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.
Before I begin my review you need to understand one thing: there is no way I can possibly put into words how truly amazing, heart wrenching, and breathtaking this book is! The Taker by Alma Katsu has literally left me speechless! The novel focuses on Lanny, a mysterious woman who possesses the gift (or curse) of immortality. In an attempt to convince an ER doctor to help her escape from the police, Lanny recounts the story of her life growing up in a settlement during the 1800s, and the love she was consumed with for her childhood friend, Jonathan. Mixing just the right amount of history, magic, and suspense, my time spent curled up with The Taker was definitely one of my biggest reading highs ever!
So, what was it about The Taker that I found so enrapturing? Well, without a doubt one of the best things that The Taker has going for it is Alma Katsu’s writing. Through her words I felt not only that I was hearing about Lanny’s life, but also reliving it. Katsu also has a way of entangling her readers so much in the story that Lanny’s heartbreak quickly becomes your own. For example, within the first two chapters of the book you learn that Lanny has just killed the love of her life. Even though this tidbit of information is revealed WAY ahead of time, I still had to hold back the tears when Lanny recounts her final days with Jonathan at the end of the book. Lanny’s pain felt so real that I felt it consume me as well!
One of the other reasons I fell head over heels in love with The Taker was the enriching cast of characters that came to life while I was reading. Adair and his followers were the perfect villains, causing me to shudder in anticipation of something terrible to come whenever their names showed up on the page. They reminded me of a pack of lions waiting in the shadows to pounce on anything that moved!
It was also refreshing for once to have a protagonist and love interest who were anything but perfect! Despite her better judgement, Lanny makes a string of bad decisions throughout the course of the book which caused me to cringe on more than one occasion. Regardless of the lack of sympathy I had for her character, I couldn’t help but hope that her life would turn out for the best by the end. As well, while Jonathan may have been blessed with perfect looks, his flaws quickly come to light through the course of Lanny’s narration. Even with Lanny’s unfaltering devotion to Jonathan throughout the novel, I couldn’t help but think that he was undeserving of her love (a sentiment strangely shared with me by Adair, the villain!).
I could probably ramble on for hours about the merits of this book, but I think the only way to fully understand the magic of The Taker is to go and pick up a copy for yourself! In fact, I challenge everyone to read The Taker and not like it! After finishing it, The Taker has now become one of my all time favourite books! Thankfully, this is only the first book in a trilogy because I don’t want Lanny’s story to end!
Rating: 5 Stars!