Reviewed by Claudia Robinson

“Your days are spent in pleasure and comfort. I’ve given you everything you could want, treated you as a princess. I’ve opened your world, haven’t I? Freed your mind from the limitations put there by those ignorant priests and ministers, and introduced you to secrets that learned men spend a lifetime seeking. All these things I’ve given you freely, my dear, haven’t I? Frankly, your ingratitude offends me.” – Adair

At first glance, The Taker threatens to divulge to it’s readers another sugar spun tale of vampiric romance. Upon closer examination, however, it becomes apparent that The Taker is anything but. Written over a span of centuries, The Taker entreats those partaking to enter a world where despite the opportunity for every pleasure and dream to be fulfilled, and lifetimes in which to pursue them, true happiness is just, and always, beyond reach.

Luke Findley is a doctor in the small town of St.Andrew, Maine. When a young woman is brought in to his care at Aroostook Country Hospital, Luke has no idea how quickly, abruptly and completely his life is about to change. Confessing to a brutal murder, Lanore McIlvrae and her ice blue eyes make an immediate and inexplicable impression on Luke. When she begs him to help her, slicing her flesh open with a scalpel, only to have it heal before his eyes, Luke finds himself offering whatever services she requires of him, so long as she explains who and what she is, and why she has come to St. Andrew.

As the unlikely pair run from the law, Lanny shares her unbelievable story with Luke, and readers are quickly seduced with a tale of romance, magic, violence, sex and murder that traverses centuries and continents. Luke learns about the young, murdered man, the breathtakingly beautiful Jonathan who has held Lanny’s heart in his hands since the day she laid eyes upon him as a young girl, and Adair, the cruel, regal, savagely handsome Count cel Rau and his consorts, and their stories of debauchery and mayhem. As Lanny unfolds her life before him, Luke finds himself making decisions about his own life that will ultimately affect his future in ways he can’t yet conceive. Can this strange, beautiful young woman hold the key to his happiness?

Exquisitely written, detailed in lush multi-color lexicon, Alma Katsu accomplishes in dispatching a, what at first appears ‘familiar’, but is ultimately a unique and genius craftship of a story, to her readers. Solid, vibrant, intelligent and beautiful, Alma invokes equal parts melancholy and congeniality with her pristinely fleshed out characters. She weaves a tale of such heart-wrenching deceit and evil, that the ending arrives all too quickly, and leaves the reader panting hungrily, for more, questioning immortality and the price one must pay, in the end, to endure it.

Rating: 5/5

Claudia lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband and two children.

The review copy of this book was provided free of any obligation by Gallery Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.