ARC Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Title: Seeker
Author: Arwen Elys Dayton
Series: Seeker, #1
**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley which does not affect my review**

Since she was young Quin Kincaid has been training to be a Seeker, protectors of the world who pledge to rid it of evil. Quin, along with two other apprentices, John and Shinobu, must prove themselves worthy of taking the oath to become Seekers. Despite their strong desire, only Quin and Shinobu are allowed to take the oath. But John is desperate, not just because he is in love with Quin, but because he is hiding his real purpose for wanting to become a Seeker. Quin believes becoming a Seeker is the highest honor until she discovers that her father has been lying to her, for becoming a Seeker does not mean saving the world at all.

Let me start off by saying this is not going to be a positive review. I’m mostly very confused when it comes to Arwen Elys Dayton’s Seeker. The cover itself is misleading. My first thought was that this was a fantasy book, perhaps set in a fantastical land. I think it’s set in modern times, but from various contradictory descriptions, I can’t be completely sure. In some scenes there are people dressed in cloaks and riding horses, but in others there are eye-scanners and headphones. This is my first issue with Seeker, the world-building is incomplete and confusing.

I also had an issue with the storyline. Everything is very mysterious, so much so that I, as a reader, was left in the dark for a large portion of the book. Even when the characters themselves learn the true nature of being a Seeker, the author doesn’t explain it. We get time-jumps in which Quin, the protagonist, goes from eager to shell-shocked after taking her oath. Something happens to her, but that something is left unsaid. In fact, what Quin is forced to do is only vaguely hinted at for the majority of the book. We don’t actually find out until 3/4 through the story.

Character arcs are an important way for authors to draw readers in and make them care about the characters. Instead of allowing the reader to experience some of the emotionally heavy scenes, the book passes over them. Consequently, I didn’t feel a connection to the protagonist because of this. Shinobu’s character arc revolves around the fact that he has feelings for Quin, despite the fact that they are cousins, though Shinobu would like to remind himself that they are distant cousins. This felt completely inappropriate. John’s character arc is riddle with too many mysteries. We are told he knows more than he lets on, but instead of using this to bring to light the mysteries surrounding Seekers, we are left in the dark far too long.

Rating: 1/5

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Title: The Paper Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Series: The Paper Magician, #1
**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Nothing could make Ceony Twill, recent graduate of Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, happier than to become a Smelter, a magician able to manipulate metal. But all her dreams are dashed away when she is informed that she will study under Magician Thane, a Folder, skilled in the art of paper. Ceony cannot believe her bad luck, but with little choice, she accepts the apprenticeship. Mg. Thane turns out to be very flighty and odd, but also thoughtful. When she and her teacher are attacked by an Excisioner, a wielder of dark magic, who steals Mg. Thane’s heart, Ceony must gather her courage and retrieve his heart before it is too late.

“To her amazement, snow began to fall. Paper snowflakes cascaded through the air, some as small as Ceony’s thumbnail, some as large as her hand. Hundreds of them poured down as the paper ceiling gave way, all somehow timed just right so that they fell like real snow.”

Having requested to read this book mostly based on the charming cover, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician, but I found myself utterly enchanted by the world of paper magic Ceony is introduced to. Animals crafted with paper come to life and words written in books leap from the pages. I haven’t read a world quite like this one and this coupled with likable characters makes this book a real winner.

Ceony, ambitious and curious, is a perfect blend of resourceful heroine and naive student. While most of the book explores Mg. Thane’s past, we get these moments of vulnerability from Ceony, which I hope are explored more in the sequel. Both she and her teacher have more layers than either of them put forth. I am enamored with Magician Emery Thane. As the story unfolds (pun intended) the magician is revealed to be so much more than the man with a mischievous personality. His past comes back to haunt him, a past he never intended to share with Ceony, so I am curious to see how this effects their relationship in the next book.

The only downside to this book is that it all ended too quickly and now I’m seriously considering purchasing it and its sequel right now.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★