Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: The Taker by Alma Katsu

Title: The Taker by Alma Katsu
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: September 6, 2011
ISBN: 9781439197059
Pages: 448

       In a sleepy New England town, a sheriff drops off a confessed murderer to a hospital for a physical exam before imprisonment.  Dr. Luke Findley is excited yet wary upon seeing the diminutive young patient - nothing exciting happens this far out.  The young lady admits to committing the murder but swears she had good reason and even shows him something unbelievable.  In exchange for helping her escape, the good doctor can hear her mysterious story and learn about her mysterious skills.

     Lanny McIlvrae needs to get away from Maine as soon as possible.  Now that she has convince Luke to help her escape she fulfills her promise to fill him in on her past. Starting from her first meeting with Jonathan St. Andrew which sparks her eternal, unrequited obsession.  For years she pined for him while he tom catted around town even cleaning up the mess caused by one of his more serious entanglements.  So you can imagine her joy when Jonathan finally looked at her as a woman.  Their short interlude leads to a pregnancy, causing her parents to pack her off to a convent till it was born.  Instead of going to the convent, she decides to roam the streets of Boston where she bumps into the charming Adair and his motley crew. 

  Gradually she gets swept in to their world of excess and debauchery and becomes Adair's favorite.  A sudden illness requires extreme action from Adair and Lanny comes to learn of the true bond that keeps this "family" together.  When Adair hears of Jonathan's renowned good looks, he pesters Lanny to invite him to join the household.  Only after Jonathan becomes part of the household does Lanny ascertain Adair's true reason for seeking Jonathan's company.  She and Jonathan imprison Adair and flee creating a life for themselves together and separately across the centuries leading to the events where she meets Luke.

The Taker, Alma Katsu's debut novel,  is part History Channel and part SyFy Channel.  It's a cool play on the concept of immortality that doesn't include vampirism or other typical supernatural creatures.  The villain was greatly developed although I wish the other housemates were more developed. Lanny's devotion/obsession with Jonathan was kind of annoying though.  She still couldn't get that even with centuries passing he wasn't that interested in her and had trouble letting go. 

*The review copy was provided by the publisher Gallery Books in exchange for my honest opinion.*

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