Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Taker by Alma Katsu

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.
Part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.  
This novel is not for the faint of heart. The Taker is the first in a trilogy by Alma Katsu.

Well written, well researched, descriptive and a little frightening, Alma tells the story of Lanny, a young girl from the 1800s, who is in love with the town founder’s handsome son Jonathan, and what she does to keep him.

Luke - a present day doctor from the town that Lanny once grew up in - plays the role of the listener, and I’d venture to say that he’s inconsequential to the story; though I’m sure in the remainder of the trilogy he will become important.

I was not a fan of Lanny, she was obsessed with Jonathan - who has very few redeeming qualities, other than his face - and mislabels her feelings for him as love. Her character seemed a bit creepy and self-serving. Her world resolves around Jonathan - who was promiscuous and hardly courageous - and she would do just about anything to have him. I’m not entirely sure what anyone in the town saw in him, other than his good looks.

Adair, the villan of the story, is quite intriguing. Upon meeting him, the story takes a turn for the disturbing. For fear of giving away spoilers, I wouldn’t delve into the mystery around Adair, however, reading his storyline was probably the most engrossing part of the novel for me.

The thing that irked me the most was the improper use of love and sex among the characters. Though I believe this is on purpose, obsession was labeled as love and sex was used as a terrible weapon. It was a disturbing theme that ran though the entire story and not quite my cup of tea.

I think the mystery of the book and Lanny’s quick thinking will appeal to a number of readers. The story has a strong conclusion, while still leaving it open for future books.

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