Some Do’s and One Don’t On Reading Alma Katsu’s The Taker & A Giveaway

This year I have been all about the paranormal. If things go bump in the night, if someone has magic powers, can’t ever die, drinks blood or casts spells, then I want to read about them. Enter Alma Katsu, with an offer to read her new novel, The Taker, which I have seen billed alternately as a romance, a paranormal romance, and maybe most accurately, a love triangle. Oh reader, when you read The Taker, you’re not in Kansas anymore. You have to come prepared with a very broad and flexible definition of the word romance. Only in the loosest and by the most generous of terms would I have ever called this a romance. It is in the sense that people love each other, which is, I guess, is romantic.

The Taker is out in the UK today, and was originally coming out in July in the US. The Powers That Be at Simon and Schuster pushed the release back to September 6, which is high praise and high hopes for a debut author and novel. When I consider the books I got at BEA last year, September had, by far, the biggest pile of books I have ever seen – and probably the season’s most ambitious. The Taker is now one of Simon and Schuster’s lead fall titles. Anyway, the UK book is gorgeous and one that a lucky reader will get the opportunity to win today, but the proposed US Cover is…well, accurate. In fact, I like it a lot. The Taker is haunting, and at this point in the trilogy, pretty bleak. If you want two gorgeous and minimally flawed characters for whom love conquers all, drop The Taker, and run, fast!

When I finished The Taker, I literally had no words, and after a few days and I e-mailed Alma and asked her if she knew, which of course she had to know – but I was in shock, that they were saying that her novel was a romance. In the two days that I could say nothing, I thought about my notions of romance and what was romantic, and thought a lot about what I expect when people tell me that I am about to read a romance.

So…a few guidelines…

Do read The Taker if..

  • You love rich, detailed and well-researched historical fiction.
  • You love reading about Colonial America, particularly Massachusetts.
  • You may not love, but don’t mind sex in books, not all of which will be “romantic”, heck, or even consensual.
  • You love reading about bad people and their love lives flawed, morally ambiguous people and their love lives.
  • You love seriously, maybe even tragically, flawed heroines.
  • You love books make you question the meanings and value of love and romance.
  • You love books that DON’T make you feel comfortable and that DON’T wrap up neatly in the end.

Don’t read The Taker if…

  • If even one of the above statements bothers you. And I’m not kidding. Not even a little bit.

If it means anything to you: 1) I will likely re-read some or all of this book at some point because I am still trying to wrap my brain around it, and 2) I can’t wait to see what happens next for Lanny, Luke, Adair and Jonathan.

So, I have done my bit, and will reserve further thoughts about The Taker until a little closer to the US release or next week. Who knows?

Wanna see what it’s about for yourself?


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    1. It’s for the US, but the copy of the book they win is the UK edition. The taker isn’t out in the US til September. It’s out in the UK today.

  1. Wow. Love the UK cover and the book sounds fantastic. The list hits everything I’ve been looking for in a book lately too.

  2. I have had the pleaseure of meeting Alma, an outstanding woman! She’s a local author to me which makes me even more excited about this book. I’m starting it this weekend; I’ve taken a day off of work to savor it.

  3. This sounds very interesting and clearly you love it (which says a lot about a book as far as I’m concerned) but I think I’m going to pass. I’m not the biggest fan of paranormal and paranormal romances. I’m so glad you loved it. Isn’t wonderful when a book leaves you speechless? I hope your next read is just as good.

    1. Except it really isn’t paranormal Martha. There are people who are immortal, but the books deal a lot with what the reality of that looks like. How do you live day by day when you’re going to life forever?

  4. I’m not sure I can answer those questions! I don’t know! But you have my curiosity whizzing out of control so I have to put my name in the hat.

    1. Sandy, you know your answer is yes to everything! Worse comes to worst, it’ll make you have a glass of wine. Anything that leads to wine can’t be all bad, can it?