Monday, 30 December 2013

The Seers

Author: Julianna Scott
Genre: Supernatural, Young Adult
Series: #2 in The Holders series
Type: Kindle e-book
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Angry Robot - Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
First Line: "'Do you think if I passed out, she'd let me sit for a few minutes?' I mumbled, as my legs started to twitch."

Book Description from GoodReadsAfter nearly being drained of her ability and betrayed by a man her father trusted, Becca Ingle was left with one clue — Ciaran Shea. He holds the key to the downfall of the power-mad Holder, Darragh, and can ensure the safety of both Holder and Human kind alike... but is he willing to help?

Becca, Alex, Jocelyn, and Cormac set out for Adare Manor to meet with the Bhunaidh, an aristocratic group of pure blooded Holders of whom Ciaran is a rumored member. However, when Becca discovers that they might not be the only ones after the information Ciaran has, everyone begins to wonder if Bhunaidh might not be as uninvolved with Darragh as they claim.

A race to uncover Ciaran’s secrets begins, where the line between friend and foe is blurred, and everyone seems to have their own agenda. Becca will have to call on every ability at her disposal to uncover the truth, all the while knowing that sometimes the answer is more dangerous than the question.

Note: My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for providing me with a complimentary Kindle e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  I reviewed "The Holders", the first book in this new YA supernatural series, back in February 2013.  It was a strong start to a brand new series so I was eager to be given the chance to review this second installment in the series.  I'm happy to report that The Seers is even better than The Holders.

Becca remains a good, solid main character.  She's still strong, sassy and a bit bad ass-y.  But even though we witness her insecurities and fears (which makes her more believable in my book) she comes off as a strong character that the reader can rely on.  While Ms Scott has given the reader a solid female lead I do wish that other female characters (namely Chloe and Shannon) were given more page time so that their strengths and character development could happen.  Unfortunately without more page time these two young women were the clich├ęd 'Bubbly Sidekick' and 'The Mean Girl'.  I would have loved to see more development to their characters and maybe even shown a different kind of strength that Becca doesn't possess.  Just a thought.

One of my favourite relationships remains the bond between Becca and her father, Jocelyn.  It's a new relationship for the both of them and I like that the awkwardness between them, as they try to figure out their relationship, was believable.  I will admit that I was hoping to get a better insight into Jocelyn but I suppose I also wouldn't like it if I knew everything about this interesting and mysterious character right off the bat either.  Here's hoping that the next book in the series sheds some light on him.

There are a few new characters who are added into the mix which spice things up considerably - namely Stephen and Bastian.  Without giving anything away, I just have to say that I loved Bastian from the get-go.  He can hold his own with Becca and his strength and determination keeps Becca on her toes.  Stephen has a quiet presence and I'm hoping (and predicting) that he makes a bigger appearance in future books.  That's all I'm saying about those two guys.

For those of you who adored Alex's character, fear not, he's by Becca's side but he is admittedly more in the background.  He remains a very unique leading man in that he's this quiet, strong guy (who blushes, no less) who adores Becca and is a calming force for her.  But he's not a doormat either.  I honestly can't think of main male character like him.  It's refreshing to see him relate to Becca as she continues to be independent and 100% herself.  He supports her and loves her but doesn't try to be the hero and save the day.  It could easily get annoying or make Alex seem like a wimpy wuss but the way his character is written, I believe it and I like him.

I also felt that Becca and Alex's relationship went to the next level in a couple of ways.  Yes, they're still teens in love but Ms Scott didn't let it get sappy or overrun with teenage angst.  When they had their issues, instead of breaking up over a trivial 90201-esque misunderstanding, they handled it maturely and it showcased the strength of their relationship.  Scott also deals with the budding sexuality between Becca and Alex well.  They are each other's Anam (life partners) so to ignore the fact that they may want to take their relationship to another level may not have played out well realistically.  But Ms Scott also realizes that she's writing a YA novel.  Let's just say Ms Scott walked that fine line well.

In this book, the storyline is taken away from St Brigid's School and I found that change of venue refreshing.  I loved seeing another side of the Holders' world as Becca and her group travelling to Adare Manor to hob nob with the Bhunaidh (pure blood Holder aristocracy).  It's a whole new world for Becca as she interacts with the Bhunaidh with their numerous social rules and favour carrying.  Becca has a hard time adjusting to the new rules especially the blatant and cruel discrimination that she witnesses from the Bhunaidh towards people they think are 'lesser'.

There were a few differences between the first book in the series and The Seers.
In the first book I felt like the budding romance between Becca and Alex took more of a front seat.  In this book, I enjoyed that the storyline and character development were in the forefront.  I think that was a very good call for the author to make.  For those romantics out there, you still have the romance but it stays a little in the background while the tension and story building are right up in front.

The Seers also had less of a Harry Potter meets X-men feel to it ... and I was ok with it.  I know, right?  I was surprised that I didn't miss that element.  But The Seers held its own with it's pace, storyline and twists.  It broke out of the Potter/X-men comparisons and is beginning to hold it's own - and that's a very good thing.  And I'm happy to report that the issues with predictability (that I struggled with in The Holders) are a non-issue here.  The twists in the storyline and the twists in the relationships threw me and I loved it. 

All in all, this was a great and refreshing addition to this budding new series.  While readers are left with no major cliff hanger I'm still eager to see where things head from here.

Recommended. (Tip: read The Holders first!)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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