Sunday, March 1, 2015

Book Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

This book was not for me.
The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.

As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world. And she'll be with the boy she loves--who's also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.

Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought.

And now it's too late to walk away.

My Personal Review:

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton is imaginative and reveals the author's extreme creativity within it's pages.  Although this is considered a YA read and I am an OA (Older Adult), I chose to read this book because I occasionally like to suggest a good read to the young adults in my life.  

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton was released February 10, 2015 and is the first debut novel in a YA series.  At the beginning of this book, it is clearly defined that a "Seeker" is one who uses their skills to alter the world for the better;  a protector of the weak.  This knowledge of good verses evil and the idea of using one's talents to change the world to make it a better place give it a strong foundation for a wonderful book with many sequels.  The concept for the book is excellent.  There were many narratives I enjoyed within this book, but unfortunately, there were also many descriptions of violent acts that I did not relish.

I anticipated that the plot would move quickly into an evil underworld of deception, and while the work hints at that, I never fully grasped the complete picture.  Instead, the reader is frequently taken from here to "there" and back again through time travel provided by the special powers of the much sought after stone "Athame".  I found myself continuously turning back pages in an attempt to figure out what I had missed, due to the fact that I consistently was not making connections between events.  I easily envisioned the circular doors leading to new places, but struggled with the transitions between circumstances.  It became distracting and frustrating. 

The three main characters who are training to be Seekers are diverse and interesting.  Their interpersonal relationships with one another and their families draw the reader's attention.  The one area that is narrated in a very detailed manner, is the violent acts of murder and torture that occur in various parts of this book.  Many were extremely graphic and left me with a pit in my stomach.  In fact, the descriptions were so nauseating that had this not been a review copy and as such I had given my promise to read the work completely through, I would not have finished this book.  It was overdone and detracted from the fantasy.

The character's travels were also a bit too shallow for my liking.  I wanted to hear more of Scotland's rich history and visual beauty beyond just the casual comments about the castles and green meadows.  The complexity of Hong Kong could have been expounded upon to inform the reader of some of the culture as well.   Instead, the pages are filled with detailed descriptions of blood and gore, but no redeeming cultural values to at least off set the ridiculousness of overplayed violence.

In the end, the reader is left hanging, of course which is to be expected with a series.  The good part of the book is the mystery of wondering where it's going.  What will happen next?  If I keep reading will I understand this more?  The inferior parts of the book are the lack of fluidity and the violent acts.  The thought of my daughter reading about her "shirt being ripped open and her nipple being twisted" as a means of punishment for incorrect behavior is not a work I want to encourage her to read.  That particular incident is just one example of the many descriptive vile behaviors observed in this reading.

In the end, I am not sure that I will attempt to read the sequels to Seeker.  I'm guessing I'll probably pass.  

Thank you to Random House Children's Books for this review copy of Seeker through the Net Galley Review Program.  I was given this free copy in exchange for reading the book thoroughly and giving an honest review.  The opinions within this review are my own.

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