Book Review: The Taker (The Taker Trilogy #1) by Alma Katsu

The Taker (The Taker #1)The Taker by Alma Katsu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:   On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural St. Andrew, Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting a quiet evening--until a mysterious woman, Lanore McIlvrae, arrives in his ER, escorted by police. Lanore 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, Lanny was consumed as a child by her love for the son of St. Andrew’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.

I bought this & then saw that CosmoUK regarded it as "Twilight for grownups". I'd read almost 100 pages of Twilight & bailed. I couldn't stand anything about the characters or story & the prose was nothing memorable. So, I set this aside. I loved the cover though & finally, having a wonder about what I'd read next, I picked this up with not very high expectations. I'm thrilled to say that I loved it! This is not a vampire/werewolf/witch/angel/fey or anything else that's popular paranormal right now, story! So do expand your idea of the paranormal for this one. Part of the fun in the reading is finding out WHAT exactly they are. The characters were mostly very engaging. Luke & Jonathan pale in comparison to Lanore & Adair but, that seemed understandable, or at least, forgivable, to me.

I must admit that I am not sure to whom the title is referring. Lanore, Jonathan & Adair are all a "Taker" in their own way. They're some bizarre three-sided die that reflect & cancel one another out. None are wholly evil or unsympathetic in the reading. It's a pretty twisted triangle & often I felt that Lanore & Adair were opposite sides of the same coin or that Jonathan & Adair were. I was amazed that Lanore bothered with Jonathan when there was nothing that was exceptional about him, save his looks. He wasn't particularly good, noble, self-sacrificing or able to commit to her, yet she was stuck on stupid where he was concerned. I didn't really see it as love. It seemed more a sick obsession for what you cannot have. If she hadn't realized that she never would, it may have looked differently but she was aware & she still tried to bend Jonathan to be with her no matter the cost, to her or him. As much as I wanted to sympathize with her plight, I really couldn't. She was the architect of her own misery & did so knowingly. That she had to be the one to release him from the fate she'd imposed on him & suffer the loss, seemed somehow, fitting.

And then there's Adair. I could go on about him for a week, so convoluted a character he is but I don't have that kind of time. Suffice it to say, I felt that this was very much a character study of he & Lanore. His cruelties are inexcusable & not cancelled out by his more tender moments & as I read, I wondered how he had become partly the monster that tormented him for so long. It was terribly sad & I waited to find out the answer. The answer came & while I felt a little let down by it, I think there must be more to the story than that (& not just because this is the first book in a series) because it felt too simple. Too easy. And probably I didn't want to believe that there's nothing of the early Adair we're told about that remains. Fingers crossed, I'll find out reading "The Reckoning".

I have since seen this book listed as perfect for fans of the previously-Twilight-fan-fiction "Fifty Shades of Grey" series. I haven't read that series but I will say this, The Taker is not an erotic novel. Sure, there's sex in all manner of variation but that's not the point of the story & it certainly isn't graphic or gratuitous. I am hard pressed to see that fans of that series are going to be sated reading "The Taker" if that is their expectation. This is more a literary historical gothic romance. Frankly, it's written so well, I think pimping it with either "Twilight" & the "Fifty Shades" series is a disservice. I grant that any author wants as many people reading their work as possible, but I can't be the only person who almost passed on this for the reference. So, if you're a woman who wasn't a Twilight fan (I know there have to be at least ten of us out here. :) ) & aren't looking for a book of non-literary erotica (which can be fabulous time passers), then you should read The Taker.

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