Traveler by Arwen Ely Dayton
Book Two of the Seeker series
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
For readers of A Game of Thrones and Legend, Traveler, the sequel to Seeker.
Quin Kincaid is a Seeker. Her legacy is an honor, an ancient role passed down for generations. But what she learned on her Oath night changed her world forever.
Quin pledged her life to deception. Her legacy as a Seeker is not noble but savage. Her father, a killer. Her uncle, a liar. Her mother, a casualty. And the boy she once loved is out for vengeance, with her family in his sights.
Yet Quin is not alone. Shinobu, her oldest companion, might now be the only person she can trust. The only one who wants answers as desperately as she does.
But the deeper they dig into the past, the darker things become. There are long-vanished Seeker families, shadowy alliances, and something else: a sinister plan begun generations ago, with the power to destroy them all.
The past is close. And it will destroy them all.
What I Liked:
I gave Seeker four stars but in hindsight, it was probably more of a three-star read. Traveler was better, in my opinion. If you had issues with Seeker, it's more than likely that you will enjoy Traveler more. This book seemed to make more sense! Sequels are often hit or miss in that aspect, so I'm glad Traveler was more of a "hit" overall.
Shinobu and Quin are back in Hong Kong, with Shinobu slowly healing. They're being hunted by strange boys who move like Seekers but aren't Seekers. The boys are after the athame that the Young Dread gave Quin. But why? As Quin and Shinobu discover more from Catherine's journal, they begin to understand what is at play, what is at stake, and how history is becoming real again.
One of the things that really stuck out to me was how many perspectives there were in this book. The whole book is written in third person POV, but it's not a dual POV book. We get Quin, Shinobu, Job, Maud (the Young Dread), but also some news perspectives - one of the boys hunting Quin and Shinobu, as well as a chapters that delve into the past, from the perspective of Catherine, John's mother. At first I was like, no way, this is too many! Quin, Shinobu, and John were enough! But as I was reading, the story really started to make sense with so many perspectives. I don't think the story would have flowed as well as it did without all of those perspectives.
I also really liked the historical chapters, which featured Catherine, approximately eighteen years before. Quin and Shinobu have been going through her journal, trying to figure out why Seekers are hunted. Year ago, Catherine was investigating the same thing, and so we get to experience her life eighteen years ago, before John was ever a thought in her mind. Usually I skip chapters that have "blasts from the past", but I loved reading about Catherine, and the information is so relevant and so necessary to understand the bigger picture.
I felt like I connected very strongly with Quin, Shinobu, John, and even the Young Dread. Quin and Shinobu are easy because they're our classic protagonist pair. John was an antagonist in Seeker, but he has a completely different role in this book, and I like him more. We get more insight on Maud (the Young Dread), and I like her a lot.
The story gets a lot more complex, from Seeker to Traveler. The Middle Dread is dead, but as it would turn out, he has an army of young boys who are still waiting for him to come back, and they will stop at nothing to get the athame from Quin. These boys are called Watchers, and they are very strange. One of them, Nott, is very important in the story.
I also found the world-building to be more striking in this book, the combination of fantasy and science. At times, this book reminded me of Sherry Thomas's Elemental trilogy (although NO ONE will ever compare to Titus!). Dayton has set up and manipulated a fascinating world! And the settings are very vivid and authentic.
I'll talk about the romance now - I am SO pleased to say that there is no love triangle in this book. There really wasn't one in Seeker, not quite, though in book one, John and Shinobu are both presented as potential love interests. But in this book, it's all Shinobu, and it's almost impossible for John to make an appearance as a love interest. I like how defined and definite Shinobu and Quin's relationship feels. It was strong in book one, but it is very solid in this book. Their relationship takes some turns that I really liked!
The ending is something that I mostly expected, but the very last lines were pretty shocking. Dayton did an excellent job of laying clues and foreshadowing for readers to kind of figure out what the ending will entail, but I still found the ending shocking. Cliffhanger indeed! I'll be tucking in for the long wait to Disruptor.
What I Did Not Like:
The ending is soooo cliffhanger-y! I had a feeling about most of the ending but I still want to grab everyone and hug them close.
Also, I will say that, while the beginning starts very excitingly. the middle of the book does drag a bit. Not enough for me to want to put the book down though. But this book is rather long - about 450 pages - and at times, it definitely felt that way.
Would I Recommend It:
If you liked Seeker, or even if you did not, I'd recommend you read this book. I'm not sure about those who haven't read Seeker - maybe hold off? It's a great science fiction and fantasy series, and now that the romance is squared away (literally from the start of Traveler, it's all Shinobu and Quin!), I am even more pleased with the series.
3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. Definitely worth reading, if you read Seeker (regardless of if you liked it or not). I can't wait to read Disruptor!
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