Wednesday, November 28, 2012

REVIEW: FATED ~ ALYSON NOEL

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 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.



Daire Lyons grew up without her father, and without any knowledge of his side of the family.  Living virtually as a gypsy with her Hollywood make-up artist mother, Jennika, Daire travels the world, rubs shoulders with the biggest movie stars, and wonders what a life with roots would be like.  As Daire’s sixteenth birthday approaches, she begins to see something she should not: the dead.  Time stands still, and the dead reach out to her.  Daire ignores and suppresses these events for as long as she can, but on the eve of her sixteenth birthday Daire snaps.  In a desperate effort to escape the dead only she can see, Daire hurts herself and others, including a Hollywood pretty boy, and finds herself headed for a mental institution. 

Desponded and scared, Daire finds a way out from the last source she ever expected: her long lost grandmother.  Paloma Santos contacts Jennika, and somehow she knows about Daire’s visions, claiming she can help Daire overcome them.  Desperate to try anything that will keep her daughter out of a straight-jacket, Jennika ships Daire off to Enchantment, New-Mexico.

Paloma’s herbs and strange Native-American magick soon gets Daire’s visions under control, but it doesn’t eliminate the truth: Daire Lyons is in truth Daire Santos, the last in a line of Soul Seekers - those who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead. There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness the powers of her ancestral legacy, but then she meets Cade and Dace, the twin brothers who have haunted her dreams for months, and things take an alarming turn.  

Repelled by Cade and drawn to Dace, Daire must navigate the foggy ground of altered perceptions, open her mind to the powers of nature, and open her heart to the possibility of pure, unconditional love.     


Fated by Alyson Noel is the first of four books in the Soul Seekers series.  I hate writing negative things about books, and always try to at least start off with some positives, but the truth is I didn’t love this book.  I don’t particularly have an opinion about it – which is the last thing an author wants; leaving no impression at all.

The story is slow paced, which is a huge problem for me.  Taking time to develop a plot is one thing, but it is important for the story to flow, and at least for the first half of the book I did not get that. 

The characters are hard to describe, because Noel doesn’t bother to describe them very well herself.  Noel spent more time and energy on describing the environment, and while Enchantment, New Mexico came to life wonderfully, the characters did not.  In truth, most of the characters are pretty shallow.  Physically, I can tell you exactly what they look like, but Noel didn’t go to much trouble to develop the characters internally as she did in describing their looks.  I didn’t bond with these characters at all, and as a reader, if you don’t care about the characters, you ultimately don’t care about the story. 

As far as Daire’s discovering her powers goes I have to admit that I have never had any interest in Native-American magick, or shamanism, which is a big part of the story.  As a Christian, communicating with your ancestors, soul travelling, spirit animals and basically worshipping nature doesn’t particularly sit well with me, so those parts of the story didn’t fascinate me; I just read to get past it all, truthfully.  Daire’s quest of good against evil, however, is something everyone can relate to, and her relationship with Dace is intriguing – I wish he had a larger part in Fated, but I suspect he will have a much larger role in coming books.  One problem I do have, though, is that I can’t take Cade seriously as a major villain.  I understand that he’s supposedly a powerful sorcerer, but I just find him to be your average, over-confident bad boy.  He doesn’t intimidate at all, and I often found Daire’s weakness in his presence annoying. 

Sadly Fated did not bind me.  I read when I felt like it – I never had a need to desperately discover what happens next.  I doubt that I will read the next book, Echo.  I’m just not compelled to look into Daire’s life anymore.  I think Noel has a certain style of writing that isn’t for everyone.  It’s not the deeply gripping, moving, fast-paced, well developed kind of writing that I prefer.  Character development is a very important component that I look for when reading, and I just did not get that from Noel


Product information:

Title: Fated 
Author: Alyson Noel
Number of pages: 464
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Year: 2012
ISBN-10: 0312664850
ISBN-13: 978-0312664855 

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