Title: The Taker
Author: Alma Katsu
Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal
Series: The Taker Trilogy (Book 1)
Publication Date: September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback, 464 Pages
ISBN-10: 1439197067 (Simon&Schuster)
ISBN-13: 978-1439197066 (Simon&Schuster)
Reviewed by: Kristie
True love can last an eternity . . . but immortality comes at a price.
On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural St. Andrew, Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting a quiet evening. Until a mysterious woman arrives in his ER, escorted by police—Lanore McIlvrae is a murder suspect—and Luke is inexplicably drawn to her. As Lanny tells him her story, an impassioned account of love and betrayal that transcends time and mortality, she changes his life forever. . . . At the turn of the nineteenth century, when St. Andrew was a Puritan settlement, Lanny was consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, and she will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for eternity.
Quick & Dirty: An engaging historical fiction novel with an interesting twist on the paranormal but the main relationship is a bit annoying and frustrating to deal with.
Opening Sentence: Goddamned freezing cold.
Interview with an Immortal would be the best way to describe this novel. Lanore McIlvrae has just killed the love of her life Jonathan St. Andrews. She is arrested and taken to the local hospital covered in blood. Doctor Luke Findley is a surgeon but he just happens to be there when Lanny is brought in. She pleads with him to let her escape. She cannot be in jail because of what she is. She demonstrates her healing ability to Luke but in order for him to fully understand her, she tells him her story.
She tells him of her life in Maine in the early 1800’s and of the beautiful boy, Jonathan, that she was obsessed with since she was a little girl. They become friends at the dismay of both their families, Jonathan’s family basically owns the town while Lanny is just a poor farm girl. Even at an early age Jonathan is showing signs of being a ladies man. There is something unnaturally beautiful about him and he knows it. Time passes, Lanny and Jonathan become young adults and Jonathan has slept with about every woman available and unavailable in town except for Lanny, whom he knows has obvious feelings for him.
When a town tragedy finally brings them together, Lanny is excited that she has finally won Jonathan’s affections. But as they are from different socioeconomic levels, they cannot be together or at least Jonathan won’t fight for her, and Lanore is sent away to Boston. Once in Boston, she is picked up off the streets by vultures, which use her youth and her naivety against her. She gets wrapped up in a dark supernatural world, where a man named Adair likes to turn people for his own amusement. Adair has his own story and hidden secrets that Lanore uncovers during her time with him. Then when Adair hears of Jonathan’s beauty he wants nothing more than to meet Lanny’s love. Lanny will stop at nothing to keep Jonathan away from Adair.
The worldbuilding in The Taker has potential for a mysterious new kind of immortality. The immortals have an interesting set of rules but really don’t really have too many downfalls. They can live forever with no pain but can only be hurt by their creator. The history of the world is researched and written cleverly for the time represented.
As for the characters they mostly fell flat. I had a really hard time feeling sorry for anyone. When I did start feeling bad for Lanore the feeling was ruined by her feelings for Jonathan. The title The Taker perfectly represents their relationship. Jonathan was always taking everything from Lanore, her feelings, sex, whatever she willing gave away for his affections but he never returned them. He would try to make her happy but two seconds later would diss her like she was some random stranger and completely hurt her feelings. Their relationship was just so annoying and frustrating, even though Lanore would acknowledge how she needed to forget him and move on, she just couldn’t. Luke pretty much just fell for Lanore, no questions asked. Adair was the most creepy and deceptive in the novel and I really got sucked into the story when he was on the page.
The story really just followed Lanore, Luke and Adair in a weird third person/first person change up depending on how the story flowed. Present day was pretty much third person but when Lanore and Adair told their stories it would change to first person. The story was predictable at times mainly with Lanore and Jonathan’s relationship, but the parts with Adair did leave me guessing what chaos was going to happen next.
The Taker is a decent historical novel even with the frustrating aspects of Jonathan and Lanore’s relationship. I would recommend this book for fans of Interview with a Vampire. Lanore’s actions weigh heavily on the next book in the trilogy, The Reckoning, and I can’t wait to find out what the repercussions are for her and Luke.
Adair cocked his head, and appraised me. “Oh, my dear, you lie. You would have given him up on him by now, if that were the case. But you love him still. I feel it here,” he said, as he touched my breast above my heart. His sparkling eyes, flecked with a note of pain, bored into me. “Bring him to me. I want to meet the man of amazing beauty who has fascinated out Lanore.”
“If this is about bedding him, it won’t do you any good. He’s not—like Alejandro or Dona.”
Jude blurted out a rude laugh, then covered his mouth quickly, and it seemed for a moment that Adair, bubbling with a spike of rage, might strike me. “You think I am only interested in this man to swive him? You think that is my only use for a man such as your Jonathan? No, Lanore, I want to meet him. I want to see why he is so deserving of your love. Perhaps we are like souls, he and I. I could use a new companion, a friend. I am sick of being surrounded by fawning sycophants. You’re all little more than servants—treacherous, scheming, demanding. I am sick of all of you.” Adair stepped away and slammed his empty glass down on the sideboard. “Besides, what complaints could you have about your life here? Your days are spent in pleasure and comfort. I’ve given you everything you could want, treated you as a princess. I’ve opened your world, haven’t I? Freed your mind from the limitations put there by those ignorant priests and ministers, and introduced you to secrets that learned men spend their lives seeking. All these things I’ve given you freely, my dear, haven’t I? Frankly, your ingratitude offends me.”
I bit my tongue, knowing nothing good would come of pointing out all that he’d put me through. What could I do except bow my head and murmur, “I’m sorry, Adair.”
The Taker Trilogy:
1. The Taker
FTC Advisory: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of The Taker. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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