Review: The Taker by Alma Katsu

The Taker by Alma KatsuHow did I get it: The library.

Why did I read it: I’ve been thinking about reading this book for a long time, and finally got around to it.


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.

Review:  I can’t remember the last time I’ve read such a compelling work of historical fiction with or without a supernatural twist. Or a book about not very good people because most of the characters in this book are takers, incapable of understanding or giving real love, but constantly and selfishly demanding it in spades.

In my opinion, Lanore was no exception although in many ways she suffers the most for the love she has that is not returned. All of the details of Lanore’s past were great. Her inability to understand the consequences of most of her actions or to take responsibility for many of them until too late was also really interesting. At the end of the book, I still wasn’t sure if I cared much for her, but I’m anxious to learn more about her.

Adair was probably the best part of the book for me because he was such a fantastic villain. He was so viciously unapologetic for being what he was. He’s an alchemist with a great deal of dark charisma like that of Bluebeard, Rasputin, or Lestat. Although it must be said that Adair is much less sympathetic than Lestat who I tend to think of as more of an anti-hero. I really liked that he had no delusions about what he deserved. He just didn’t care while everyone else was constantly trying to pretend they weren’t nearly as bad as they were. I also liked most of the minor characters, particularly Jude.

It definitely takes awhile for The Taker to gather steam, and I definitely preferred events set in the past to those set in present day, but this was a hard book to put down. The writing was seductive and hypnotizing The historical plot of the book as well as the twists were terrific too. I definitely didn’t expect the one for Adair, although in hindsight, I should have seen it coming.

I hate having any complaints because I definitely enjoyed The Taker but I did think a lot of what happened with Jonathan after Adair got glossed over and a lot of what happened towards the end of the book seemed a bit rushed. I also am not sure I felt a real emotional connection to most of the main characters so much as a reluctant tolerance. Lanore is oftentimes a victim but certain actions on her part made it difficult for me to have much sympathy for her. I definitely couldn’t understand why Luke helped Lanore at all nor do I believe in their feelings for one another. Furthermore, The Taker really isn’t about the healing or restorative power of genuine love freely given, but the toxic dangers of love unrequited so I found any love in it to be very, very suspect. I’ll be interested to see how that theme develops and changes, but I sort of wish Luke wasn’t going to be a part of it.

In conclusion, fascinating. The only book I can really think to liken this to is Wild Acre by Philippa Gregory, which I might end up re-reading once I’m done with the sequel to this book, The Reckoning.

How I would rate it: 4 out of 5 stars.


About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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One Response to Review: The Taker by Alma Katsu

  1. Alpa says:

    I like the cover and story both 🙂

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