Aug 6, 2012

Review: The Taker by Alma Katsu

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.

I guess I really didn't know what to expect when I took on this extraordinary novel. I know one thing for sure ~ I received more than I bargained for, in only the best way possible, of course. The Taker raises so many questions, emotions, and thoughts ~ the concept of immortality, the wonder of morality, and the tragedies of love.

Lanore... How do I describe my feelings toward the main character? I can't really say that I like her so much as I pity her. She's loyal to a fault and will do anything to demonstrate her devotion to Jonathan, even when it comes to her own, his, or other's demise. As long as she has him in her life, she doesn't seem to care too much about the rest. She isn't necessarily a bad person, but a woman who loves too deeply and finds herself in a horrible situation. She is extremely selfish but selfless at the same time, a complex character who surprises the reader with an odd mix of nobility and wickedness.

**Side note ~ I think Lanore is the taker. There are multiple "takers" in this novel, but she is the ultimate one. She takes more than she gives, even when it comes to Jonathan, the love of her life. Whether it is conscious manipulation or mostly just the way circumstances fall, Lanore seems to inevitably cause destruction. Almost every move she makes is to prove her love and loyalty, but it always, always seems to go wrong.**

The story goes back and forth from present day to the 1800s. Luke is an interesting diversion in the book, adding someone readers can relate to in the present. Also, he sees Lanny in a different light than the other characters seem to in the book. He views her as a woman full of a thousand memories and experience, while the other characters treat her as naive, coy, and non-threatening, even after she lives a few years with Adair and his never-ending exploits. We get to see Lanore through an awed stranger's eyes, giving readers a different feel for her presence. It's almost as if she's two completely different characters ~ Lanny of the Past and Lanny of the Present.

The writing style of this novel is incredibly descriptive and the tone is always perfectly set. I was always hopeful for Lanore, but at the same time I knew, despite her naivete, what was really happening to her based on the author's choice of words.

And the storyline... my goodness, the story itself... It blew my mind. Immortality is usually viewed as a coveted gift. Everyone seems to want to live forever, but after reading The Taker, I promise, you'll think twice. And the concept of love ~ this book doesn't have the hearts and flowers kind of love. Every relationship Lanore experiences is twisted and on the verge of devastating. I felt sorry for her, but in a way, it was kind of refreshing. Not everyone is meant for happily ever after; some people have lifetimes of bad luck.

However, there are two more books in this trilogy, so maybe Lanore will finally fill that void she's had since the day she met Jonathan. I haven't decided if she deserves it, but I think three lifetimes of wanting are more than enough.

This isn't a happy, light read (although it does have it's moments) ~ if you're looking for a complex story with a depth that is guaranteed to get your mind, heart, and soul going, read The Taker.

Definitely moving on to The Reckoning (The Taker Trilogy #2).

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Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

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