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The Taker: Book One of the Taker Trilogy Hardcover – September 6, 2011


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The Amazon Book Review
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Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Readers won’t be able to tear their eyes away from Katsu’s mesmerizing tale.” —Starred Booklist

"Alchemy and love prove a volatile mix in Katsu's vividly imagined first novel ... 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." Publishers Weekly

“Alma Katsu’s The Taker is a frighteningly compelling story about those most human monsters—desire and obsession. It will curl your hair and keep you up late at night.” —Keith Donohue, bestselling author of The Stolen Child

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. A wicked, sensuous, shattering love story that I can’t recommend enough. You have to experience it for yourself!” —Kresley Cole, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Alma Katsu's debut takes the reader on a spell-binding journey through time. This sensual tale of star-crossed love, betrayal and redemption is a rare and addictive treat. Pleasurable from page one." —Danielle Trussoni, New York Times bestselling author of Angelology

The Taker is a sexy, dark romance. Alma Katsu’s tale of immortality and unrequited love covers hundreds of years but never strays from this question: What price are we willing to pay to completely possess another?” —Alexi Zentner, author of Touch

“A centuries-spanning epic that will keep you turning pages all night. This marvelous debut is a thinking person’s guilty pleasure.” —Scott Westerfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Leviathan

“Alma Katsu’s addictive tale of immortal love is brutal, wrenching, and ultimately moving. Gothic and richly detailed, The Taker it is an astonishing good read.” Meg Waite Clayton, bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters

“This is a great book. And by great, I mean, devastatingly so, like reading The Scarlet Letter, while riding a roller coaster, on acid. Seductive, daring, soaring, and ultimately gut-wrenching, The Taker is a lush, historical rendering of transcendent love, paranormal beings, and the depths of pain that can be felt by immortal hearts.” —Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

"It renews a genre...and makes it intimate again." Locus Magazine


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-receiveda nd 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. (Jennifer Castro, Cliche Magazine)

About 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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; First Edition edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439197059
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439197059
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Read what people are saying about THE DESCENT, the final book in the Taker Trilogy:

"This isn't a vampire trilogy; it's something entirely new. It's smart, sophisticated, and utterly shocking; if you have delicate sensibilities, you may prefer not to pick up these books. But if you're an adventurous reader and enjoy beautiful writing and characters you can't even imagine, Katsu's trilogy is an absolute must read." -S. Krishna's Books

"Blows me away with the beauty and creativity of the world building...a masterful conclusion to what may be one of the best trilogies I've ever read." --Fresh Fiction

"With a surprising twist that explains much of the mythology of the series, this thrilling conclusion is a can't-miss entry for fans who have followed Lanny's journey from 1800s New England to contemporary times. And it's utterly impossible to put down." --Booklist

Ms. Katsu's writing has been compared to that of early Anne Rice and Shirley Jackson. A former intelligence analyst, she is a graduate of the writing program at Johns Hopkins University.

Selected Q&A from a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA):

Q: What was your inspiration for The Taker novels?

A: The Taker was inspired by all kinds of things, I think. At a basic level, I'd say it was inspired by Interview With The Vampire which, in my view, was a pretty groundbreaking work. I didn't consciously set out thinking I was going to write a book like it, but the upshot is that it has some similar characteristics--the present day frame over a long historical backstory, the main character's fatal attraction to the dark, etc.

The other inspiration, however, was that I wanted to write a sort-of anti-romance. There is a dark side to love. It can bring out the worst in people. Let's face it, most of us have probably done one stupid, mean thing over love (usually in our youth). If we're smart, we learn from it and quietly decide never to make that mistake again. The Taker is the story of a young woman who gets punished for loving unwisely--but that punishment, and her lesson, is on a much grander scale. In the end, she comes to understand the grand thing that love truly is, is tested and prevails, and is rewarded with a love the likes of which few people will ever have. If you like love stories, I think you will find this really different and (hopefully) really rewarding, and if you don't, well...

Writing that first book was really a challenge I set for myself. I wanted to see if I could create great characters. Yup, that was it. Characters that you couldn't forget, and a story that would haunt you after you finished reading it. I love big fat daring fiction. I didn't think I'd do it, certainly not the first time out of the box. And I absolutely didn't think it would ever be publishable. But I just wanted to try. That's why it ended up being such an unconventional book, I think.

Q: Was this "mix" of genres something you always wanted to do, or did you explore other things before realizing this is what you wanted to do?

A: I was kind of naive with The Taker. First of all, as I've mentioned, I wrote it because it was what I wanted to write, and I didn't think it would ever sell. I didn't think of it as cross-genre as I was writing it. I thought of it as literary fiction. It's definitely character-driven, as opposed to plot driven. But because of the genre elements, and the fact that it's pretty dark, there has been a reluctance for it to be seen as literary fiction.

Q: How do you go about the creative process, as in, what steps do you take to take an idea, and make a novel out of it. And how long does it usually take for you?

A. That's a great question. One of the hardest things for me to figure out, still being kind of new to thinking about writing as a business, is which ideas are worth investing a year or two to write and which don't have the emotional or intellectual heft to be viable. Add to that the fact that projects change once they get beyond a certain stage: your editor and/or agent will make suggestions (it's like a renovation project; you start to remodel the kitchen and suddenly you think, let's move this weight-bearing wall! It'll open the whole space up! and before you know it, it's twice as expensive and difficult as you originally envisioned.)

