Young Adult Book Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
Series: Seeker #1
Author: Arwen Elys Dayton
Age Group: YOUNG ADULT
Genre Type: Fantasy
Publication Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.
Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin's new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her.
“She was a Seeker now, marked for life.
She had thought this brand would be an emblem of pride, but now it meant something entirely different. She was damned.”
The Seeker is about betrayal, it's a coming of age story where everything you thought was right and true is nothing but lies. The Seeker is a story about Quin, our heroine, who is training to become a Seeker. As part of an ancient family legacy, she will be able to wield a magical artifact once she completes her training, one that she is duty bound to use to protect others and to keep justice. Only, in this story, everything Quin has been led to believe about her training as a Seeker has been a lie.
Told through the four POV's of Quin, and her fellow seekers in training Shinobu and John, as well a mysterious figure know Maud, who we later learn is also the Middle Dread, the story does a wonderful job of showcasing each character's strengths and weaknesses. I was completely fascinated by this first 40% of the story. The intense training, the foreboding that something was wrong and being kept from Quin and Shinobu, the betrayal, Johns family ties to the Seekers and Maud's beginnings as a Dread all held my interest. Unfortunately, there was a lull in the plot, an area of mostly little action, where each character goes through a personal introspection or journey. I kept turning the pages hoping especially for Quinn and Shinobu to make it past this lull, this darkest moment. For me, this was a bit of a hard push to finish through, but I'm glad I did. Although, I fear many readers will give up at this point before the story has a chance to pull back in the plot pieces with clearer direction and pace.
There story has many fascinating elements, but can be confusing as it's a mash-up of genres including: Fantasy (there's a magical athame/dagger called The Finder of Hidden Ways), Science Fiction (use of time travel through anomalies that takes the reader from Scotland to a near-future Hong Kong), some Steampunk elements (an airship called the Traveler and mechanical weapons know as the Disruptors) all add interesting touch if you're willing to simply enjoy them without much explanation in the world-building as to why and how.
There's a lot of things going on in this story, interesting things, but too many are left with a vague sense of explanation, that by the end I was feeling anti-climatic. I wanted to know more about the family legacy. Why were certain families betrayed and where did the athame/lightening rods come from. There's mention of ancient traditions dating back to the Druids, and other clans or families of Seekers, each with their own emblems that are only touched on that I wanted to know more about. The origins of the Dreads are so vague. Are they human, from past and present, aliens - what?
In the end, the Seeker was a mixed bag of feelings for me. I went into the story enjoying the multiple POV much more than I expected and loved the mix of genres. The training, magic, and romantic thread all kept my interest. The middle though lulled some of my enjoyment and the end, though interesting, still left a very vague feeling to some of the more interesting aspects I wanted to know more about. This is one of those reads for me that I'm glad I pushed through because I did enjoy it despite some issues.
My Rating: 3 stars. I liked it despite some issues.
PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Delacorte Books for Young Readers in exchange for my fair review. Thank you, Delacorte Books for Young Readers for the review opportunity!