental leadership role and assigned to work a case about a letter found in a time capsule from a local school. The letter appears to be a list of targets. A list of people a young child wanted dead. Calling on Freyja to glean some insight into the letter, the duo soon find themselves surrounded by body parts and missing people. Everything is leading back to what happened to Vaka so many years ago.

What beautiful children you’ve got. Make sure you take good care of them. There are people out there who might betray them, as you know only too well.

THE RECKONING is book two in Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s Children’s House series and picks up shortly after where book one left readers. Detective Huldar and Children’s House psychologist, Freyja, are facing the consequences of the outcome of their previous case. They have both lost leadership roles from their jobs and have been assigned mundane cases to work on. Freyja is convinced they should never work together again, but when a new case falls into Huldar’s lap, he is soon on the phone calling in her assistance. Little do they both know, the case surrounding this letter will be one they will never forget.

Sigurdardottir does not shy away from gritty subject material or scenes within her books. THE RECKONING has quite a few scenes that will make you cringe, but I assure you that they benefit the case at hand and are written in a way that blends them seamlessly with the story. There is not gore for gore’s sake with Sigurdardottir. All of her plot threads serve a purpose and these particular scenes demonstrate not only the monstrous people that live in our society, but those who also choose to take revenge after something horrific has happened to them.

You’ve seen your last firework display. Go ahead and celebrate the New Year with champagne. There won’t be any more once you’re in your coffin.

Much like this book’s predecessor, THE LEGACY, Sigurdardottir has given her readers another intricately woven story. There are several plot lines happening: the case of the letter, the release of Vaka’s killer, severed body parts popping up at seemingly random homes, and a family left broken by a murderer. While each of these storylines stands alone, they are all somehow connected, and it is that connecting revelation that drives the reader to flip through pages late into the night with THE RECKONING.

How do I sum up my feelings about such a powerful book? Let’s go with: I had hunches, they were wrong. I had questions, they got answered. And that ending? I didn’t see it coming!

If you haven’t yet picked up THE LEGACY, I highly recommend starting the series in order with that book. While THE RECKONING could potentially serve as a standalone, the benefit of reading in order will help the reader with background on the main characters of Huldar and Freyja. You can check out my review for THE LEGACY here.

Amazon| Book Depository

Amazon| Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

Disclosure: Thank you to Minotaur Books for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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