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The Taker (Taker Trilogy #1)

The Taker (Taker Trilogy #1)

4.2 109
by Alma Katsu

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“Alma Katsu’s searing tale of otherworldly lovers and eternal obsession will seduce you from page one. With its elegant prose and riveting plot, The Taker is as irresistible as the hauntingly beautiful, pleasure-seeking immortals who scorch its pages” (Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author of the Immortals After Dark


“Alma Katsu’s searing tale of otherworldly lovers and eternal obsession will seduce you from page one. With its elegant prose and riveting plot, The Taker is as irresistible as the hauntingly beautiful, pleasure-seeking immortals who scorch its pages” (Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author of the Immortals After Dark series).

Combining the historical, supernatural, and fantasy in one stunning tale, The Taker centers on a mysterious young woman, Lanore, and an unwitting Maine doctor who falls into her world, a hidden world that exists outside the boundaries of time. In this magical realm, where the predatory use pleasure to corrupt the innocent, Lanore’s incredible devotion to Jonathan, her first true love, captures the attention of Adair, the dangerous man who rules this world, and ignites within him an all-consuming desire to possess her.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Alchemy and love prove a volatile mix in Katsu's vividly imagined first novel, which toggles between the present and the past. While working the graveyard shift at a rural Maine hospital, Dr. Luke Findley discovers that patient Lanny McIlvrae has miraculous self-healing powers. Lanny then relates the incredible tale of her life: sent packing to Boston by her family in 1817 to give birth to her illegitimate child, she fell in with the entourage of Count Adair, a centuries-old alchemist who saved her life with an elixir of immortality. Decadent and domineering, Adair took Lanny as his mistress—a role she accepted until Adair's scheme to use her true love, Jonathan, to perpetuate his unnatural existence forced her to a desperate ruse to thwart his formidable magic powers. Katsu shows considerable skill in rendering a world where Adair's unspeakable evilness and Lanny's wild passion make the supernatural seem possible. The result is a novel full of surprises and a powerful evocation of the dark side of romantic love. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"A haunting tale of passion, obsession, and immortal longing. The Taker is unlike any other novel I have read: a gothic historical with a searing modern twist that will captivate your imagination and keep you reading long into the night." —C.W. Gortner, author of THE TUDOR SECRET

“Absolutely one of the best books [I] read in 2011.” —Just Another Story

“The Taker by Alma Katsu has literally left me speechless! [Katsu] mix[es] just the right amount of history, magic, and suspense…The only way to fully understand the magic of The Taker is to go and pick up a copy for yourself!” —Browsing Bookshelves

Jennifer Castro
Looking for a good read? Get ready to hear about a time-transcending page turner. Two years ago,having just finished The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer, I was still hungry for more of the supernatural. My only hesitation was that I wanted something a little more plausible than blood-sucking vampires. As fate would have it, I stumbled upon The Taker by Alma Katsu. Dutifully, I checked reviews before purchasing the book. How I hadn’t heard of it prior to then is beyond me, as the book was insanely well-received and only growing in popularity. I took the novel home and was blown away by the captivating story of an impressionable young woman, the “Adonis” who she falls in love with and the “monster” who falls in love with her. Lanore, Jonathan and Adair had me spellbound like no other characters have. The Taker satiated my need for the supernatural, but was unique in it’s portrayal of everlasting love and unrelenting obsession, both of which know no boundaries for these characters. The second installment, The Reckoning, was equally fascinating—the never-ending love chase propelling the jump between several different time periods and beautiful locations all over the world. Finally, the end of this twisted tale will come to an end with Katsu’s final installment, The Descent.
Library Journal
On a cold winter night a young woman is brought into an emergency room in the small Maine town of St Andrew. Lanore McIlvrae is covered in blood and probably injured, but the sheriff also believes she murdered someone. When Lanore is alone with emergency physician Luke Findley, she tries desperately to convince him of her innocence, telling her story in mind-numbing detail. In the late 19th century, she met and fell in love with Jonathan, the man Lanore is now accused of killing. At one point, Lanore's family sent her from the town to avoid a terrible scandal. During this journey, she met the man who made her immortal and brought her back to Jonathan. Finally, the plot begins to move, although at times the pace is still slow. VERDICT Hard-core romance readers might enjoy this debut novel, but it is not a necessary purchase.—Patricia Altner, Biblioinfo.com, Columbia, MD
Kirkus Reviews

A backwoods Maine doctor falls under the spell of a confessed killer whose loves and sorrows go back two centuries.

