Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Stunning Debut

The Taker by Alma Katsu
Review by: Kathleen

This is just a truly mesmerizing, enthralling tale. From the ethereal cover to the majestic gold end papers you can sense that this book is going to be different, and it is! Author superlatives on the back cover include Jamie Ford, Kresley Cole, and M.J. Rose, to give you a taste of the novel’s broad appeal.

The Taker is the story of Lanore McIlvrae and her best friend Jonathan St. Andrew. It is indeed a friendship and a love that lasts for 200 years. Lanny, as Jonathan calls her, is in love with him, but his father is the founder of their Puritan settlement in Maine and Lanny’s family is working class, so their match would never suit. Lanny is capable of a deep and abiding love. Jonathan is but a pawn of his father and has a hard time differentiating between love and lust. The book is by turns historical novel and supernatural page turner but it is always compelling.

Dr. Luke Findley is an Emergency Room physician in a rural Maine hospital in the present day. Many of his evening shifts are very quiet. Luke is a rule follower, but one night the police escort Lanore, a murder suspect, in and Luke leaves behind his good sense and pragmatic notions and helps her escape, in fact takes her across the Canadian border in a friend’s car himself and never leaves her side. They are to become inseparable.  Lanore tells him the story of her life and travels with Jonathan and from the very beginning Luke is spellbound and senses the truth of her situation. The action of the book begins in Maine and moves to Hungary, Romania, Boston, and Paris. Day by day Luke learns the story of Lanny’s life across the centuries with and without Jonathan. Luke helps Lanny confront her past and move on in her life and the story is a fascinating roller coaster ride that spans the centuries. What diabolical forces conspire to make Lanny immortal and what forces changed her creator? What will Lanny do with the gift she has unwittingly received? Lanny is told that people in relationships are either takers or they are givers. Which one are you?

I haven’t read a page turner like this in years. It physically pained me to put the book down. This is Katsu’s first novel and she is hard at work on a sequel. For me it can’t come soon enough! Her prose flows like a river and always leaves the reader wanting more. 

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