Tuesday, March 27, 2012

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Taker by Alma Katsu

Synopsis (from Simon and Schuster): 
True love can last an eternity . . . but immortality comes at a price.

On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural St. Andrew, Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting a quiet evening. Until a mysterious woman arrives in his ER, escorted by police—Lanore McIlvrae is a murder suspect—and Luke is inexplicably drawn to her. As Lanny tells him her story, an impassioned account of love and betrayal that transcends time and mortality, she changes his life forever. . . . At the turn of the nineteenth century, when St. Andrew was a Puritan settlement, Lanny was consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, and she 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 eternity. 

My thoughts:  Normally I do not read many books that have a paranormal element to them but since this one is partly in a historical setting I decided to give it a go.  Oh my-what a story this was!  We meet Lanny as she is brought into the ER of the small town of St. Andrew, Maine-covered in blood and accused of murder.  She insists she is not a murderer and beseeches Dr. Luke Findley to hear her story before turning her over to the police.  We soon learn Lanny is not what she seems and her story of love, lust, and betrayal spans centuries.  Lanny takes us back to 1800's Maine where as a 14 year old girl she lays eyes on Jonathan St. Andrew-son of the town founder and leagues above her in social status-and never looks back.  She must be with him at any cost.  It is this obsession with the impossibly beautiful Jonathan that will be Lanny's downfall time and again.  Lanny is sent to Boston where she is alone and friendless until she meets a trio of rich travellers who take her to the home of the mysterious Count Adair. It is there that Lanny's life will change forever.  Adair and his trio are not what they seem.  

I will not give away the plot to the book but I will say that once Lanny meets Adair and his minions the book takes a very dark turn.  There are some rather strange relationships, torture, rape, and other forms of cruelty involved and while not graphic these themes may disturb some.  I didn't have any serious issues here but I wanted to mention it because some might.  I would compare it to some of the more disturbing elements of Anne Rice's Mayfair witches trilogy.  If you can stomach the events in those books you will probably be alright here too.  The book also gets very interesting at this point, especially as we get Adair's back story.   He changes Lanny into a whole different person (literally and otherwise).  As expected with an unrequited and obsessive love, all roads for Lanny will always lead back to Jonathan and they do, eventually leading up to the present day story line with Luke.

This story flip flops between the past with Lanny's story and the present with Luke where they are fleeing the police.  Of the past and present story lines, the past is the much stronger part of the book.  The writing here is definitely compelling.  The book caught my attention from the very beginning and it never let go.  At first I had a hard time figuring out why Lanny was so obsessed with Jonathan because he doesn't appear to have any redeeming qualities besides being the sexiest man to ever walk the planet.  He doesn't treat her well at all but I guess the physical qualities are enough to love him to point of madness. Katsu also includes a few twists in the latter half of the book that I didn't see coming at all.  I love when the unexpected happens in a book. There were a few loose ends left at the end but that makes complete sense considering this is only the first book and the story will be continuing in another (The Reckoning) coming out later this year.  This is not a vampire story although it deals with immortality and it is definitely not a light fluffy read.  It may have some disturbing themes but it is one of those books where you will have to keep reading to find out what happens with all the characters.  Even though this is not within my normal realm of reading I am glad I picked this up.  I will be looking forward to continuing the story and seeing those loose ends tied up in the next book.

I received this book via a fellow blogger on behalf of the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Taker is being released in paperback today and I am offering a copy of the paperback edition (with that gorgeous cover!) to one lucky person!

This giveaway is open: Internationally-anywhere Book Depository Delivers

To enter: Leave your name and email address in the comments.  One extra entry each will be given for helping spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, or posting on your blog.

Giveaway is open until: midnight on April 9th.  Winner will be announced on the 10th.


  1. I want this book so bad, I've been eyeing it for almost a year now! I love the new cover too.

    Please enter me!

  2. This sounds so good! I like the unexpected in a story, great review.

  3. Thank you for making this open to all.Much appreciated.


  4. Great review and thanks for the giveaway.
    E-mail is turning.the.pages@hotmail.com (the periods are supposed to be where they are)
    -Kimberly @ Turning The Pages

  5. I'm not sure this would have caught my eye but your review interests me. Thanks for the chance to win.

    nanze55 at hotmail dot com

  6. I've read great reviews of this book, so I'd love to take part in the giveaway. And I like the historical setting too.
    Tdbabel at gmail dot com.

  7. I've had this one on my wishlist since I first saw the cover and read the blurb. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Thanks for participating in the hop!
    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  8. Been hearing the buzz about this one on the blogs and with the new one coming out I'd love to read it!

    Tweeted on twitter
    shared on fb


  9. I want to read this book so many good reviews on Goodreads!
    tweeted and shared on FB

  10. I'd love to read this book! I've read many reviews and this sounds promising.

    volta2173 at sbcglobal dot net

  11. This book sounds awesome!

    Thanks so much:)

    I'm a GFC follower Christina Kit.

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  12. I tweeted:


    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  13. I shared on facebook https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=322920137769244&id=1824430649

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  14. sounds like a great read and i love the cover

    thanks for the chance to win!

    catherine0807 at hotmail dot com

  15. Thanks so much for the giveaway! It is awesome! The cover is gorgeous, the girls blue eyes are striking!

    1. Oops, forgot my e-mail,sorry korra_950(at)hotmail(dot)com

  16. The paperback cover is so intriguing just like the story itself. Paranormal and historical combine two genres I really enjoy.


  17. ohh, thanks for the chance to win! would love to read the book!

    alaisgirl at libero dot it

  18. This sounds like a great book--both the paranormal and historical aspects appeal to me. I'd love to win! My e-mail adress is:


    Thanks for your blog and the giveaway!

  19. Great review:) i'd love to win and read this!
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!


  20. I love the coveeer, too!:)

    I tweeted!


  21. Thanks for the giveaway!


    Great cover and synopsis!

  22. Thanks for the giveaway....

    Email: kimberlylim_00(at)yahoo(dot)com

  23. Thanks so much for the giveaway!


    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  24. milind uppal

  25. Thank you very much for this giveaway...

    ajiehuang1997 (at) gmail (dot) com

  26. Thanks so much for the giveaway

  27. Thank you SOOO much for a chance to win this book :)

    Tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/fetadesu/status/186075164704915456

  28. I've been noticing this book around the blogosphere, but I haven't read it yet. Thanks for the chance!

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  29. Mariah
    Thanks for such an amazing giveaway!

  30. Thanks! email is oneagainst at hotmail dot com

  31. I would love to read this book, it sounds wonderful, and has such a pretty cover. Thanks for this chance.

  32. Great giveaway!!
    name- Tal
    Email- kyo.chan31@gmail.com