My first book, The Taker, took ten years to write. I was seized with the idea and the characters, and despite putting it aside many times to work on other projects, I couldn't stop thinking about it and hence, couldn't stop working on it. In some ways, that kind of crazy commitment makes it easy. What I'm finding is after you sign the contracts, it becomes less about relying on emotional energy to carry out a project than it does determination and treating it like a job. There will always be emotional ups and downs but if you rely on that to get a book written, you're toast (I think).
Regarding time, it takes me much longer than I'd like it to, and that's because I am still learning how to tell a story. It seems to get both harder and easier with every book. (I love a paradox!) Harder, because my expectations have risen. Easier, because if I'm lucky I learned something from the last one. I was on a book-a-year schedule, for the most part, for the contract, which in practical terms means you must complete a full manuscript in six months, and I think that's a bit rushed for me.

Q: Who were your first favorite authors, and which books do you remember falling in love with first?

A: I was a funny reader as a kid. I read adult books--Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson, Alexander Dumas. And fairy tales. One of my older sisters had a huge book of fairy tales. It had amazing full-page illustrations. There were some unusual fairy tales, too, not the usual ones. Both my sisters and I read that book so much that by the time we were adults, it was falling apart. We all loved the book, but the older sister kept it for herself. I didn't think I'd ever see it again until I found it in my in-laws' basement. My husband--who wasn't my husband yet--had never shown much interest in it when he was a boy, so it was in mint condition. I figured it was an omen that we were meant to be together. I joked that I married him to get my hands on that book.

Q: Do you intend to write in any other genres?

A: I would like to write a straight historical novel but we'll see... I also want to write a spy novel someday.

Customer Reviews

What a thrilling book to read; I couldn't wait to pick it up and never wanted to put it down!
S. Lipson
I felt like a short little story would suffice but instead the story went on and on, giving so many details about his previous life.
Book Nympho
It is very interesting that I loved the book although I did not sympathize any of the characters in it.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By MLouise VINE VOICE on August 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This story centers around the main character, Lannie, who became immortal by means I won't mention (so I don't give away too much about the book).
The book begins near the end of the story, where a small town doctor (Luke), is uncharacteristically drawn to Lannie, an admitted murderess. While helping Lannie, she tells him her story, and so the book jumps from their present day lives, to Lannie's past which begins in the early 1800's.

Lannie tells her story beginning with her young, naive love for the unbelievably handsome Jonathon, to her relationship with the man who eventually enslaved her, and beyond. From the beginning, the story was extremely compelling. Although her narration is chock full of gripping details that will keep you glued to the page, it is still easy to follow the events and the few essential secondary characters. In fact, a couple of the secondary characters felt more like co-'main' characters to me.

This is not the kind of book I usually read, and due to the maliciousness of most of the characters, it did Not make me want to read more of it's type. UNLESS, of course there is a sequel to this one. Which brings me to my only complaint; I felt the book just ended kindof sudden without enough closure. There are loose ends, and if you read the book you'll know what I'm talking about. That being said, I can only hope that the author intends to write a sequel. I am already invested in this story, so I would definitely like to read more about the future of Lannie and her captor.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By j on September 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
First, I'd like to say there are a lot of reviews here for a book that hadn't even hit the US shelves yet. Some of these reviews are clearly written by well-read, open-minded folk, and these do the novel justice. There are also reviews on here by a few who claim to have been bored or completely appalled by the violent parts, but also, never even finished the story. I don't know about you, but being someone who actively seeks out a tale that elicits such intense feelings in either direction, I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on this book.

I have been waiting for a book like this to hit the shelves. It is a brilliant blend of historical fiction, psychological horror and tragic love story. Not wanting to ruin the story for anyone, I will sum up my two favorite qualities. One of the most wonderful aspects of this story was the characterization. The main character, Lanny, is so tragically in love with Jonathan, and unfortunately unable to accept that they cannot be together. Her deep obsession with him, and the crushing desperate attachment she has to him is so palpable, and so intense. I had trouble breathing while reading some of these passages, it was so easy to put yourself right there with her. If you love a heartbreaking tale of love that should never be, you'll adore this book. On a completely different level, the violent, cold-hearted characters in the story are equally satisfying as the doomed love story. The cruelty of Adair and his entourage is wonderfully written as it is actually frightening. It is tough to find a story these days that is truly horrifying and gut wrenching, and this story is very satisfying for someone looking to be delightfully disturbed.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By joyful VINE VOICE on September 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Taker by Alma Katsu starts off with a sit-up-and-notice, can't-wait-to-see-what-happens-next beginning. A woman in the emergency room is a suspect for murder and begs the doctor to help her escape from the authorities. To get him to listen to her wild, improbable tale, she cuts herself in front of him with a scalpel and he watches as the cut heals itself in front of his eyes. Having caught his attention, she then tells him is the story of her true love for a beautiful man that has lasted for over two centuries.

The center, the axis on which Lanny's world and her motivation, and thus the entirety of The Taker, pivot is her unrequited love, Jonathan. So he must be the most fascinating creature in The Taker right? He must be to have captured her heart and soul so completely for centuries. Yet other than his unearthly beauty, which does become very important to the plot, I could see no reason for Lanny's dangerous obsession with Jonathan.

"I knew Jonathan had the ability to burn me up with the brilliance of his attention, like a flame to paper. A girl could be destroyed in the instant of divine love. The question was, was it worth it?

"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...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.
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