Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Raincoast Books)
From Goodreads: "The first book in a magnificent new series about a girl who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël.
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."
A few years ago I read the first few books in Alyson's "The Immortals" series, while I enjoyed the first book or so, I found myself becoming less and less enchanted by the series with each passing book- in all honesty I stopped reading the series after the third or fourth book as I found myself growing increasingly frustrated with the main character Ever, a storyline which became increasingly convoluted with each passing page, and the likes of. Since then I have admittedly given little thought to her "The Immortals" series, however, when I saw that Alyson was releasing a new series with this book, "Fated", being its first book, I jumped at the chance to read and review it and I am glad that I did as I very much enjoyed this book. In fact, I personally believe this book to be Alyson's strongest to date.
While reading this book it became evident that Alyson is quite knowledgeable about the topic of Native American believes and practices such as spirit animals, vision quests, and the likes of- that she did a fair amount of research into said topics when writing this book. Though what is perhaps best about her knowledge about said topics is that she was able to convey it to the reader quite subtly- not once while reading this book did I ever feel like I was experiencing an 'information dump', being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information on a topic I was admittedly quite unfamiliar with being thrown my way.
One of my most favourite parts of this book was the prose- typically I am not one to notice something such as this as I read a book, but I couldn't not notice it as I read this book, especially in the first few chapters when Daire, the main character, was describing Morocco. For instance, "There are moments in life when everything pauses. The earth hesitates, the atmosphere stills, and time shrinks and folds onto itself until it collapses into a big tired heap" (pg. 1).
Another part of the book which I very much enjoyed was secondary characters Xotichl's and Auden's relationship- it was perchance one of the cutest and most SQUEE-worthy relationships I have read in a fair while. A smile literally bloomed on my face whenever I read about them, especially during the following part:
"Music and Xotichl- that's my life- it's all I need." He lifts his hand from the wheel, pulls her closer until their shoulders bump together.
"It's all true except for the last part. He loves music more than me," Xotichl says, squealing with delight when he leans in to kiss her, the sudden move causing the car to swerve slightly out of the lane before Auden rights it again.
"Never! You know it's now true, take it back!" he says' (pg. 166).
That being said, one of my largest complaints about this book was Dace- I personally found him to be quite underdeveloped and flat when compared to his twin brother Cade- I know who Cade is/ what sort of person he is/ what sort of evils he is capable of committing, but I am not quite sure exactly who Dace is.
All in all, I believe this to be Alyson's strongest book to date and I look forward to the next books in the series, "Echo", "Mystic" and "Horizon" (which I believe are going to be released every 6 months)- Hopefully we can see more of Auden and Xotichl and delve deeper into Dace's character (especially his role as the Echo)!
I received this book from the publisher to read and review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.