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Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
Series: Seeker #1
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published on: February 10 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
One StarOne Star
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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.


!@#$ wtf2 twisted

My mother and I were at constant loggerheads when I was growing up, and the reason for that was simple: she hated being questioned as much as I hated being expected to blindly follow orders.

It was a problem.

Stubbornly, she’d rail at me, demanding I do things “b/c I said so” (<------not a reason), and equally stubbornly, I'd demand to know why . . . and despite her having all the power, and my stubbornness resulting in constant groundings, I never stopped demanding to know why I should or shouldn’t do a thing.

NEVER.

Am I comparing my mother to the particularly nasty breed of mercenary that Quin (our MC)’s father Briac is?

No . . . well, maybe a little bit . . .

I’m kidding! *whispers* Kind of . . .

But I am explaining why I have a hard time being sympathetic to Quin and Shinobu (her cousin . . . sort of . . . )’s situation.

As hard as I tried to walk in their shoes, being “raised to obey Briac’s word as law,” was never going to be a circumstance I could empathize with.

Add to that the willful memory loss of one, and the rampant drug use/general recklessness of the other as coping mechanisms, and . . . yeah . . . REALLY not feeling these characters.

But there’s a reason for that: the more a work of fiction resembles reality, the less I am likely to enjoy it.

I know that about myself. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a thing. So if you like grittier plot lines where the characters behave disreputably, either b/c they are in fact disreputable and embrace it, or b/c they are weak, and deal with their guilt in realistic, vice-filled ways, then you might really like this book.

I didn’t have the same problems with Seeker that a lot of other readers had. As brief as the synopsis is, I actually read it (for once), and I thought it explained the situation fairly well. Quin has been trained all her short life to be a Seeker. She’s been told countless stories detailing the noble exploits of past Seekers. But when she actually becomes a Seeker herself, she discovers that she has been misled (<------gross understatement). What exactly is a Seeker?

Well, I’ll grant you that it was never said outright, but it was pretty obvious to me that a Seeker was a member of an organization of highly trained warriors whose purpose was to objectively right wrongs (whatever that means).

BUT.

Over time, that organization has become corrupt, and they are now nothing more than an unscrupulous band of assassins. This transpired without intervention from the leadership, b/c, as is often the case with supremely long-lived beings, the person in charge is almost completely removed from the world, trusting his younger (though still very, very old) mentees to alert him to anything warranting his attention. BUT the elder of the two mentees is clearly corrupt himself.

Another complaint I’ve seen a lot is poor world-building, and it was definitely not a strength. However, as the world pretty clearly resembles our own, I didn’t find the lack of explanation too upsetting. I just assumed it was 100(ish) years in the future. The end. *shrugs*

Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

And yet . . .

Seeker is pitched as a book that defies genres. And that’s true. But unlike other genre-defying books, for example, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, the various genres didn’t really mesh together well. DoS&B is part urban fantasy, part fantasy, and it works b/c it takes place in two separate worlds. In comparison, Seeker tries to be both science fiction and fantasy in the same world . . . and it’s a house divided against itself.

The problem with trying to write a traditional “high” fantasy-type book, but having it take place in the modern (or slightly in the future) world is that who cares about a magic ATH-uh-may that cuts through space (like a . . . knife *rolls eyes*) when you could just take an airplane like a normal assassin? I mean, there are “air cars” that presumably fly, and I’m pretty sure they still have normal airplanes in addition to the weird airship thing that one of the characters lives on (and if they don’t, that’s stupid). And yeah, a magical cuts-through-space-like-a-Stargate-wormhole-knife is slightly more convenient . . . but only slightly. *shrugs*

Modernity kind of steals fantasy’s thunder . . .

And then there’s John. John is also an MC, but he’s a bit separate from Quin and Shinobu, b/c his main goal is vengeance. So focused is he on restoring his family to its former glory, and avenging his ancestors, including, but not limited to his mother (whom he watched die at the hands of a rival Seeker when he was child) that he justifies the basest of tactics to achieve his goal.

