***** NOT A TEACHER *****
(1) I am certainly no writer, but I feel that most writing teachers would not
be too happy with your second sentence.
(2) I think that a writer has to always think about his/her reader.
(3) When someone reads "The toll it has taken ...," s/he will stop reading
and ask him-/herself: "What is it?" In other words, you have lost your
reader. And good writers don't want to do that!
(4) I think that your first sentence is excellent. I would also add the
relative pronoun "that" after toll -- to make it perfectly clear to the reader.