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Sunday, April 22, 2012

FATED: Book 1 of The Soul Seekers By Alyson Noel. Sydney: Pan Macmillan, 2012

Daire Santos has been living a life of travel, without a home, accompanying her make-up artist mother to film sets around the world.  In Marrakech, she starts seeing – things. She finds herself stopping time. After she attacks an actor without remembering what she has done, her mother takes her to live with her grandmother, Paloma, in Enchantment, New Mexico.

Paloma knows why Daire has been seeing glowing people and stopping time. She is a soul seeker, descendant of a long line of shamans. Her father should have taken over from his mother, Paloma, but died in his teens, while his girlfriend, Daire’s mother, was pregnant. Paloma must teach Daire what she needs to know before time runs out. And time could run out as soon as November 2nd, the Day of the Dead.

For the Santos family aren’t the only shamans around. The Richter family, who run the town, are also powerful in magic – or magick as it’s called in this novel. And they have their own plans…

I liked the use made of Native American themes in this book. There are spirit quests, guardian animals and medicine magic. The cover is nicely designed to reflect the novel’s themes, with a girl with dream-catcher earrings and ravens in the sky behind, or possibly crows, both of which play a role in the story.

The heroine is terrified, but goes ahead with what she must do anyway, so is genuinely brave, and won’t take nonsense from anyone, not even the school hunk, who is a real bad boy. He has a twin who is so good he’s almost over-the-top, but there is a reason for it.

The novel doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, though there are more books to come in the series, so the few loose ends will hopefully be tied next time. For example, we never find out exactly who or what those glowing people were.

My one beef with this book is the regular use of half-sentences. You know. The kind that start this way. No doubt intended to increase the drama. But that could often be just the second half of the previous sentence. With the use of a simple comma. I don’t mind one every so often  - grammar can be a pain in the neck, sometimes. But having them every page – and there’s at least one, usually more – becomes grating.

Other than that, this is one of the better YA paranormals I’ve read, and I heaved a sigh of relief when there was not a single vampire or fallen angel to be seen!

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