Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
BookCrushin is happy to present a guest review for the newly released young adult, fantasy novel Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton. Hope you enjoy our review & check out this highly recommended novel if you are a fan of this genre!
Category: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication: February 10th, 2015; Delacorte Press
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.
“I’m not a Seeker. I don’t think I’m even a person anymore. I’m a ghost waiting to die.”
What happens when everything you’ve been raised to believe in is a lie? When your entire purpose is erased, eradicated, leaving you with nothing?
“Seeker” tells the story of Quin, a loyal daughter who has been training her whole life to become a Seeker, someone who is sworn to protect the rest of humanity. Quin has been raised on tales of Seekers’ daunting acts of courage, weaned on the rules and legends of “Seeker-dom,” if you will. She wants nothing more than to follow in the magnanimous footsteps of her father Briac, her leader and trainer. She eats, sleeps, and breathes anything Seeker; think of her as being a willingly brainwashed victim in the cult of Seekerdom. Quin trains alongside Shinobu, her handsome and very, very distantly related cousin, and John, the boy who has captured her heart. The three of them are on the eve of becoming Seekers when everything they thought they knew is shattered, and they must choose between the lives written for them or lives of free will.
The word that comes to mind when thinking of “Seeker” is juxtaposition. Let me explain.
I started “Seeker” and was immediately enthralled; a fantasy novel about a girl who has to forge her own path, set in Scotland during medieval times? Hell, yes. Count me in. The settings were lush: meadows, old barns, crumbling castle ruins. Quin lived in a hut and trained in a barn. Her mother tended stew for dinner. And then…
…and then, two of our characters were leaving a tavern (a tavern, for goodness sakes!), and took a leisurely stroll past homes with televisions.
Wait, what? Televisions?
I literally had to reread that part. Like three times. Then I had to hop online and skim reviews on Amazon to make sure I wasn’t missing or misunderstanding something. Nope, I wasn’t. I settled back in and finished the book, slightly disappointed at and confused by the fact that our setting was not, in fact, during medieval years.
“Seeker” is a juxtaposition of the fantasy world with the modern world, old with new. The estate on which Quin grew up is isolated, fantastical, and old-world. It functions almost as a medieval feudal estate, and Quin’s family is at the top of the feudal chain. Then, after the first part of the book, the location switches and all traces of that rich Scottish landscape are gone. All traces of old-world lifestyles are gone. In fact, we are transported to one of the most modern places on earth. The idea of time as another dimension is prevalent throughout the story, so I couldn’t help but wonder if Quin’s estate represented time travel/living in another dimension. As a former English lit minor in college, I really wanted to dissect this book and its themes, and assign far more meaning to each sentence than it is probably supposed to contain.
When the book switches locations, it loses a little bit of its magic. The settings grow harsh, metallic, and empty—perhaps to mirror the characters’ own situations. I’ve spent so much time talking about the setting because it is its own character. It is as important to this story as Quin, John, and Shinobu, if not more so. I don’t think I’ve ever had a book setting affect me so greatly.
The story is complex, layered like seven types of dip. People aren’t who they seem. People change, sadly, out of guilt or obligations. I watched a character devolve before my eyes, turning from hero to enemy by the end of the book. I’m still mourning that character change, though I understand that it is essential for the series.
There is a lot of violence in the book. It isn’t a typical young adult book. It focuses on teenagers but these characters are hardened, wise and mature beyond their years. They engage in violence nobody else can imagine, with no adults questioning the violence. I wasn’t bothered, as it fit with the story, but some people might be bothered.
“Seeker”: 5/5 Stars: Smart writing, amazing imagery, passionate, frustrating, gorgeous, witty, complex, sweet, unlike anything I’ve ever read. It is definitely not for everyone, but I loved it.
“Have you no respect? This is my formal tank top, isn’t it?” – One character addressing his son’s critique of his fashion choices.
“There are the three dimensions we see, and the one we feel—time. But there are more. Curled up within the smallest vibrations of the universe, there are other dimensions.” –A character explaining the concept of time travel.”
“‘You got my lips!’ he exclaimed.
They broke apart, and each began spitting furiously on the ground.
‘Why do grown-ups like it?’ she asked.
‘Will we be strange when we grow up, do you think?’
‘Definitely,’ he said, and he kissed her again.”
Guest Reviewer: Sara Meadows
Sara Meadows is a busy mom who, when not hanging out with her family, loves reading, scrapbooking, watching anything to do with superheroes, and correcting other people’s grammar as politely as possible. Originally from Pennsylvania, Sara lives in Virginia with her husband, three children, and three animals. She reads all types of fiction, and couldn’t possibly choose a favorite book if her life depended upon it.