Review: Seeker

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**Thank you to Random House Childrens and NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC of this novel**

This book was infuriating. I didn’t want it to be and, perhaps, it’s just me…but I found it absolutely infuriating. Why, you may ask? Well, probably because it’s part high fantasy, part urban fantasy, part romance, and ALL CONFUSION.

I’m good with seemingly confusing fantasy novels — in fact, I tend to make it my mission to make sense of complex and complicated fantasy novels. Nine times out of ten, I find that these books aren’t confusing: they just have an intricate magic system or multi-faceted world-building. SEEKER, however, does not fall under that category — not entirely, at least. There is technically a magic-system and even some world-building, but it’s vague and clunky.

Actually, “clunky” is the perfect word to describe this entire book. It has sparks of excitement/entertainment what flash up like fast-fading fireworks, only to return to a massive brick of boring. Not much actually occurs and even less is properly explained to the reader. In other words: this is not how you want to start a fantasy series. There must be a foundation, some sense that the learning curve has, at the very least, been started. Even GRRM, who writes very, very complex fantasy novels with extremely steep learning curves, gives the reader a sense that they have made headway while reading the first ASOIAF novel. Ms. Dayton does not. And that is frustrating.

What infuriates and disappoints me most about this novels is how much potential it had to truly be great. As it stands, it’s a passable, even good, YA fantasy novel. But it could have been a really great YA fantasy novel. The characters are there — though their narrative voices are indistinct from each other — and even the set-up is there as well. This is one of the few times where I am going to ask for more exposition, more explanation of the magic-system and of the world.

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