Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
Book One of the Seeker series
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
For readers of A Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games comes an epic new series.
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.
What I Liked:
I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting by the time I got around to reading this book. I heard various things from other bloggers that deterred me a bit, not from reading the book altogether, but from reading it sooner. As with all of my review books, I have every intention of reading and reviewing those I request and/or receive. I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed this book, after putting it off (unnecessarily, in the end).
Quin and her companions John and Shinobu are so close to taking their Oaths to become Seekers. Quin and Shinobu are ready - their fathers trained them well for this. Quin's father, Briac Kincaid, and Shinobu's father Alistair McBain, are ruthless Seekers, training them hard. John is somewhat of an outcast - sent to train with Briac at an "old" age (twelve, versus eight). Briac does not allow John to take his Oath, claiming he is not yet ready. But Quin and Shinobu take their Oaths... and discover that the idea of a Seeker is quite different from the actual life of one.
Quin is fifteen at the start of the book, and sixteen by the book's end. There are several parts to this book. Quin, Shinobu, and John are close to taking their Oaths. Quin and Shinobu take their Oaths, but Briac does not allow John to do so. John is sent back to his grandfather. But John is on a mission to recover something of his family - something that Briac has. So John comes back to the mission and attacks Briac. Shinobu and Quin escape, but Quin is shot, wounded. Shinobu takes her to Hong Kong, where Quin is healed, but loses all of her memories. Shinobu leaves her with Fiona, Quin's mother. Months pass... and then John reappears. Shinobu goes back to Quin, one way or another. And Quin slowly starts regaining memories.
The first half of the book seemed a bit slow. This was everything before Quin loses her memory. Usually, I'm not a fan of books which feature a protagonist losing his/her memory, especially for so long (usually, the character gets their memory back), but I think it worked well as a plot device in this book. The first half really set up the world and conflict in the book, but it was a bit slow. Just a note.
I thought it was interesting and kind of cool how the author withheld things from the reader, until the end of the book. This book is written in third person, but there are many different perspectives featured. Quin, Shinobu, John, and another character are featured. But the book is completely in third person. So the author CAN withhold information. An important part of the Oath ceremony thing is not revealed until later in the story, for example. I was so curious as to what happened, and when it was finally revealed, I was like OHHH. Makes sense.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the story. Despite the initial lag, I couldn't find myself putting this one down. I told myself I'd only have time to read half of the book on one day, and the other half the next day. But I ended up reading the entire book when I started it. Always a good sign.
I liked Quin. She is a great fighter and totally meant to be a Seeker. In the beginning, she (and Shinobu) follow their fathers blindly. John is working under his own agenda, so he always knew better. Quin runs, hides behind her shield of no memories, but eventually becomes a determined warrior. Shinobu is similar - he runs, hides behind the lure of drugs, but eventually, fights back.
Johns is an... intriguing character. Like I said, we get his (and several other characters') perspectives. He may come across as the story's "villain", given the synopsis, but if you look at his motives, his intentions are true. He wants to restore his family's honor - what's wrong with that? I really sympathized with John, though I questioned his ways about doing things.
Okay, okay, the romance. John has been in love with Quin since they met. Quin has been in love with John since they met. Childhood love is beautiful, but if there is one thing that I've learned, from YA books, it's that if there is love in the beginning of the series, there will almost always be another love interest introduced. Shinobu has always been there, and has always loved Quin, but she never paid him much attention. But they're running from John, and then Shinobu leaves her memory-less. Confusing, eh? Quin doesn't remember anyone, but comes to know that John is not really a good guy, and Shinobu is trying to help her.
So, love triangle verdict: yes. Yes, this book (and probably, the entire series) has a love triangle. It's not bothering me so much at the moment, because the lines have been drawn (especially after reading the very last paragraph of the book), but I can see how the author COULD potentially mix things up.
Anyway, the romance wasn't the whole story. The romance isn't a driving factor in this book... maybe for John, but not really. I really enjoyed the story, the world, the high stakes that Dayton has created. I'm excited to read book two, Traveler!
What I Did Not Like:
See what I said above, about the love triangle. It's there. It exists. I don't like love triangles at all, but this one isn't bothering me too much at the moment. I actually like all three protagonists (Quin, Shinobu, John), despite one of them being the "villain" in the book, and one of them being a total drug addict. But... love triangle. Grrr.
I think this will come later in the series, but I wanted more in terms of the Seeker business. There was a lot going on in this book, and I hope that the true nature and duty of a Seeker is exposed more in book two.
Would I Recommend It:
Despite the love triangle, I liked this book a lot. I can see why it has so much attention surrounding it, especially with the movie deal occurring before the first book is published. I'd recommend this one to epic fantasy readers who don't mind a more sophisticated kind of fantasy story. I'd almost say that this book resembled an adult fantasy fiction novel more than YA, but the age level is YA.
4 stars. So glad I decided to read this one - and so glad I ended up enjoying the book! I'll definitely be catching the next book in the series, Traveler. And I'll be watching the movie, whenever it is available in theaters!
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