So the best bet of a sympathetic character becomes as disgusting and pathetic as all the others.

Overall, I had too many objections to enjoy Seeker. The writing was mediocre at best, the mashup of genres made the individual elements less compelling, and the MCs behaved abominably, either b/c they didn’t have the strength of character to disobey a clearly treacherous leader, or b/c they’re so fixated on retribution that they willfully become that which they hate. Not recommended.

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Jessica Signature

One StarOne Star

My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.

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58 Comments

  1. Great review. Yes, I am one of the readers that had a problem with the Seeker because of all the unanswered questions. You have to admit that your description of a Seeker is pretty vague . . . just like the book. 🙂 Sounds like you had different issues with it. I hope you enjoy your next read a bit more. 🙂
    Cynthia recently posted…Mini-Reviews: Infinity + One, Fangirl, I’ll Give You the Sun and The Year of Reading Dangerously

    • I did admit it, LOL. I just have a greater capacity for inferring under the circumstances this book presented. But under other circumstances . . . not so much. And yes, ultimately, it doesn’t matter much, b/c I still hated it 😉

  2. Man, you have not been lucky wuth books lately! This is the first I’ve heard of this book but from your review, I don’t think I’ll try it out. I mean, I’ve never read Daughter of Smoke and Bone but you’re explanation about 2 genres working make sense…this doesn’t. I feel like it’s trying to do waaaay to many things: realistic, cross genre and all that. It just didn’t work. Lovely review Jessica!
    Amir recently posted…Gushing and Ravings #5: If Not for You, Bloggers

    • YOU ARE NOT JOKING. Especially on the YA front. Sure, I loved Seraphina and Poison Study, but those were both rereads. The only new YA book I’ve had luck with lately was Half the World. *whispers* I didn’t even like A Court of Thorns and Roses all that much. And I love SJM. o.O

      Anyway, yes, I would avoid it, and thanks, Amir 😉 You’re a peach!

  3. “Seeker tries to be both science fiction and fantasy in the same world . . . and it’s a house divided against itself.”
    ^^^uh-oh this sounds like author took bigger pill that she was able to swallow :/ Modern and fantasy world just do not mix well. I will probably pass.
    Adore your review 🙂
    Lucia recently posted…REVIEW: By Any Other Name by J.M. Darhower

    • “Modern and fantasy world just do not mix well.”

      No. They do not. At ALL 😉

      Thanks, Lucia!

  4. I so didn’t like this one and almost DNFed it, but finished it hoping it would get better but it didn’t. You gave it more stars than me. 🙂
    Stormi recently posted…Murder at the Reinhart|Part Two: Laura Bradford

  5. Oh no! This is one on my TBR list but I have a sneaky suspicion it will be moved further down the list. Now I wish I hadn’t hit that request button on NetGalley. 😉
    Ginny recently posted…EIGHT MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR AUTHORS by Author Eva Pohler

    • Same thing just happened to me with Shadow Study, LOL. I wonder sometimes . . . is it better to procrastinate, and wind-up never reading a book (that you tacitly agreed to read by accepting an ARC), or is it better to bite the bullet and get-r-done? I don’t know. *shrugs*

  6. This was such torture for some many of us to read which was a shame because I really do think it had potential!
    kindlemom1 recently posted…WoW Pick of the Week!

    • It didn’t for me. Even though TONS-o-bloggers didn’t like this book, I still managed to be the odd duck, LOL. I understand what you’re saying, b/c yes, for those of you who were upset about the lack of detail, lots of potential. I, however, hated the characters.

      Again, I’ve said this before, but there are just some things that I can never come back from. And what they did on for their trial? I don’t care if Quin almost didn’t go through with it. She got caught, and she did it. I’m unfortunately strong-willed about these types of things. *snorts*

  7. Thanks for taking one for the team. I DNF this book because of all the things you listed …but I didn’t connect with anyone 🙁
    julie recently posted…This Heart of mine & proof of Forever

    • Lack of connection is one thing, and that can definitely ruin a book for me (b/c character-driven reader), but this was so much worse than that. I straight up hated them ALL. The only character I had any patience for was the youngest Dread. The rest of them? Kill ’em with FIRE.

