3.5 - 4 stars This was a toughy!
Having never read anything from Alyson Noël up to this point, I was really interested in this new series of hers. I love the Southwest and everything Native American. And then to win Fated from Goodreads as part of their First Reads program? You better believe I danced a little jig as soon as I got that news!!
This was a tough story for me to review, though, because I wish I could write 2 reviews for it. I'd write a 3 star review for first 82 pages and a 4 star review for entire rest of the book. I know, it seems like I could just give a pass to those first 82 pages and chalk it up to world building for a new series. But it was a good 28% of the book that just kind of lagged for me. And it was in the beginning, when you really want to grab the reader and hold them in. But Ms. Noël had weaved such an intriguing mystery that I had to keep reading.
And my need for closure/continued reading was rewarded with an awesome tale built within Native America folklore and based on shamanism. Since I'm a little new to the YA genre, I haven't seen a world built around Native American "magick" and folklore. I totally ate it up!
Daire, was a unique character because you saw how she adapted to her environment. When she was with her mom, she had to act like an adult and was pretty much on her own. But when she was her grandmother, she got to be the teenager she always wanted to be. A lot of her actions were based on how she was raised so you couldn't get too annoyed by them. And her independent spirit ultimately comes in handy.
German cover of Fated
Worth the read in itself is the supporting character of Xotichl (pronounced So-chee). She comes out of practically no where and totally rocks!!! I can't tell you more, it'll totally spoil her for you!! Other characters like Daire's grandmother, Paloma, Chay, and of course the brothers Dace and Cade also make the story worth the read.
And world building continued at a much faster pace through to the end of the book. As Daire learns to navigate through her new powers as a "soul seeker" we learn all about this new world of hers.
If you can stand just a wee bit of slowness to start, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by this spin on Native American folklore. After the exciting ending of Fated, I will definitely be looking forward to Echo and jumping on it as soon as I can!!!
Fated is book one in the series with that next one, Echo, coming out in November 2012 (Yay, I don't have to wait long!). Mystic follows around May 2013 and Horizon is planned for November 2013.
A great big huge Thank You to Goodreads and St. Martin's Press!