Wednesday 13 April 2011

The Taker by Alma Katsu

For Review: Random House/Century
Published 14 April 2011

From Amazon:

Have you ever loved someone so much that you'd do anything for them?

When Dr Luke Findley turns up to his hospital shift in the small town of St Andrews, Maine, he's expecting just another evening of minor injuries and domestic disputes. But instead, Lanore McIlvrae walks into his life - and changes it forever. For Lanny is a woman with a past...

Lanny McIlvrae is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. Hers is a story of love and betrayal that defies time and transcends mortality - and cannot end until Lanny's demons are finally put to rest. Her two hundred years on this earth have seen her seduced by both decadence and brutality - but through it all she has stayed true to the one true love of her life. Until now.

An unforgettable novel about the power of unrequited love to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, The Taker is an immortal love story on an epic scale...

The Taker was one of those books that captured my interest straight away - as soon as Lanore began to tell her story I was completely hooked. Spanning over hundreds of years, Lanny's story is one I can't seem to stop thinking about.  Haunting and mesmerising, it is a compelling story.

I loved Lanny.  Yes,  she was selfish at times and she also made some really bad decisions - ones that had severe consequences (and not just for her) but I couldn't help but really like her.  There is something very honest about her - she is aware that not all her actions have been 'right' but she constantly fights to do the right thing.  She never seemed to give in - I'm not sure I would have had the same strength in her situation and she comes across as fearless at times.

Jonathon was a character I couldn't completely make my mind up about. Unfortunately I could not see what Lanny saw in him. Perhaps he was beautiful and made you feel as if you were the only person in the world but I also found him selfish and constantly in the need for affection.  I couldn't decide if what Lanny felt for him was love or obsession. I did feel sorry for him in the end though - but I do feel he played a part in what happened to him.  His actions had consequences too and they gave Lanny the opportunity to do what she did. Adair on the other hand was terrifying - I found him so compelling even knowing exactly what he was capable of. He truly scared me yet I looked forward to his scenes and his interactions with Lanny.

I didn't feel as if I knew Luke all that well.  He came across as likeable though, and his actions towards Lanny are explained in his experiences at his mother's death.  I would like to get to know him better, and I thought his relationship with Lanny developed nicely. I'm interested to see how it progresses.

I loved Alma Katsu's writing - especially the sections where Lanny was narrating.  The story is cleverly edited together - by giving us Lanny's past as a story she tells Luke we are already aware of what has happened and this gives her story a sadness that would have been missing otherwise. I also liked how the book reads like fiction that happens to be about something supernatural rather than a 'supernatural fiction' book. This gives the story believability and, as such, there are quiet a few scenes that prove difficult to read. There seems to be an undercurrent of brutality that permeates Lanny's whole story - which would make me reluctant to recommend to younger readers of YA but adult readers will definitely find cross over appeal.

I was really pleased with how it ended.  I'm so glad there was not a cliffhanger! You get answers but there are enough things left unanswered to make me want to pick up the next book in the series. I understand it will be a trilogy and I'm looking forward to more of Lanny's story.


Jules said...

This does sound good and one for my wish list!

Great review


Anonymous said...

This one sounds interesting! It definitely going on my list of books I want to read!
Thanks for a lovely review! :)

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

Ok. I want this book. It looks so good! And the little clip has just sealed the deal.
Amazing review!

Unknown said...

Okay so this is a definite maybe. I need to know: Is this told in the same way as My Name is Memory? I.e. Going forwards and backwards through the story. I can't stand that method. I prefer flashbacks that are inside the main narrative like in Immortal Beloved.

Also does it sound very American in tone?

I Want To Read That said...

Becky - It starts in present day with Luke meeting Lanny and then she tells him her story. So you already are aware of bits of her story - but she tells him the story in order of how it happens. In between her telling her story we also get chapters showing what is happening in the present day. I haven't read My Name Is Memory (yet) so I'm not sure how it compares but I thought it worked really well.

I'm not sure how American in tone it is though. I'm never good at noticing these things:(


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