Bel Reviews: Alyson Noel's - "Fated"

I was pleasantly surprised to find a proof copy of Fated in my mail box and on opening the package, the brilliance of the cover hit me full force. It’s rich and appealing. The girl on the front looks like a force of nature, and there is so much movement in the picture, it’s almost like she’ll fly from the cover, followed by the ravens appearing from strands of her long dark hair. She has a dream-catcher earring and feathers entwined in other parts of her hair, giving me the immediate feeling this was going to be a book with Native American mythology themes. In this case, you can judge the book by its cover.

Daire Santos’s sweet sixteen turns sour when she has an emotional meltdown, after her visions of glowing people, crows and other assorted gruesome things. Instead of institutionalizing her, