Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

SeekerThis book was provided by the publisher as an e-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

(Description nicked from Goodreads.)

“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.”

This is one of those rare DNF (did not finish) titles for me.  It sounded so neat, and yet failed so epically to deliver on its premise.  It’s odd, because there were things about it that I really liked, but they were overshadowed by the many things that I didn’t like at all.

For the most part, I didn’t like the characters.  Quin came across as flat, and she was the one I was most hoping to identify with.  The author sets her up as the focal point of a supposed love triangle that never actually manifests (or at least it hadn’t at the three quarters point when I finally threw in the towel).  Quin’s father Briac is little more than an abusive thug.  The two boys in Quin’s life, fellow Seekers-in-training John and Shinobu, didn’t click as people Quin would be interested in.  John was the most interesting in and of himself, simply because the author does manage to paint a fairly good picture of someone justifying just about anything in pursuit of revenge, but he often descends into being pathetic because he can’t bear to do the very things that he’s justifying–leaving others to do his dirty work.

The concept of a Seeker is never really explained.  The best explanation I could come up with was a secret society that fights for justice using magic athames to cut holes in reality and travel where needed.  Hints in the book lead to the conclusion that any such organization has been decimated by centuries of infighting, something that isn’t explored beyond John’s quest for vengeance.

The sense of place and time in the novel is very ill-defined.  At certain points it seems to be in medieval times, but there are mentions of things like aircars.  Hong Kong seems like present day, if not near-future, but there are mentions of things that sound oddly like steampunk-ish dirigibles.  At the same time, if I’m remembering correctly, corporations make magical weapons.  It’s really confusing, and it’s made worse by flashbacks from a side character who has been alive since the 1400s.

I tried really hard to finish this, but in the end, there just wasn’t enough for me to continue spending time on this book.  Look elsewhere for your fantasy fix.

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