  8. Sorry this wasn’t a great read for you. I have a hard time with a book when there’s just way too much going on, sounds like this fits into that category!

    • Yeah, there was definitely a lot going on . . . among other things, LOL. It was just bad all around.

  9. I’ve read so many disappointing reviews for this book, but (yesterday I think?) Anya gave it a positive review and I think I’ve decided to give it an audio try. You’re review kinda confirmed that I might like it – I like situations that are a bit too real sometimes. And characters that seem unredeemable. There’s plenty that worries me, but I’ve reached the point where I’ll have to see for myself. Great review!
    Berls recently posted…March 2015 Take Control Of Your TBR | I’m SO in!

    • I wish you the best of luck! And yes, liking more reality in your books than I do will be a definite help 😉

  10. Shelley reviewed this for my blog, and though she liked it a tad better than you did, I can tell she was irritated by a few things based on her sarcastic review. I wouldn’t be able to stand this novel based on y’all’s reviews.

    • That’s the lovely thing about blogging and being friends with bloggers—occasionally you aren’t the person taking one for the team 😉

  11. Fantastic review Jessica! It seems that we share a common trait, that is asking the why’s and why for’s of everything, and it seems that I was luckier as a child because my parents decided to work with that and always tried reasoning with me instead of the “because I said so” method. That can be a bit worrisome with books and series because I get stuck with a book or a series just because I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS OR THE REASON BEHIND IT OR SOLVE THE MYSTERY!!! And then I read 4 books in a series that I really don’t enjoy much just because I NEED TO KNOW!

    I was confused about the is this fantasy, is this real life? feeling of this world, because being both science fiction and fantasy with some steampunk thrown in for good measure was confusing, but I did manage to enjoy the book much more than you did.
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #83!!

    • YES. Lucky, indeed 😉

      And I’m glad you were able to somewhat enjoy the book. As for the SFF + steampunk feel, it kind of reminded me of that movie with Angelina Jolie—do you know what I’m talking about? Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, I think it was.

  12. I really struggled with this one as well Jessica, if for slightly different reasons. Like you, I understood the basic concept of a Seeker and their purpose, but I found the lack of history as to how things managed to get so corrupt made it difficult for me to really feel the full weight of Briac’s betrayal. *sigh* Just couldn’t get into this one! Maybe book 2 will see a better blend of the various genres, but I’m not sure I’m going to be willing to give that one a go when it comes time.

    • It’s kind of mind-blowing, the myriad different reasons we all have for not liking this book, LOL. There’s the basic, 1. I didn’t like the characters, or 2. Not enough explanation, but from there . . . limitless ways to take umbrage.

  13. This was a mixed bag for me. I really enjoyed the beginning but so many things, interestingly things, were left with little explaining.
    Maybe the next book will have those answers …
    Great review, Jessica! 🙂
    Kim recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday: Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas

    • Well, if you’re a brave enough soul to give the next book a shot, I look forward to your feedback 😉 Thanks, Kim!

  14. Spot on review. You were kinder to it in your rating than I was, but “WTF” and “TWISTED” indeed. So much potential. Such disappointing execution.
    Mogsy recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday 02/25/15

    • Thanks, Mogsy! I think it was easier for me to cut this one slack b/c I hated it less than RED QUEEN. If I’d read them months apart . . . who knows?

  15. Hmmm not for me I think.
    Aurian recently posted…Recommendations from Karin for February 2015.

  16. Another great review – I guess this is going to turn into a habit, huh? 🙂 Found you on GR and liked and friended, and went through the trial that should reveal to you my worthiness or lack thereof… LOL. Right, onto the review. I agree that empathizing with characters that toe the line blindly is something I struggle with as well. It can make sense, as you detailed yourself, but it doesn’t sound like this is a particularly convincing account. Which is my way of saying bleh.

