Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: The Taker by Alma Katsu

Genre: Historical and Supernatural Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Romantic Suspence
Series: The Taker, #1
Author: Alma Katsu
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Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)
Watch the Trailer | Read an Excerpt
Where to Purchase: Amazon || Kindle
Reviewed by: Aimee
Source: Hardcopy from Publisher
Rating: Epic Win! 5 out of 5

You might ask if I loved Jonathan for his beauty, and I would answer: that is a pointless question, for his great, uncommon beauty was an irreducible part of the whole. It gave him his quiet confidence­--and his easy, disarminging way with the fairer sex. And if his beauty drew my eye from the first, I'll not apologize for it, nor will I apologize for my desire to claim Jonathan for my own. To behold such beauty is to wish to possess it; it's desire that drives every collector. And I was hardly alone. Nearly every person who came to know Jonathan tried to possess him. This was his curse, and the curse of every person who loved him. But it was like being in love with the sun: brilliant and intoxicating to be near, but impossible to keep to oneself. It was hopeless to love him and yet it was hopeless not to.

Before I get started, I'd like to clear up a misconception about The Taker. First, there are absolutely NO paranormal creatures in this story! Not one vampire, werewolf, etc. The only paranormal beings you'll encounter are a group of immortals and a spirit. While some are quite wicked, every character in this story is human and the supernatural element is dark magic or Alchemy. So... what is Alchemy, you ask?
[As defined in wikipedia] - "Alchemy is an ancient tradition, the primary objective of which was the creation of the mythical "philosopher's stone," which was said to be capable of turning base metals into gold or silver, and also act as an elixir of life that would confer youth and immortality upon its user. Alchemy can be viewed as a protoscience, a precursor to modern chemistry, having provided procedures, equipment, and terminology that are still in use. However, alchemy also included various non-scientific mythological, religious, and spiritual concepts, theories and practices."
This novel was not what I expected. I thought it would be your typical romance with a dark side, but The Taker was actually much darker and it wasn't at all a typical romance. This love story is poignant, shattering, ruthless and full of wicked debauchery. It deals with possessiveness and sacrifice, and begs the question, “What is the difference between true love and obsession?” Instead of giving you the typical run down on the characters and what it's about, I'd rather give you an idea what you’re in for so you’re not surprised by things you weren't expecting. First, in my opinion, I'm hesitant to label The Taker as just a romance. I would instead call it a tragic lesson in love and an exploration in different levels of the human experience if immortality is thrown into the mix.

Heart breaking, yet hopeful... it spans many genres and is many things. There is romance and a love story in The Taker, however dysfunctional it may be, but if you’re looking for a happy feel good story with a hero that sweeps you off your feet, then this is not your book. If, however, you’re looking for something that takes you through a complete range of emotions (some definable, some not) and really challenges you to ponder and reflect, then The Taker is definitely for you. It's a complex and masterfully written story that will make you analyze, and possibly sympathize with many of it's characters. Of all the characters in The Taker, it is Lanny and Jonathan I connected with the most. I felt like I suffered right along with them and near the end I was brought to tears. But I must also warn you... it's not a pretty read at times and might be uncomfortable for some due to how dark the story gets in places. Dark like Doug Wright's Quills [about the Marques De Sade] or Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. But this darkness is also a very crucial element to the journey of self discovery that the character(s) go through and I'm glad I didn't put the book down and walk away.

When I finished, I will admit I was a little upset at first. It appeared that there was still a story within the story that was left unrevealed; questions left unanswered. And anyone who knows me, knows that I like neat and tidy conclusions. I need Closure, unless I know for sure there is more to come. But I kept thinking... this can't really be how it all ends? So I did some research and found out The Taker is the first book in a three book story arc. **whew! -- and Yay!** I'm extremely excited this is a series. There are so many little mysterious nuances written into the story that it's ending just isn't enough for a stand alone novel. It also has a bit of a cliffhanger in that it leaves you with unanswered questions that might drive you batty if you didn't know there was more to come.

My final verdict?
The Taker is a complete and epic win for me. I was so taken (pun intended) by The Taker that I stayed up reading it all night long. It took me on a journey, with writing so bewitching and hypnotic that I was captive till it’s completion. I also think most anyone would be able to handle this book as long as they knew what to expect. But I think it would really appeal to those with an intellectual bent, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes historical, supernatural, dark, Gothic tales. If your faint of heart, have tender sensibilities, or high expectations for the perfect fairy tale romance, then it might not be your cup of tea. If your not sure... then I vote for reading it to know where you stand. It's truly worth your time.

ratingFiction Fool

Other Reviews of The Taker:
All Things Urban Fantasy: 4 of 5
A Cupcake and a Latte: 5 of 5
Patty's Reviews: 5 of 5
Book Divas Reads: 4 of 5

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