"Seeker" by Arwen Elys Dayton | Book Review
Series: Seeker (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Page Count: 448
First Published: February 10, 2015
As you can tell from my rating, Seeker is a fantasy novel I did not get along with. I very rarely leave a book unfinished—usually, I'm determined to finish whatever I've started, but after reading almost half of this (45% to be exact) I knew I had no desire to continue. This novel is said to be "for readers of A Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games", but let me assure you: it has nothing to do with either of those books. I really wish this book comparison as an marketing technique trend would stop.
At the beginning of the novel, we are introduced to three main characters: Quin, Shinobu, and John, who are in training to become Seekers. If you're wondering what a Seeker is, you'll be wondering that for a while. What we're told is that it's an old honorable tradition, and that a Seeker protects the weak and the wronged. That's as specific as the job description gets. However, there is a twist: apparently, the Seekers are not who they used to be, but once again nobody reveals what's wrong. Some of the adults know the truth, but they won't tell the trainees. Also, John knows what's wrong, but he won't warn anyone either—not even Quin, the girl he's in love with. Once the trainees take their oath, their lives are changed forever.
This sounds like a reasonably interesting premise, right? Here is the thing: there is so much withheld information, that you may start wondering if there is an explanation to begin with. The moment you think you will finally find out what's so terrible about Seekers, you don't—the chapter ends on a cliffhanger, and the next one begins after the "event". After reading almost half of Seeker, I still can barely explain what's going on. There is also this other group called Dreads, and I never understood what they were either, apart from being really fast and fighting really well.
The setting isn't any less confusing: it's future Scotland, the kind with aircars, sleek tall buildings, and advanced science, but somehow the Seekers seem like they're hundreds of years behind. They're still fighting with swords, and riding horses. They train with guns, but that's not a weapon they are meant to fight with. They talk about "choosing mates" at 16, and their parents' marriages were arranged. Why is this happening?
And then, of course, you will not forget that you're reading a Young Adult novel because you are immediately faced with a love triangle, that includes forbidden love. You will also be told how to pronounce words, and reminded on multiple occasions that alcohol is bad. As for the writing, I didn't think it was particularly special. The pacing was good, there was some decent action, and the characters weren't actually all that bad. But let's be honest: "not that bad" is not a rave review either.
Overall, Seeker lacked a lot of what I love about fantasy: complex and interesting world building, characters and circumstances I care about, anything that can be called "epic", or any kind of grit. I'm sorry, this just wasn't for me, and it's DEFINITELY not a blend of A Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games. If you want to read a fantasy series about a Seeker who fights evil alongside his companions, check out the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind instead.
Have you heard about Seeker? Are you planning to pick it up?
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley from Random House Children's in exchange for an honest review.