• Historical Fiction
  • General Fiction and Women Writers
  • YA Fiction
  • Suspense and Thrillers
  • Memoirs and Non Fiction
  • Classics and Mashups

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"The Taker" by Alma Katsu ~ Irresistible!

Alma Katsu's "The Taker," #1 in her Taker Trilogy, is a thoroughly irresistible book.  It takes you by surprise when you think you know it all and have read it all.  It captures your imagination when you think you know what's coming on the next page, and it turns your mind around when you think you've figured it all out in the end!  This is a novel that has everything and more than you could expect from a gothic.  You haven't experienced everything from New England's dark past...Maine and Boston still hold mysteries that are incomprehensible.  You may want to pick up "The Taker" before you read Ms Katsu's newest book in her series, "The Reckoning!"

Summary :
True love can last an eternity . . . but immortality comes at a price. . . .
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.

Particulars of the Book :
Publisher:  Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster
Pages:  436  (Original hardback edition)
Genre:  Paranormal Fantasy/Historical Fiction/Gothic Novel
Author:  Alma Katsu Website:  http://almakatsu.com
Purchase the book here:  Barnes and Noble

About Alma Katsu :
Alma Katsu lives outside of Washington, DC with her husband, musician Bruce Katsu. Her debut, The Taker, a Gothic novel of suspense, has been compared to the early work of Anne Rice and Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian. The novel was named a Top Ten Debut Novel of 2011 by the American Library Association and has developed an international following. The Reckoning, the second book in the trilogy, was published in June 2012. The Taker Trilogy is published by Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster.
Ms. Katsu is a graduate of the Master's writing program at the Johns Hopkins University and received her bachelor's degree from Brandeis University, where she studied with John Irving. She also attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.
Prior to publication of her first novel, Ms. Katsu had a long career as a senior intelligence analyst for several US agencies.

The Dame's Review :

Not since Anne Rice have I read such an original book combining the paranormal and the gothic.  This is a New England horror novel with such a lush and gorgeous bent that it was difficult to tear myself away from it.  Alma Katsu makes it nearly impossible for me to have the courage to review her work.  I think she will be one of those authors we rush to read every time a new book  hits the stands.  Her intelligence bleeds through her every chapter, and the suspense builds as she lays out a story that plays like a movie such as "The Crucible" or "The Scarlet Letter."  This is a book that's laid layer upon layer. You can't help falling in love with her characters.  Simply a spell-binding book.

"The Taker" sat in my "to-be-read" pile for a long time.  The cover didn't excite me and I wasn't drawn to it until my daughter called and told me I just had to read it.  I pulled it out with some reluctance because it wasn't top on my list this week.  Once I began to read, I was mesmerized.  As I've said at the beginning of this post, it was thoroughly unexpected from the beginning.

The love story that anchors the book is so deep and real it will rake your heart with empathetic pain and reminescence of your first and true love.  There is such a depth of feeling Alma Katsu can convey that it's sterling. It rings throughout her book.  Scenes of violence are subtle; capped by the lushness of mystery and beauty but still shuttering to read.  I think this is the sort of genius that the early Anne Rice books showed. 

Her character, Lanore, is naturally brimming with darkness and multi-layers of personality.  She's complex which makes the story so enticing.  Lanore, a form of the french "le noire" or black; i.e., darkness...is a girl/woman who is both innocent and rich in dark hearted desires and plottings.  She's ever the wonderful protagonist because her underlying "evil" is so subtle!  Easy to adore, she's also a character with redeeming qualities that make her one you'll want to protect.

Ms Katsu is a born writer.  This book is no soft historical fiction or gothic paranormal.  This is way above your average book in this genre.  It's a work of art; the type of book that stands head and shoulders above the common one being written these days.

Highly recommended.  If it's in your TBR stack pull it out immediately!  If you haven't already bought it, run to your nearest shop or go online.  This is one you can't miss this year.  And, I'm not stopping here. I'm off to read and review "The Reckoning."

5 eternal stars




Deborah, Thank you so much for the wonderful review. It really lifted my spirits--I'm in Northern Virginia, in the middle of a huge power outage and heat wave, not in the best of moods, so coming across your review was quite a thrill. Can't wait to see what you think of The Reckoning!
best, Alma


I haven't finished it yet, but can't wait. I savor every scene. This book really is a descriptive work of art. I revel in Lanny's thoughts.. she is a wonderful character. I love that Alma left a note here! Hi Alma!
Can't wait to finish the book and read The Reckoning. Great review.


I thought of Anne Rice too when I read this one. I really liked it and just got The Reckoning last week. Can't wait to dive into it!


Hi, Alma! Thanks for your note. We're all sweltering under this heat attack, aren't we? This past couple of days I was tucked safely in the air conditioning reading "The Taker" so I was sittin' in the lap...as they say! LOL Makes me so happy that you enjoyed your review. Others evidently are dying for your book, as well! Congratulations!


Hi Deborah,
This book was amazing! Can't wait to read the sequel!

Share your thoughts!

Blogaholic Designs”=