    Also, I like to be able to root for a character, truly and deeply, with trembling hands and half-strangled sounds that will see my husband eyeing me with an expression that is half worry, half oh-my-god-I-married-a-lunatic. And your review convinced me that I ain’t getting that from this book. Thus, I shall skip it. Sigh.

    Can’t wait for your next review. Keep’ em coming – I’ll keep on reading.
    Ramona recently posted…Book Buying Habits

    • Thanks, Ramona! And I hope so, LOL. You already now that I accepted you like 30 seconds later 😉 And I’m the same way. I am 100% a character-driven reader, and my husband and your husband would have a lot to discuss, I think. Anyway, NO, you would not find that here.

      Have you ever been closely acquainted with someone, right on the cusp of real friendship, and then they confide in you, telling you about something they’ve done, something from their past, and whatever it is, is so awful, so despicable and cowardly, that despite your best efforts, your perception of them is forever altered, and friendship is no longer on the table? It’s only happened to me once. As hard as I am on fictional characters, in real life, I’m not so judgmental, but THAT is what these characters made me feel.

  17. Fantastic review, Jess. Why can’t I explain my thoughts as well as you do?! Lol. Unfortunately, this book will not make an appearance on my shelves because: a.) I don’t like high-fantasy; and b.) drug-use? Nope. Just nope.

    So yeah. I think I’ll pass.
    Joy recently posted…Morsels [#15]: Beautiful Bastard Novellas by Christina Lauren

    • Thank you, Joy! And pfft to the other. Yeah, drug use is a major book turnoff (and real life turnoff too, for that matter), but fantasy . . . fantasy I LOVE 😉

  18. I’ve missed your reviews Jessica!
    I’m sad to see this is only 2 stars because it’s fantasy. I do love my fantasy. I also like the cover. But based on your review and at least one other I think that maybe this wouldn’t work for me either. I can handle the drug use if it’s made clear that it’s bad. Of course it depends on the drug and it’s effects (and reasons for being used) but I’m assuming it’s kind of bad here.
    Too bad. 🙁
    Candace recently posted…Confident Reads: Ahmad Ardalan, author of ‘The Gardener of Baghdad’

  19. Not the first troublesome review about this book and its characters. I think I’ll heed the warnings.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…To Be or Not to Be…Read TBR Pile Vote February

  20. Yea, I always worry that when a book tries to mesh genres that it can be trickier than first thought. Sometimes it is beyond the author’s ability. Too bad it doesn’t work here. Hm… I do think I’ll pass on this one.
    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki

  21. I would get so annoyed so just no
    blodeuedd recently posted…A ghostly undertaking – Tonya Kappes

  22. I hate when I can’t connect with the main characters. It is rare that I enjoy a book and hate the MC’s (though it *has* happened!) It seems as if nothing with this book really meshed with you though. 🙁 I hope the next book you read is much better!
    Sarah recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #5 | The Night We Said Yes

  23. Yep, I’m one of those reviewers who not only had problems with Seeker, but who DNFed it as well. I DID want to get to the end, but as much as I tried…

    It didn’t work out too well. It’s like Delirium – fab idea, poor execution. 🙁
    Sophia recently posted…Review: Henge by Realm Lovejoy

  24. OH, I don’t think it’d work for me either. Fantasy has to make sense to me, and if it doesn’t I’m out of there. The author hardly ever has another chance to make me believe his story.
    Great review, good points 🙂
    Thank you Jessica.
    Lupdilup recently posted…The Raven Audiobook by Sylvain Reynard (review)

  25. Kudos for finishing this I made it to about 100 pages and no, just no

  26. I actually DO like realistic books, even if they are supposed to be fantasy or whatnot, but your review of this pointed out a lot of other things that I think I just wouldn’t enjoy. Sorry it was a bit of a let down!

    -lauren
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Some Fine Day Launch Giveaway

  27. Ugh, my co-blogger did not like this book either. I honestly don’t think I’ll even give this a try because first, not my genre.. second, it seems soooo looong and third, just by thinking of reading it makes me bored already 😛 Great review, Jessica! <3
    Paula M. recently posted…Bookish Thoughts #004: Instalove And Why I Hate It More Than Economics

  28. None on the reviews I saw about this book were really good I confess so I passed but I’m sorry it was the same for you Jessica. I hope your next read will be better.

