Fated by Alyson Noel, published by Macmillan Children's Books on 24th May 2012
Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.
There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.
I'm a huge fan of Alyson Noel. I loved her series The Immortals and I'm currently also enjoying her Riley Bloom spin-off. Her books are captivating and wonderfully entertaining, with imaginative storylines which really draw you in. I've been waiting and waiting for the first book in her new Soul Seekers series and praying, with all my fingers crossed, that I would love it just as much. While I think it was a promising beginning and I'm eager to read the next book 'Echo' which is out 27th September 2012, there were some things about it which left me with a distinctly mixed reaction to this new title.
The first thing is the plot. While it was sufficiently different to The Immortals plotline, there still seemed to be some major similarities and it again dealt with the spiritual and paranormal. I thought that the main part of the story took quite a while to get to and the initial beginning of the book seemed a rather long prelude to the crux of the plot. It may just be me but I also found some of ideas at the start quite complex and so on a couple of occasions I had to go back to reread pages again, to make sure that I fully understood the whole concept of soul seekers. Even now, I feel that Noel may have only just scratched the surface and there's still a lot more to learn. Her evocative descriptions of animal spirits however and the role they play in the characters' lives was very interesting
I liked the main character Daire and she grew on me a lot as the story progressed but I can't say the same about all the other characters. I'd love to know more about Xotichl (although why give her such an unusual name) and her adorable boyfriend Auden and I liked Chay who seems a strong support in Daire's life. I wanted to see more of Dace, the hoy guy in town and 'good' twin who Daire dreams about long before they first meet. I just couldn't picture him clearly enough in my head when I was reading and while I was hoping for some genuine romance between the two of them, it overall seemed a bit lacking in that department.
I thought the setting for the story was perfect. The small town of Enchantment in New Mexico was suitably isolated and remote, so that it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, far removed from the outside world and consisting of it's own small community.
As 'Fated' concentrated mainly on plot building, I'm hoping that the second book in the series will focus more on building a connection with all the characters and developing the romance between Daire and Dace which I'm eager to see more of.