Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!
Seeker (Seeker #1) by Arwen Elys Dayton
Published February 10, 2015 by Delacorte
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The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.
As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world.
And she’ll be with the boy she loves–who’s also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.
Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought. And now it’s too late to walk away.
When I added this book for my thesis, I had to write that first chapter within the week. My adviser thought I was crazy. I was, but I just had a FEELING that I needed this book in my thesis. Mostly because it was published in 2015. Well, it was perfect for my thesis alright. In all the right wrong ways.
This is going to be a spoilery review because I have a lot of things to say.
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. This is not Quin’s story. Quin is the pretend main character of this novel. (It’s also told in rotating POV from her, Shinobu and John.) Maybe this will change in later books, but that is certainly the case here. She is de facto main character because everything revolves around her, but after the first section she literally does nothing. More on that later.
Anyways, the book opens up with John, Quin, and Shinobu training to be Seekers, this high and mighty fighting force that they are apparently the last apprentices of. John and Quin are together, and Shinobu is jealous of John. Love triangle time, surprise! After the opening training scene, Quin’s father, Briac–their leader–tells Shinobu and Quin that they are ready to take the oath. While they run off to get ready, Briac kicks out John.
Quin has no idea this is happening, though, so she and Shinobu go through with their initiation. The book doesn’t reveal what exactly happens during their initiation night until much later, but the big reveal here is that the Seekers aren’t high and mighty anymore. They’re assassins for hire. Briac just forced his kid to kill children. What a guy. Quin wants to leave, but she doesn’t. She feels like she can’t. So she goes on killing people on her dad’s orders.
Back to John. It turns out that Briac killed John’s mom, and John’s been out for revenge the whole time. So after he gets kicked out, he goes back to the Seeker headquarters and burns the place to the ground, trying to get to Briac and some special Seeker weaponry. In the process, he kills Shinobu’s dad and kidnaps Quin’s mom. Quin and Shinobu are having none of that, so they save Quin’s mom and run away together–and Quin and John are over. At least to Quin anyways.
Now, honestly, if the story had gone somewhere different from here, maybe I could have liked it more. Quin’s struggle with what she’d done for her father could have been really good. Shinobu and Quin’s mission to avenge their parents and stop John could have been really good. But, instead, we get the whole middle of this book.
The middle in which Quin goes into self-inflicted amnesia where she can’t handle what she’s done and Shinobu turns to drugs and they’re all separated and not doing anything.
Yep, that’s right. Instead of dealing, Quin forgets everything. Which means that when the action finally kicks back up again, she ends up sort of helping John because the only thing she remembers is that she vaguely loved him once and then ends up falling for Shinobu because he keeps showing up to save her. You know, since she can’t save herself because she’s forced herself to forget every bit of training she’s ever had. She starts remembering towards the end, but not enough to totally take herself out of damsel in distress territory.
By the end of the book she declares that she loves Shinobu and that John has to be stopped, so she’s going to be the Seeker she always wanted to be and stop him. Maybe, just maybe, she has a more active role in the next two books, but I certainly won’t be reading them.
It’s frustrating too, because I wanted to like this book. It started off fairly promising, if you could get past the love triangle and the fairly generic characters. I liked the lore of the Seekers a lot. I would have read on just for that. However, if I hadn’t been reading this for my thesis, I would have jumped ship to DNF land once Quin lost her memory. I cannot stand that trope, and here it was just used to further the love triangle.
Like I’ve said, my thesis is about tropism in YA fantasy literature featuring female assassins so … Quin fit to the T when I was describing a bunch of things wrong with the genre. So that’s why this book was perfect for all the wrong reasons. If you’re doing a similar project, I present a perfect exhibit. If you’re looking to read this book but can’t stand tropes? Not so much.