Reviewer Ekta Garg: Ekta has actively written and edited since 2005 for publications like: The Portland Physician Scribe; the Portland Home Builders Association home show magazines; ABCDlady; and The Bollywood Ticket. With an MSJ in magazine publishing from Northwestern University Ekta also maintains The Write Edge- a professional blog for her writing. In addition to her writing and editing, Ekta maintains her position as a “domestic engineer”—housewife—and enjoys being a mother to two beautiful kids.
Publisher: Delacorte Press
After spending her whole life training for what she thought was a noble calling, a teen learns that the position actually requires her to participate in less-than-honorable acts. The boy she considers the love of her life becomes driven by his own ambition, and the teen realizes she must go the edge of herself and life before she can save those most precious to her. Author Arwen Elys Dayton gives readers an admirable new heroine in the exciting YA novel Seeker.
Quin Kincaid knows two things for sure: she has always wanted to be a Seeker, and John is the boy she loves. As they train alongside Shinobu, Quin’s distant cousin, to prepare for the final test that will allow them to take their Oath, Quin thinks she sees a clear path in front of her. She and John will spend their lives searching for injustice and making it right, the calling of all Seekers for generations before them. Her father, Briac, has invested a considerable amount of time in training Quin, John, and Shinobu, and while Briac can be hard on his pupils Quin feels he employs stringent ways to make them tougher and prepare them for their calling.
Trouble begins to ripple across the surface when John fails the final test and Quin and Shinobu pass. Quin tries to balance her disappointment for John with her excitement for herself and Shinobu. When she walks with Shinobu to the grounds where they will take their Oath, she feels like she is at the cusp of the best time in her life.
After the Oath ceremony, however, trouble emerges as a hurricane. Quin and Shinobu go on their first official quest as Seekers, but they learn the horrifying truth: Briac’s definition of “justice” differs wildly from Quin and Shinobu’s definition. In addition to this revelation, John decides he must take revenge for what he feels is an unjust judgment of his final test. He must uphold his family’s legacy as Seekers, and he won’t let Briac stand in his way.
John’s need for his own personal justice blinds him, and Quin and Shinobu decide their only option is to run away from everything familiar to them. The caveat? Quin possesses an athame, the official weapon of the Seekers, and John will stop at nothing to get it from her. Although Quin goes into denial at first, she realizes soon enough that John no longer loves her as much as he does his own goals. The problem is that Quin doesn’t want to give John the athame, but he may leave her no other choice.
Author Arwen Elys Dayton provides fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent the start of a promising new series in Seekeer. Although she alternates points of view primarily between Quin, John and Shinobu, it’s clear from the outset that Quin’s plight drives the story forward and Dayton doesn’t hold back on either the good or the bad. If Quin is brave and smart, she’s also vulnerable to her affection for John and readers can identify with that vulnerability. It makes Quin that much more real, that much more relatable and someone readers will cheer on until the end.
Dayton balances modern-day elements, like cell phones, with her own unique story elements. Readers may begin the book expecting the typical dystopian setting—lack of resources or modern equipment or technology—and it may take them a few chapters to understand what Dayton wants to offer. As she draws readers into her story world, however, it becomes easier to accept, and eventually thoroughly enjoy, the book’s parameters.
The second book in the series, Traveler, releases in spring 2016, and readers will certainly anticipate it with excitement. I recommend readers Bookmark Seeker.