Book Review: Seeker

Seeker (Seeker #1)
Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Page Count: 448
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Science Fiction, Fantasy

Seeker is the story of Quin, John and Shinobu who have trained for years to become Seekers. They have become fighters of considerable strength and prowess in the belief that they will use those skills to help right the wrongs of the world. On the eve of taking their formal vows and entering the world of the Seekers, John is kicked out of training. Then, Quin and Shinobu take on their first mission as Seekers and find they’ve been betrayed into becoming assassins by those who should have had their best interests at heart. 

I love it when authors are not afraid to inflict pain on their characters, and man is Arwen Elys Dayton good at it! Parental betrayal? Oh yes. In love with the daughter of the man who killed your mom? You bet. Wildly different, yet somehow equally self-destructive “coping” mechanisms? Yep. Seeker is definitely not a light read; it contains enough darkness and emotional trauma to satisfy even the most angst seeking reader. The journey some of these characters make from victims to self-possessed heroes is a torturous one. Dayton pulls no punches here. 

Beyond the characters, I found Dayton’s Seekers and their culture intriguing, though not entirely consistent. First, let me say that I want a whipsword, the shape-changing whip that can turn into any blade you want -- coolest non-projectile weapon ever! But, and this is a big one, why would they not train with other weapons? The characters do use guns occasionally, but the primary weapon is the whipsword. If you’re going to be saving the world (or becoming as assassin), wouldn’t you want knowledge of poisons, antidotes, darts, garrotes, etc.? 

 My biggest gripe with the story is that there is little plot resolution. I am a bit of a traditionalist on this point -- stories should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. The beginning was amazing, but the middle of the book wandered around and I never felt totally clear on where the plot was going. Regarding the ending, there were too many unsettled issues and unsolved problems for me to be at ease with how the story ended. I understand that there are more books planned in the series, and I’m fine with a few unresolved threads to temp me into the next book, but I like to read a story feeling like I’ve gotten a complete one. Seeker didn’t really do that for me. 

 I really want to give it 3.75 birdies, but I’m going with a 4 birdie review because the characters experienced real change. And because, whipswords!

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.