Alma Katsu, The Taker, London, Century, 2011, 438 p.
I really had no idea what to expect from this story. Picking it up for around $5 at Planet Books in their end of financial year clearance sale, it goes to show how affective a really solid, eye-catching cover does for a curious spender.
Black, silver and red entwined imagery and each page edged in matte black, my supernatural and gothic fan-girl brain was flashing ‘go baby’.
It opens with a constant and anticipating play by play view of Luke Findley, a miserable doctor stuck in the daily grind of small town syndrome. Mix in a divorce and separation from his children and you’ve got the perfect candidate for loneliness and potential head in the oven.
Then enters youthful patient in handcuffs Lanny, getting a check up before she’s hauled away to the cop shop for a mysterious admission of murder.
It doesn’t take long to figure out that Lanny is no ordinary human and convinces Luke to help her escape – divulging her story as to how we arrived in the present.
Admittedly when I started reading I thought the story ahead of me was going to be a tad weak and a light read (remember it was in a sale bin!). Then I began to realise the complex layers of Lanny’s character, and I (and Luke) were taken on a twisted, dark and salacious journey.
Lanny’s tale starts as pure as possible, before her free will begins to fall from her grasp through society’s pitfalls, her foolish ideas of love and forces she didn’t understand before it was too late.
It jumps well between the past and the present allowing us to get close to Luke and understand his frame of mind.
Don’t mistake this for young adult fantasy romance gooey goodness. With each chapter and in turn more of the past revealed, you’re left thinking WT actual F. You can’t help but question your own mental survival limits.
Upon further research I was stoked to discover this is now a trilogy and also includes a separate novella. I’ll be jumping on The Reckoning in no time.
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