The Taker by Alma Katsu opens in present day Maine at a small rural hospital Dr. Luke Findlay is called upon to examine a young woman named Lanny - a murder suspect - before she is taken to jail. When she slices herself open with a scalpel and the wound begins to heal instantaneously Luke is stunned. She begins to tell him her story - and he is mesmerized. Against all good judgement, he helps her escape and goes on the run with her. And as they drive she continues her story.
In 1817 Lanny was sent to Boston to give birth to her illegitimate child. But she never made it as far as the convent. Instead she fell in with Count Adair and his household. Adair is himself a centuries old alchemist with the ability to bind his minions to him for life - never aging and never dying. His lifestyle is depraved - an unrelenting search for the hedonistic.
Lanny's story is the tale of her years with Adair and the love she so desperately seeks with the father of her child. Can she reclaim that love? What is love? How far will she go? Will Adair let her have that love?
The modern day story of the doctor and Lanny takes a backseat to the pages from the past. I quickly became caught up in Lanny's recounting of her years with the Count. I very much enjoyed the historical detail of the times. Maybe it's my pragmatic nature, but Lanny's obsessiveness with Jonathan, the father of her child, became a bit tiresome after a while.
The Taker isn't my usual fare, but Alma Katsu has crafted an addicting tale that's hard to define. It's paranormal, but without the use of creatures - simply immortality. There's history, mystery and yes, romance. Think Twilight for adults. The Taker was a different read, going in directions I hadn't predicted. I was a bit frustrated by the ending, which I found unsatisfying, until I found out that The Taker is the first book in a planned trilogy. I'll definitely be picking up the second book - The Reckoning - to see where those loose ends go.
Read an excerpt of The Taker. You can find Katsu on Twitter and on Facebook. Watch the book trailer here.