Rating (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars
I never thought I’d compare a book to Interview with a Vampire, but that day has come. Alma Katsu’s The Taker is a tale of regret, unrequited love, darkness and that glimmer of hope that keeps us moving on. And while there is nary a vampire to be found, Lanny’s tale stung me in much the way Louis’ did in Interview.
When I said this is a story of regret, I meant it. Lanny is more-or-less immortal, and she’s recounting her life to one broken man willing to help her on a very bad night. And as she weaves her tale, mostly set in the early 1800s, the reader can see some of the mistakes coming. Lanny is in love, from before puberty, with Jonathan St. Andrew. He’s overwhelmingly handsome and charming, and his family owns the entire town. The girls love Jonathan, and he takes full advantage of that — and shares every detail with his best friend Lanny. While she pines. He’s rich, she’s poor.
A mistake causes her family to send her away, and this is where the tale takes a very dark turn. Lanny’s life is twisted. Abusive immortals, desire for love and learning a whole lot about sex for a girl raised in a Puritan village are all in store for her. No matter how long she stays away, or who covets her love, Lanny only thinks of Jonathan. Of how she wishes she could be with him.
Elements of magic, alchemy and immortality are at play in The Taker, but at its core it’s the story of a girl who learned too late that you can’t make someone love you back. Lanny’s tale is entrancing. At times this book reads much more like a historical than a paranormal, but I sank into this book. Prepare to be attached to every character, and have conflicting emotions about them all — especially Lanny, Adair and Jonathan. Love them. Hate them. Pity them.
The Taker was surprisingly dark and twisted, and yet beautiful and hopeful. It’s a journey, and you should take it.
Sexual content: Many references to sex, rape