When Dr. Luke Findley undresses Lanore McIlvrae, the murder suspect the St. Andrew sheriff has brought into Aroostook County Hospital, he discovers that although her clothes are saturated in blood, her body is unwounded; every drop came from the man she admits she slashed to death. Even so, Lanny tells Luke that the murder was anything but murder and begs him to help her escape. After he's treated to an unnerving demonstration of her claim that she's not just an ordinary killer, he agrees. During their headlong flight to Canada and freedom, she fills in her back story for him, and what a back story it is. Lanny's troubles began at age 12, when she first spotted beautiful Jonathan St. Andrew, the son of the town's wealthy founder, at church back in 1809. Although Jonathan was happy to acknowledge her love, he never exactly returned it, and her tempestuous tale takes her from romantic disappointments, crises and encounters with evil to a genre-crossing exile in Boston, where she's taken in by the Mephistophelean savior who'll become her fate: Count Adair cel Rau, whose own lengthy back story, which stretches back to 1349, is even more eventful than hers. Adair and his unholy retinue don't suck anyone's blood, but the gift of eternal life he offers in return for the souls of his lovers and followers will sound awfully familiar to vampire lovers everywhere. Debut novelist Katsu adds heavy foreshadowing, insistent underlining and a suffocating earnestness to this familiar story of the bonds that never die.

Beneath the trappings of undead lore is a love story that's deeply old-fashioned, and not just because the principals were born 200 years ago.

Product Details

Gallery Books
Publication date:
Taker Trilogy , #1
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File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Alma Katsu was born in Alaska and raised near Concord, Massachusetts. She has a BA in writing from Brandeis University and an MA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Program. She lives with her husband in Virginia. Visit her online at AlmaKatsu.com or follow her on Twitter.

