Fated by Alyson Noel
publisher: St. Martins Griffin
release date: May 22nd, 2012
hardcover, 352 pages
intended audience: Young adult
series: Soul Seekers, book 1
source: from publisher for honest review
description: Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.
There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.
Review: Well, after seeing a few disappointed reviews of Fated, I have to say that I was surprised to like this as much as I did. Granted I didn't love it---the main character was not likeable for much of the book and therefore a tough sell when I'm expected to root for her, but I actually really loved all the spiritual New Mexican culture that was in this. I've always been fascinated by tribal beliefs and that kind of thing, and to be honest I'm really not really sure if there is any accuracy to the way it's presented in Fated, but it was very imaginatively told and a mystical take on shaman lore. I loved the significance of the animals and the connection to the earth and nature.
Like a said, main character Daire was hard to take---she was so awful to everyone around her, and while I could see a little angst being thrown toward her flaky mother, the doctors that dismiss her visions as insanity, and the world in general, the way she acted toward her grandmother who was only trying to help her understand what was happening to her made her loose points with me. I also thought it was weird how she sort of did an unexplained turn-around as far as wanting to escape the town and then in the next few pages just unquestioningly going along with what her grandmother was saying. There's not much to the love story to really draw a good romantic in---its just sort of there. She dreams of him and she loves him in her dreams, then she meets him so she's already sort of in love with him. Aside from being a really nice guy, and being described repeatedly as amazingly gorgeous and radiating some sort of mystical warmth, there was not much to him that we get to connect with. I did really enjoy reading the character, Xotichl (and finding out how to pronounce that name! I've always wondered!). She was a blind girl with a fantastic witty sense of humor who befriends Daire.
Parts of this were really pretty gory and that was a surprise! Heads on sticks, some zombie like creatures, and the eating of entrails. Not all a bad thing, it definitely lent to some heart-stopping creepy moments.
All in all, not a bad read. It was interesting enough to keep me reading and I may even check out the second book to see where the story leads, but also hoping for a bit more character development.
Visit Alyson Noel's site: www.alysonnoel.com
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