Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Taker by Alma Katsu

In The Taker, Dr. Luke Findley meets Lanore, a strange young woman who needs his help to escape after she murders a man. He's taken with her and helps her even though he's not quite sure why. He's even more drawn in after she slices herself open only to have the wound immediately heal itself. As they spend more time together, Lanore slowly tells Luke her story of love and that started about 200 years ago in Maine.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the first in a planned trilogy. I admit that I had to start the book twice before finishing it. When I tried the first time, I loved what I was reading, but somehow got sidetracked, put the book down and didn't pick it up again. When I picked it up again several months later, I didn't remember anything I had read and had to start again at the beginning. I'm so glad I did because as much as I was enjoying the book the first time, I enjoyed it even more the second time.

The book was mostly historical fiction with a little supernatural fantasy thrown in. It started out in the present day with Lanore and Luke, but quickly jumped back in time to the early 1800s when Lanore was with Jonathan. It went back even further, to the mid-1300s, as she delved into Adair's (her keeper) beginnings. Through her, Luke learned all about Adair, Jonathan and their immortality.

The present day portions, written in the third person, were pretty good, but nothing really special. However, the story got really interesting with the historical parts, written in the first person. They were presented in such a way that it felt like Lanore was relating her story to Luke. In fact, several times she broke the narrative with a little aside so you knew that she was still conveying the details to him. It was brilliantly written. I loved it!!

The book contained such great characters. I loved Lanore (more so in the past than present), Adair, Jonathan and Alejandro, but didn't quite understand Uzra. She was ethereal and existed mostly on the outskirts of the story. Maybe I just didn't get to know her that well. Also, in the present day parts, I didn't really like Luke that much. He struck me as kind of wishy-washy.

I have read and enjoyed some historical fiction in the past, but very little of the supernatural stuff. The latter isn't really my cup of tea, so I was glad it didn't take centre stage in the story that often. Even so, those parts didn't stop me from really enjoying this book.

New words:
preternatural (page 22): going beyond nature/supernatural
incorporeal (page 93): spiritual
bacchanalia (page 137): ancient Roman festivities
cabochons (page 172): round gem
catamite (page 228): young partner of a gay man
swive (page 255): to have sex with somebody
interlocutor (page 308): a participant in a discussion
odalisque (page 311): enslaved woman in a harem
ignoble (page 334): dishonourable
quotidian (page 347): commonplace
chador (page 369): dark robe worn by Muslims
troth (page 378): solemn vow
arrondissement (page 404): area of a French city

Highly recommended. I'm really looking forward to the next book, The Reckoning; the second book in the series.

For more information about this book, please visit Simon & Schuster's website.

For more information about the author and her other books, please visit Alma Katsu's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Simon & Schuster for this review copy.

The Taker by Alma Katsu, Gallery Book (Simon & Schuster) ©2011. ISBN 9781439197059(ARC), 437p.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for your comment. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately, I've been getting lots of spam comments, so I'm turning on word verification to help keep spammers away. I know it's a pain; I don't like it either. Hopefully, in time I'll be able to turn it off again. Thank you!