Just another reason why I wouldn’t choose immortality …
Like any avid reader, I frequent goodreads.com. One of the only authors I follow on Goodreads is Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Trilogy (soon to be a saga or series or whatever more than three books/anything is called) and The Seven Realms series. Anyway, being that I follow her, her activity uploads to my feed. One book she suggested or had read herself was The Taker by Alma Katsu. I thought The Taker was just a single book, but it turns out, it is part of a trilogy. I actually finished reading the second book, The Reckoning, but the third book does not come out until 2014, so says Goodreads.
Anyway, these books follow the lives of a few characters, mainly Luke Findley, Lanore (Lanny) McIlvrae, and Adair (I’m pretty sure his last name was never mentioned. The minor characters consist of Jonathan St. Andrew, Alejandro, Jude, Tilde, and Donatello, who typically goes by Dona.
The books are categorized as historical fiction, more fiction than historical. Historical in the sense that the story, at least in the first book, is chronological, as Lanny tells her story. The second book is set more in the present, but it tends to go back and forth between past and present as the characters, mainly Lanny and Adair recount their past experiences.
As you may have surmised from the title of this post, there is some immortality in this book. All the characters mentioned above are immortal except for Luke. Adair was the very first to become immortal having been fed an elixir of life. As the years have gone by, Adair has “collected” those who he feels will be beneficial in his conquest for power. In acquiring his companions/minions, Adair sought out people who were capable of being ruthless. As far as the audience knows, Tilde killed her husband and children in order to be with another richer man and Alejandro having sacrificed his sister in order to save his own life. I don’t believe Dona’s story has been told.
In this universe, when each person becomes immortal by drinking the elixir, whoever feeds the person the elixir is the only person who can harm the recipient. For example, Adair was the only person who physically harm and kill Lanny, Jude, Alej, Tilde, Dona, and all the others he turned. And Adair was a tyrant. He took pleasure in harming those he so-called for, but Alej, Tilde, and Dona had been with Adair for so long, they seemed to have forgotten any other way of life. Lanny on the other hand, wasn’t going to endure Adair’s tyrannical ship anymore. She launched a plan to imprison Adair since he couldn’t be killed.
Two centuries passed before Adair was released from his prison into modern day 2010, and you could imagine, he was vengeful. Using something similar to an empathy link, Adair finds Jude in modern day Boston, and is eager to find Lanny. However, he has to spend a considerable amount of time getting acquainted to everything that is modern day 21st century: cars, cell phones, computers, etc.
In the meantime, during the two hundred years that Adair is imprisoned and shortly he is freed, Lanny is constantly on the run. Every day she is constantly wary that Adair will be freed from his prison and come after her, and after he is released, she panics and flees her newly comfortable life with Luke. There’s more to that story and the book, but I’m not gonna talk anymore about the plot. Now on to the point of this post:
Even in this reality, immortality still sucks. When you became immortal, you couldn’t starve to death, drown, you didn’t technically need to sleep; you were never sick, couldn’t even feel pain unless inflicted upon you by the person who fed you the elixir. If you were harmed by someone other than your ‘creator’, you healed almost instantaneously no matter what you infliction may be. (The book didn’t mention things like being blown up or being decapitated.) I think it sucks more than being a vampire or a warlock (Mortal Instruments). At least as a vampire, you can kill yourself: burn up in the daylight, stab yourself with a wooden stake, maybe rip out your own heart. Warlocks and other immortal creatures are killed in the Mortal Instruments series when they’ve gone wayward, but here, once you drink the elixir of life, only one person can kill you, can harm you. That may be a relief, but what would happen if the only person who wanted to kill you was killed by the person who ‘created’ them? For example, Savva was another one of Adair’s minions, but he was released when Adair had no more further use for him. Lanore comes across Savva soon after she imprisoned Adair, and they traveled together throughout developing northern Africa. After Adair is released, Lanny seeks out help from Savva who asks Lanny upon her departure that if she ever has the ill fortune to run into Adair again to ask Adair to end Savva’s life.
Also, in the second book, the reader was able to view the story from Adair’s point-of-view, and he told the story of how he threw a man in a ‘hole’ where no one would ever find him, to be buried alive for the rest of eternity. When I read that, I inwardly cringed. Talk about Hell on earth.
As I mentioned in my previous post about immortality, if it could be a reality, it could be awesome if you made it so. There’s so much you could do and see, so much good that you could offer to the world with acquired knowledge over centuries, but there’s also the fact that everyone you would care for would grow old and pass away. Because honestly, if you truly loved someone, even if you wanted to be with them for all time, subjecting them to the possibility of an eternity of Hell.
Lanny had said something about how the elixir made your body impervious to harm but not your mind.
So once again, if it was ever possible, say no to immortality.