In a nutshell, The Taker by Alma Katsu is an epic love story and even epic is not big enough of a word to describe this book. It’s already been released in the UK and has gone on to its second printing since publication. With its imminent release due in the US, I am certain that this book will achieve the same amount of success, if not more over there. I actually got this book for review a while ago now and also saw it at BEA (Book Expo America) being handed out to book bloggers. Although the main character is twenty years old (kind of) , I would not consider this a Young Adult book, rather an adult book that crosses over into the YA world, a novel that will appeal to older readers within the Young Adult market. When I first started reading this book, I expected it to be a straightforward love story that spanned across time and place but of course there had to be a twist to the tale and I hadn’t quite figured out what that might be. Never in a million years, did I imagine the story would be about unrequited love, the kind of love that is unfulfilling and borders on obsession, the kind of love that has the potential to destroy everything. Here’s the synopsis:
“True love can last an eternity . . . but immortality comes at a price. . . .
On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her . . . despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.
Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny 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 all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley.
Part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.”
How can you not want to read this book after a description like that?! The Taker is narrated by Lanore or “Lanny” and the book flits between the past and the present quite nicely. We learn of her history as she relays it to Luke, a doctor who is treating her in the ER after she is brought in covered in blood. The reader is taken on a journey through Lanny’s life and her everlasting love for Jonathan, the boy she fell in love with as a child. The words trials and tribulations don’t quite cut it and to be quite honest, I’m struggling to find the right words to describe the book. It was a fantastic read and one that lingers for some time afterwards, indeed I am still thinking about it. The book cover, both in the UK and the US is beautiful and the content is astounding, especially when you consider that this is a debut novel. That part blows me away. The Taker really captivated me and I was thrilled to discover that this is the first book in a trilogy.
What I found the most interesting was the title of the book. When I read a book, I play a little game with myself which consists of trying to figure out why the title was chosen in the first place. Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it takes a little investigation. When I realised why the title was used, I thought it was incredibly clever because whilst you might assume that it relates to one character, I don’t think it does. I think each of the characters could be considered a taker in one way or another and I can’t wait for you to discover that for yourself.
I thought all the characters were wonderful but my favourite (and you might find this strange) was Adair. I thought he was wonderfully complex and I suspect that we still don’t know everything about him. He may be cruel and somewhat sadistic at times but I believe he has the capacity to love. I’m still trying to figure out what it means to Adair though and whether it is really love or not. Uzra was another favourite as there was something ethereal about the way she floated in and out of scenes like a ghost. I also admire the fact that she never submitted, she never went willingly. I realise that might sound a little cryptic but I’m trying not to give everything away.
Lanny’s love for Jonathan was steadfast and uncompromising. I think she was blind to his flaws and this most certainly did them both no favours in the long run.
I had a feeling I would like this book but it turned out to be a completely different story to the one I was expecting and you know what? I think I loved it more because of that fact. It was interesting and different and definitely not predictable. This book is epic in proportion and I really hope to see it on the big screen one day or even as a TV series as it deserves this kind of recognition. I’m passing on my copy to my sister and buying a hardback for myself. This is an astonishing debut novel and like I said, the first of a trilogy. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where the story is going and feel like I’m on this journey with the characters. There’s no turning back now and I wouldn’t want to anyway, I’m definitely here for the duration.
The Taker was published on 14th April, 2011 in the UK and will be published on 6th September, 2011 in the US. To find out more about Alma, please click here to visit her website.