Fated by Alyson Noel
Author: Alyson Noël
Series: Soul Seekers #1
Format: Paperback ARC
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Dates Read: April 29-May 2, 2012
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.
This book was obtained freely through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.
Fated was an enjoyable novel. As an avid reader of young adult fiction, I have noticed, like everyone else, that the market is somewhat saturated with books that can be classified as paranormal romance. I don’t have nearly as many qualms with this as some people. I, for one, am not tired of paranormal romance. In fact, it is one of my favorite genres. For those that don’t feel that way, however, be warned that this book could be, in a way, considered paranormal romance. However, that said, this novel is something different than anything I’ve encountered.
Instead of vampires or werewolves, Fated deals with the world of spirits, souls, shamanism, and other bits of Native American mythology. Daire Santos doesn’t understand why she is different. She has no idea why time stops for her, why she sees ravens taunting her, why glowing people hover at the edge of her consciousness, watching and waiting for her to give in and come to them. Her visions come to a horrific head in a foreign country, leaving her mother, Jennika at a loss. The doctors to say Daire has experienced a psychotic break, and to get her back the the States immediately. But the medications aren’t working, and the doctors threaten to institutionalize her. As a last ditch effort, Jennika contacts Daire’s grandmother in New Mexico. She has only spoken to this woman, Paloma, once, at Daire’s father’s funeral — before she was born. However, she seems to know more about Daire’s situation than anyone, even though Jennika never even told her she was pregnant those 16 years ago. When Daire is sent off to live with Paloma, she feels abandoned, lost, and afraid of the mythological mumbo-jumbo her grandmother is quick to spout. Can she really accept that she is part of some higher plan, that she has mystical powers, a destiny to fulfill? To make things even more difficult to sort out, Daire meets the boy of her dreams — literally. Although she’s never met him outside of dreams, she feels drawn to this boy, and equally repelled from his apparently evil twin brother. When it’s clear that her path is more intertwined with these two than she ever realized, everything becomes a bit too real to deny.
I appreciated that this novel tackled something new. Fated has a rich mythology, full of spirit animals, spirit journeys, fate, soul-seeking, and of course, good and evil. The events surrounding Daire are very intriguing. The pages fly by as Daire comes into her role as a Seeker. It is very interesting to learn along with Daire the circumstances surrounding her life as a Seeker. Although her relationship with her love interest seems to be a little too instant-love for my tastes, this is offset by Daire’s visions and recurrent dreams in which he appears, and the mysticism surrounding them. It becomes easier to stomach the quick onset of the relationship because Noël succeeds in pushing the reader to believe that they are truly meant to be together, that their destinies are entwined. The novel doesn’t focus on their relationship, however. It is much more concerned with Daire’s growth. Her growth in her capacity to fulfill her Seeker destiny, and her growth as a person. As the daughter of a Hollywood makeup artist, Daire has never been able to settle down in any physical or emotional capacity. She was always taught not to get attached to spare the pain of loss. Her life in New Mexico finally offers her the chance to have a home, to have a family, to have friends. Learning to accept these things, to learn to put trust in others, requires her to mature, and to accept herself first.
I’d recommend Fated to those who want to read something a little different. If Daire’s world sounds promising to you, I urge you to give this novel a try. I didn’t regret it.