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The Taker 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 109 reviews.
Shanella More than 1 year ago
This novel is not for the faint of heart. The Taker is the first in a trilogy by Alma Katsu. Well written, well researched, descriptive and a little frightening, Alma tells the story of Lanny, a young girl from the 1800s, who is in love with the town founder's handsome son Jonathan, and what she does to keep him. Luke - a present day doctor from the town that Lanny once grew up in - plays the role of the listener, and I'd venture to say that he's inconsequential to the story; though I'm sure in the remainder of the trilogy he will become important. I was not a fan of Lanny, she was obsessed with Jonathan - who has very few redeeming qualities, other than his face - and mislabels her feelings for him as love. Her character seemed a bit creepy and self-serving. Her world resolves around Jonathan - who was promiscuous and hardly courageous - and she would do just about anything to have him. I'm not entirely sure what anyone in the town saw in him, other than his good looks. Adair, the villan of the story, is quite intriguing. Upon meeting him, the story takes a turn for the disturbing. For fear of giving away spoilers, I wouldn't delve into the mystery around Adair, however, reading his storyline was probably the most engrossing part of the novel for me. The thing that irked me the most was the improper use of love and sex among the characters. Though I believe this is on purpose, obsession was labeled as love and sex was used as a terrible weapon. It was a disturbing theme that ran though the entire story and not quite my cup of tea. I think the mystery of the book and Lanny's quick thinking will appeal to a number of readers. The story has a strong conclusion, while still leaving it open for future books.
AngelaCarr More than 1 year ago
Call me a masochist if need be, but I loved this heartbreaking story. Alma Katsu is a wonderful storyteller. I have to admit that this story is dark and depressing to the point where I wanted to stop reading the book but the Ms. Katsu’s left and right twists of the story kept me flipping the pages non-stop. Lanny finds herself in the ER in shock of what she had just done. She confides in the local doctor and convinces him to help her with her troubles. In their journey, she talks about decades of misfortune and misery. Her love for Jonathan (her first and only love) has no bounds. She would do anything and everything for him. And same goes for Adair (her lover & the one who gave her immortality), but not to a point of love and obsession just means to an end. Unfortunately, these men brought her nothing but heartache after heartache. How she moved on with this immortal life, I have no idea. But then again, how did I keep on reading each heart-wrenching tale she tells? Let me tell you, it is the hope of finding any scrap of happiness for Lenore. This book captured my feelings of lost, regret and made me appreciate my simple mortal life. It goes back and forth from past to future which made the feelings of regrets more intense. I have to warn you, it is a story full of hardships and it is hell on earth. You will either love it or hate it. I don't consider this anything like the Fifty Shades trilogy at all but a class on its own. *Review copy provided by author
gabook More than 1 year ago
I found myself hooked. I definitely wanted to know what was going to happen next. Having said that, I was so frustrated with the main character, Lanny. She is obsessed with Jonathan and repeatedly makes one horrible decision after another because of this obsession. It did grow weary after a while. She is a forward thinker for her time. She knows her place in society and doesn't like it, but her decisions made me want to scream. Her story is at times amusing, dark, scary and romantic. Be forewarned, this book is violent and sex is used as a weapon. There is one scene that really disturbed me and I'm glad the author made it short. I gave this book a high rating because it evoked so much emotion from me. Isn't that what a book is supposed to do?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Over all as I said it was extremely easy to read. I generally read about a chapter a night I was about 14 in before I put it down. I did think it was going to go a different way. The story takes a detour and thought it would just be a hiccup. But this small conflict that I thought would only take a few chapters to get out of ended up being the whole story. Not sure that I liked that but I buy and read it all so I guess it worked. Oh some discriptions I saw talk about what a good love story it is.. Nope. If you're into the whole onesided, he can't be faithful b/c he's so beautiful and women love him so I have to be okay with the short end of the stick type thing then you'll love this. But it is a good book. Dark sometimes but good.
sand7s More than 1 year ago
Very good book. I loved the characters and was sorry to see it end.
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 dark and disturbing stars:  THE TAKER can best be described as a novel of mixed genre.  It is a historical fantasy that spans the past to the present with sci-fi undertones, gothic horror and there is a definite love story, of sorts. Some reviewers have labeled The Taker as a romance story that crosses the centuries, but for everything I have read, this is definitely not a romance novel.  The Taker is well written, thought provoking and eerily depressing.  The novel spans two centuries in the life of Lanore (Lanny) McIlvrae and is told through flashbacks and flash forwards using three different and varying points of view.  My biggest concern is that the novel left me depressed yet wanting more.  Apparently I am a reading-masochist at heart because I want to know what happens next and I know I will regret both-not reading and reading more. The novel is divided into three parts and three stories. There are overlapping stories (between the parts) where flashbacks are required to explain the significance to the current day drama and within the parts-the story is told from two different points of view and the current day is narration.  