Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Fated by Alyson Noel (ARC)

Fated (Soul Seekers #1) by Alyson Noel
St. Martin's Press, 306 Pages
Expected US Release Date: May 22, 2012

Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (thank you St. Martins!)

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.
--------------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
This place is too big. Too immense. Too vast. Appearing almost cosmic in the way it seems to meander for eternity.
Even though I'd decided to give it a chance, I've no doubt in my mind this place will dwarf me.
In the interest of full disclosure, I've only read one other Alyson Noel book (Evermore) years ago and I didn't like it. And I don't often read paranormal (I like them! Just haven't read many, for some reason), so it's not like I have a plethora of other books to compare this to or know a lot about the genre.

Straight up, I did not like this book. I struggled hard with reading it, and I almost pulled a DNF three times. While I do think Alyson Noel's writing has far improved from the last one I read -- I thought her writing was whiny and juvenile when I first read her -- I think the characters were the ultimate downfall. Daire, the main character, is a bratty, ungrateful child; and I wanted to reach through the pages and slap her too many times to count. She was weak, constantly whining, constantly resistant, constantly throwing herself a pity party. Her little moments of growth felt too sudden, too forced; and then she'd turn right around and go back to being a child. It's really tough to overcome when you don't care for the main character, what happens to her, or if she succeeds. The contrasts between Cade and Dace (hot twins!) were too contrasting, where I found it irritable and obvious the roles they would play. Dace was also too much that stereotypical tall, dark and handsome love interest with a quiet, understanding strength and eyes that bore into the center of your soul. And while I liked her grandmother (Paloma), I found her to be cheesy and one-dimensional. Chey, a "helper" of sorts to Daire and Paloma, was my favourite, but used far too little for him to make up for any of the other characters.

I found the plot contrived and trying too hard to be complex. Maybe it would be better to read in quick succession with the rest of the series, maybe it's meant to be a much bigger story arc than I'm seeing -- but I don't know that for sure, so I can't measure it that way.  There are too many unanswered questions; while I think that was done to maintain interest and make the reader continue on to find out what exactly it all means, I simply don't care enough to wait and find out. Too little was given to make a lot of sense, and too many things bothered me to make finding out the answers a priority.

The "love" story was also disappointing. It had all the elements that I can't stand about insta-love, without actually being instantaneous love. It was immediate pull, immediate attraction, immediate and unquestioning meaning to each other. I felt like I was just supposed to believe in their relationship. Maybe that's fine with other readers, but I prefer to feel invested in it, to understand the characters and why they are together.

I enjoyed the lore of the book, and while a lot of the backstory and meanings are fairly typical (are they based on actual beliefs? Anyone know?), I still enjoyed how those elements came together and created the worlds and dimensions that Daire must learn to travel between. I had zero attachment to any of the characters or plot lines in the book, but I really liked the settings and backgrounds of it.

So here's the truth of it: I didn't like this book, but I could see how a lot, maybe even most, would. If you like that hot-brothers-good-twin-evil-twin thing, you'll like this. If you like paranormal dimensions, you'll like this. There is a pretty solid mix of Daire being just a normal, new girl teenager at a school balanced with her Seeker role, which was nice. Maybe the reader just needs to have more patience than I do, willing to see a series through its completion before judging. It took everything I had to get 230 pages through the book, but the last 70 or so were fine. If you enjoy folklore and tradition and the conflict of two ancient powers, you'll probably like this book.

I just didn't.

2 Stars / 5

My loss is your gain though, because I'm giving away my ARC copy! Look for the rafflecopter to be up in a couple hours :) I'm shipping from my house, so it has to be US only - however, if you are international and don't mind paying for shipping, then you are more than welcome to enter.


  1. Kate @ Ex LibrisMay 21, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    I have this ARC and will still read it, but I always appreciate reading different viewpoints.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

    1. Ashley @ Ashley Loves BooksMay 23, 2012 at 9:32 PM

      I hope it fares better for you! I do look forward to your thoughts on it.

  • fakestephMay 21, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Characters make a book for me, so I hate when I just can't like them. Sorry you didn't love this one. I always want to love books and hate being disappointed. :)

    1. Ashley @ Ashley Loves BooksJune 13, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      I was hoping so much to love it, but...yeah. Disappointing, but that's ok. Characters are probably the biggest thing in books for me too, it's so difficult to overcome if the person you're reading about rubs the wrong way. In any case, hopefully the winner of my ARC likes it better!

  • Fall Into BooksSeptember 13, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Ick. I was afraid this book would suck too. I hated the Immortals series, but I was curious to see if this one was any better. Looks like it's not. I'll be skipping it for sure. Thanks for the review!


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