Monday, February 9, 2015


Title:  Seeker
Author:  Arwen Elys Dayton
Publication Information:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers. 2015. 448 pages.
ISBN:  0385744072 / 978-0385744072

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "It would be nice to make it through alive, Quin thought."

Favorite Quote:  "Great minds are not what's wanted. Only good hearts, Good hearts choose wisely."

The major theme of this book is power. What will someone do to get power? What controls can an outside party exert over those who hold the power? How does power corrupt? What happens when those who hold the power to do good use it for evil instead? What would you do if you had the power?

In this case, the power is held in objects called athame. Several athame exist, and, at one time, belonged to a set of families and were passed down generation to generation. The reader knows that more existed in the past than do now, and and that they have changed hands and been stolen in feuds between families. However, the back story on how these objects came to be and on the relationships between the families is never fully explored although it forms the basis of the conflict in this story.

The three main characters in the book, Quin, Shinobu, and John, are from three families, each of whom once had custody of an athame. The three are looking to become seekers. The book never clearly explains what a "seeker" is, but two things do become clear. The role of a seeker has to do with wielding the power of the athame, and that the reality of being a seeker now is not what these young people imagined. Again, the difference between their vision of a seeker's role and the reality is not clearly explained but implied throughout the book. The history of what seekers once were is also never explained.

In addition to the human characters, the book has characters called the Dreads. They appear to be the control in the system. Their role is to observe the humans, their interactions, and their use of the power of the athame. Even with the Dread, the question of power comes up. What happens when those who are supposed to be the regulators bend the rules to achieve their own goals? What happens when rules are not fairly applied? What happens when the observers become participants?

This book takes place in three major settings - a Scotland estate which appears almost medieval, Hong Kong which appears more modern day, and a futuristic London. The time placement of the book is not clear, but the differences between the locations create a clear divide in the action. In addition, the route between these settings in the book is only described as "There." It is unclear if "there" is a place, a jump in the time/space continuum, or another dimension. In this book, characters lose time "there," but their only realization of that is when they emerge into one of the locations. So, information on the time setting of the book and on "There" is lacking.

The book leaves a lot unexplained. It moves between locations and moves between the perspectives of the main characters. This book is the first in a planned series. Perhaps, subsequent books will fill in some of the gaps. Even if they don't, the gaps do not appear incongruous in the story. It is as if the book creates an outline, leaving a reader's imagination to fill in some of the details. The book moves quickly and is action filled, making it a fun read. I look forward to the next book in the series, both to follow along in the story and to see if more of an explanation is forthcoming.

The marketing for the book may do this book a disservice. Some of the publicity draws comparisons to The Hunger Games and Divergent. I don't find either comparison accurate. This book is more fantasy than dystopian in nature and more centered on family dynamics and a clash of clans than either of the other two. The medieval feel of the Scotland setting also gives this book a different flavor than the other two. So, my suggestion is to not compare, to suspend disbelief, and to spend an enjoyable few hours with a fun, fast-paced story.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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