Some readers may find the back and forth confusing, but the individual storytellers recount the circumstances of how they came to be. Lanny and Jonathan is a story of unrequited love.  Lanny has loved Jonathan all of her life and the fact that she has lived more than 200 years, has never eased the longing and memories.  But the heartache grows deeper and the sorrow of loss and pain becomes almost unbearable with every bitter story of conquest and denial.  Jonathan’s history of womanizing will eventually catch up and it will be Lanny who will make the decision between life and death. Lanny and Adair is another story of love, power and control.  But as her Master, Adair demands things from those he has brought into his life, and his demands are hard, especially on Lanny.  Adair believes he is unlovable, a man who has lived 100s if not 1000s of years, but with each incarnation, he becomes more despondent and bored.  His need for Lanny can only be explained as a necessary evil.  Is it because he knows she will never love him the way she have loved Jonathan, or does it go much deeper than a maker to his charge? Lanny and Luke’s relationship is the overlapping narration throughout the story.  On the run from the authorities, Luke aids Lanny in her cross country and cross continent trek searching for the answers as to who and what is Lanny McIlvrae. Their adventure is the storyline.  Lanny recounts her story to Luke, flashing back to the time of her making and allowing Adair’s point of view to flash us back even further. It is this particular part of the storyline that is the apex of the story.  All other storylines are told throughout Lanny and Luke’s adventures. The Taker is a well-written novel. It is not a story of vampires and blood. It is dark, mysterious, depressing and passionate. The storyline will haunt and anger.  There is grief for the loss of a love, of a child and a life once shared. But in all honesty when I finished the novel, I felt depressed.  There was only loneliness and misery, sorrow and pain.  There is no HEA.  But this is only Book ONE.  OK….*looking around for some Xanax and a couch*….on to The Reckoning July 2012 (Book TWO ) and The Devil’s Scribe (e-novella)
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
It had elements I expected and some that made me squeamish. Overall I enjoyed this strange and dark tale. Katsu is a talented writer and her writing style captivated me. Some of the subject matter made me uncomfortable and I found myself skimming through those scenes. Ordinarily I would have stopped reading, but I had this overwhelm need to know Lanore’s story.- that is the beauty of Katsu’s writing. The tale begins at a rural hospital in Maine. Dr. Luke Findley is just beginning his shift and is told the local police are bringing in a murder suspect and need him to check her over. When Lanore McIlvrae walks in, he is shocked that this tiny, beautiful blonde, with cork-screw curls and blue eyes is involved in a murder. She is covered in blood and won’t speak. The police leave a guard and head out to the woods to find the body of the man she confessed to killing. Once inside an exam room, Lanore (Lanny as she prefers), asks Findley to help her escape. She claims that she only helped a friend die at his request and that there are things he cannot understand. Not easily duped he proceeds to examine her, removing Lanny’s bloody clothing and looking for injuries. It is then that Lanny grabs a scalpel and shows Findley something he won’t soon forget. She then proceeds to tell him her story….the tale that unfolds is romantic, dark, gritty and spans nearly two hundred years. Lanore shares her life story with us. She begins her tale in 1809 set against the Maine Territory. The author skillful takes us from the present to the past. Lanore tells the past, and Findley the present. This was clever because Findley could clarify things by asking questions about what we had just read. The tale that Lanore share’s with us is so unbelievable that it had a ring of truth to it. It is a one-sided love story about her and a man named Jonathan. It is filled with obsession, alchemy, and magic. Some of the events that occur in Boston, supernatural elements aside, are probably based in truth, but nevertheless made this reader uncomfortable. There are two sides to Lanore and I found her to be complex and interesting. When it came to Jonathan and her feelings for him, she was a naïve, love sick child. Then the author shows us the darker side of Lanore and I was entranced. At times I questioned her feelings for Jonathan, especially after his selfish acts. Findley is captivated and horrified by Lanore and her story. Yet he is unable to resist hearing it to its conclusion. Lanore’s story contains lots of sex, some implied and others graphic. It contains all forms of sexual encounters and may offend some readers. Think of an opium house and you will get the idea. Katsu offers us an intriguing look at unrequited love. While some of the subject matter was dark, I ultimately enjoyed the Taker. Days after reading it, I find myself thinking about Lanore and Jonathan.
Mother_Gamer_Writer More than 1 year ago
There is NOT one perfect word to describe this novel. Matter of fact, there is not one perfect sentence to describe this novel. To express what The Taker is you must live the experience, every word, every laugh, and every despicable act that transpired. When I thought I had the heart story figured out, Katsu changed it up and made it into something else entirely. It was an intensely dark tale of unrelenting love and the struggle one woman went through to keep it in her possession. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Alma Katsu on my blog and it was absolutely wonderful! She is a delight and there is more than meets the eye with her characters.
Icecream18 More than 1 year ago