  29. Jessica, you’re having a run of less-than-stellar reads, aren’t you? Well, at least the last two? I hope your current read is wow-ing you because it’s not fun to read yuck books! I admit to seeing Seeker at the bookstore and being curious but not curious enough to even pick it up to read the synopsis. I’m guessing it put out some kind of vibe that warned me away. 😉 I’m sorry you spent time on this one but I do appreciate you entertaining me with the reasons I should not read it. *grins*
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…#2015HW, #ShelfLove Review ~ Breathe ~ Abbi Glines

  30. Your reviews are the highlight of my day…that bit about you and your mom killed me! *snorts* Seriously and I need that today! 😉 It really stinks when a book is disappointing and I had quite a few of those in January until you recommend book that I MUST read. *high fives* I’m gonna say it because I want to but you know what I’m gonna say….your reviews are amazing! Seriously!
    Cristina recently posted…Sea of Stars (Kricket #2) by Amy A. Bartol

  31. To be quite honest, something about this book gave me ‘the vibes’ from the start. The you-won’t-enjoy-this-one-Lily-so-stay-away ones. So I listened and now reading your review i’m kind of happy I did.
    Mediocre writing is not fun and a character who doesn’t sit well with you is even worse. HOPEFULLY your next read is more enjoyable Jessica!
    Lily recently posted…Book Talk: Station Eleven

  32. AW, sorry to hear that you experienced a lot of the same issues.

  33. I can definitely see why you didn’t feel as great with this one, Jessica. It definitely sounds like it’s trying to be too original, but ends up being a pile of mush that don’t make sense. Reminds me of this blogger’s post where she couldn’t really read this particular book anymore because of the slurs used by the MC unnecessarily, slurs that were used in the 1700s-1800s. She took it up with the publisher, and the publisher was like, it was necessary to make it authentic to the times it was set in… but… the book was science fiction steampunk… 1800s with airships and all that… so it was seriously weird to insist it was historical fiction when… it wasn’t??? IDK.

    In any case, this book has been marketed so much as the NEXT BIG IT but it just doesn’t feel that way to me. Too many negative reviews for this one for me to even consider. Even you gave it 2 stars, and that’s not too hot in my dictionary, so definite pass for me.
    Faye M. recently posted…Review + Interview + PH Giveaway: The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes

  34. Ah Jessica, I’ve missed your reviews! You know what, the MC’s journey to become a seeker actually reminds me of all the idealistic views I had of work while I was at uni and then getting into the workforce and thinking I had been mislead lol! The world sounds really interesting though. Great review!
    Jeann recently posted…Double Review: Kiss the Sky and Hothouse Flower by Krista & Becca Ritchie

  35. I liked this one a little bit more than you, but the reasons that I was frustrated with it were pretty much the same as yours – these characters just weren’t likable at all! But I actually really liked the Dreads – wish the whole book had just been about them!
    Nicole recently posted…Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton – Review

  36. I’m sorry to hear this was a disappointment Jessica, I haven’t seen it around before now and I’m not much of a fantasy fan so I think I’l most definitely be passing on this one – it sounds like a mixed up mess. I hope your next read is a good one.

    A wonderful, honest review! Sharon – Obsession with Books
    Sharon – Obsession with Books recently posted…Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oak) by Miranda Kenneally

  37. With all those problems you were a trooper by finishing it. Not for me… Next.
    BookaholicCat recently posted…Movie Trailer: Tomorrowland

  38. I was exactly the same as you when I was a kid, haha. Still am, lol. I would definitely have a tough time empathizing with the characters too.
    I loved your point about mixing sci-fi and fantasy, the idea doesn’t appeal to me either. Overall, it doesn’t sound like something I’d wanna try, that’s for sure. 🙁
    Livia recently posted…Indie Flutters: Indulging in Irelyn + Being Zolt by D.L. Raver