The blurb on this book says “For readers of A Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games comes an epic new series.” Sounds awesome, right? Someday I will remember that blurbs are written to sell me books and trust them a bit less.
Quin Kincaid is ready to take her Oath and become what she has trained to be her entire life. If she can pass her final test – and she knows she can – she will become a Seeker. Like her father before her and countless other generations of her family. This is her destiny, her legacy, her dearest wish.
Her other dearest wish is for the two boys who have trained with her – half Scottish, half Japanese Shinobu and her boyfriend, Englishman John, to join her in the Seeker ranks. Together they will protect the weak, right wrongs, avenge the innocent and punish the guilty.
But the test doesn’t go quite as planned. Quin and the others had all been prepared to show their skills with the whipswords (weapons that change their style of blade at the will of their user) but they had been unprepared for the disruptor. This vicious machine shoots out a crackle of electric sparks which destroy the mind of any victim it is aimed at. Suddenly the test becomes not just about fighting expertly but avoiding deadly peril.
Quin and Shinobu prove their skill but John freezes before the disruptor and has to be saved by his friends. He is kicked out of the program and Quin is left to mourn, knowing that she can not have a lover or mate who is not part of their lifestyle.
But the night she takes her Oath she finds out she should never have felt sorry for John. It is she who has been tricked, she is the one who has been lied to all her life. Being a Seeker is not about being noble and fighting on the side of right but getting wealthy and fighting on the side of might. Her father is no hero but a villain in disguise. Disappointed and disgusted, she also feels trapped. How can she escape someone so powerful? She knows he will never let her go.
Then something wonderful happens. After many months, John returns with armed men, determined to get her father’s Athame, a powerful tool which allows Seekers to jump between spaces. For various reasons, Quin does not use this opportunity to connect with John but to flee with her mother and Shinobu. She has left that world. But will it ever truly leave her?
In Seeker the author introduces us to a strange alternate reality earth where magic and everyday modern life exist side by side. Where druid like priest called Dreads monitor Seeker families as they vie to become the most powerful people in their magical world. And where good and evil take on new, murky meanings as young men and women determine just who to trust and what ultimately is the right thing to do.
And also try to figure out just whom they are in love with and whom they should hook up with.
On the positive side some interesting things happen in this book that will keep you engaged enough to keep reading. I was curious as to how things would work out for John, I was fascinated by the Young Dread Maud and her storyline and I was curious to know what Quin and Shinobu would do with their freedom.
There are also negatives however. One is that I never really connected with Quin, who is the central focus of the book. I couldn’t understand her decision making process and I felt like the author simply had her think and do things because they were where the author wanted to go, not where the story/character went. One moment in particular, when Quin had a chance to kill someone she knew was evil, and didn’t, stuck out as especially anomalous. She had been all excited to fight on the side of right and battle evil but when the chance came she didn’t step up. Many times I felt like Quin was the pretty girl in the midst of the real fighters who happened to be John, Shinobu and Maud. That didn’t endear her to me.
Another is that the world building didn’t impress me. The story didn’t have the strong urban fantasy vibe of J.R. Ward or the awesome alternate reality vibe of J.K. Rowling. I felt that a lot of things – the Seekers, Athames, whipswords – were variations of things very familiar to fantasy readers that didn’t have enough uniqueness to truly make them a part of a new magical world. It was like visiting our world with a few quirks thrown in for flavor.
The Young Adult Fantasy market is glutted right now. I’ve read quite a bit of what is out there and can say with surety this is far from the worst of what is being sold. It is also not the best of what is out there. If you’re an avid reader of this market and feel like you need something more to add to your TBR by all means check this out. Otherwise, I would recommend giving this a miss.