Lanore is one of the main characters in this book and she is the quality of the book that really draws the reader in. She's a bit of an enigma; Luke, another main character, does not know what to make of her. He meets her under odd circumstances...she is a possible suspect in a brutal murder case. She begins to tell her tale to him as a way of getting him to open up to her and maybe believe her. Where she lived, women were thought of as fixtures in a house, meant for the "women's tasks" and not much else. There were fairly rigid rules. Jonathan comes along and really shakes her up. Their relationship grows from friends to "something more" and then goes a step further-she discovers she is pregnant with his child. She is sent away from home to give birth, shamed. She is supposed to return without the child, she cannot keep her own baby. However, she is apprehended and taken by an evil man called Adair...her tale gets more and more sordid and horrible from here, the story really takes off. The plot is interesting and, in part, horrifying. The reader will be captivated by some of the more lengthy descriptions of Lanore's experiences. She is a sympathetic character who is likable and the reader will have no trouble enjoying her character. The secondary characters vary widely; some are nice, some are cruel, and other are more..."eh." This novel is, if nothing, interesting and worth a read. This book would be great for adult readers who enjoy mystery and drama.
harstan More than 1 year ago
At Aroostook County Hospital in St. Andrew, Maine, Dr. Luke Findley works the ER graveyard shift. Sheriff Duchesne brings in a handcuffed young person covered with blood and wearing no coat on a freezing night. The sheriff believes Lanore McIlvrae murdered Jonathan. In the ER with only Luke present, Lanny insists she is innocent. She explains her family exiled her to Boston to give birth to an illegitimate child in 1817. There she met ancient alchemist Count Adair and his retinue. The Count saved her life when he gave her an immortality potion but at the cost of her becoming his mistress. Lanny accepted what her savior expected of her until now when he went after her true love Jonathan. The merger of alchemy and love in Maine makes for a strong rural fantasy. The story line starts a bit slow as the key players are introduced directly and indirectly in the present and the past; once done the plot accelerates as skeptical readers and a doubting Luke become hooked believers. The key to The Taker is that the audience accepts as true Lanny's Faustian cautionary tale of evil's eternal energy to remain alive at all costs to others. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
Beverly_D More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved the cover, and the plot was filled with twists and turns. There was also some occasionally gorgeous writing. BUT... I did not really care what happened to either Luke, nor Lanore, and the device of Lanore telling a story and then switching to yet another voice, another time period, did not work well for me. This book did interest me enough to finish it, but not enough for me to want to read the rest of the trilogy. Also, the Lanore & Jonathan "love story" is really a story of a handsome guy who's a narcissistic jerk, and the girl who's unhealthily obsessed by him, which is neither enhanced nor improved by being spread out over a couple of centuries.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've never written a comment on a book or otherwise before. I felt compelled to do so with this book. Excellent. Couldn't put it down. I happened upon this book, i do not know if it is a NY Times bestseller but it should be, I've read a number of books from the Times Bestsellers but this is perhaps the best i've ever read. The storyline is incredibly unique but with a familiar undertone. Very captivating. Love Love Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kopsahl More than 1 year ago
With her blend of history and fantasy, Alma Katsu comes blazing out of the gates with her first novel. The best aspect of this novel is the fact that the fantasy part of the story is very obtuse. You don’t really know what the main character, Lanny McIlvrae is except that she is immortal. With Lanny’s beginnings told in flashbacks to Dr. Luke Findley, the reader is drawn into this story of doomed love and dark desires. Dr. Luke Findley has hit rock bottom. His wife has left him and he feels trapped in the small Main town of St. Andrews. When he clocks into his night shift he never dreamed he would find himself on the run with a mysterious woman named Lanny who was brought in by the police as a murder suspect. As Lanny explains her life, from her humbled beginnings to why she murdered the only man she has ever loved, Luke finds himself falling for this petite damaged woman. Even though this story says it is a love story, I didn’t feel there was much romance between these pages. This love story is what I stated above, doomed love. From Lanny’s childhood crush on Jonathan that turns into an obsession to her dark tormented relationship with Adair, the man that gave her immortality. Lanny’s life is full of darkness and sadness. I would definitely recommend this story to anyone that liked Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. The world building is exceptional and has the potential to be an amazing trilogy. It will consume the reader until the very final pages and leave you desiring the next installment. I am so glad that I took the advice of my local bookstore employee and picked this one up. I think I found a new author to add to my favorites list!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intriguing! Can't wait to read book two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was Great!.. loved the the story line and the characters. definitely worth reading.  this book has a little bit of everything in it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. You should read this. I'm addicted and can' t wait for the third book!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just can't finish this book. Just getting to weird & to violent for my taste.