Seeker, by Arwen Elys Dayton

Arwen Elys Dayton's Seeker feels less like an actual book and more like the novelization of a movie. Admittedly, I would totally watch said movie*, but my film standards are embarrassingly low. I expect more from books—consistent characterization, well-planned plot development, creative world-building—and Seeker falls short on all of these fronts.

Distant cousins Quin and Shinobu have trained for years to become “Seekers”, a noble (if vaguely-defined) calling that will allow them to fight evil. Unfortunately, when the two finally take their Seeker oaths, they discover that their families have been lying to them for years. Their childhood friend John, meanwhile, has always known the truth: the Seekers might once have been do-gooders, but now their specialized skills make them excellent spies, thieves, and assassins. When two Seeker factions begin battling for control, Quin and Shinobu escape and decide to go their separate ways... but their destinies are intertwined, and they end up side-by-side a year later, struggling to survive.

Seeker is 75% action. The characters, who are uniformly “handsome", “beautiful", or “lovely” (creative adjectives are not Dayton's strong suit), fight with shape-shifting swords, fling themselves off buildings, and plunge into the depths of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor. The rest of the book is divided between half-baked plot development and setting up a wildly lopsided love triangle. (I'm honestly not sure if I'm supposed to see John as a viable love interest for Quin. I think he's supposed to come across as a romantically tortured soul, but he's mostly whiny and ineffectual. Anyway: Team Shinobu!) Dayton's story is readable enough despite its limitations, but comparing it to real epic fantasy, or even well-written pulp novels like David Eddings's books, does it no favors. Readers should keep their expectations low, and look forward to a mildly entertaining fantasy/action novel that will one day undoubtedly become a fast-paced, glossy movie featuring many generically attractive CW starlets.

*And I'll have a chance to—Seeker was optioned for film well before the book even came out.
Posted by: Julianka


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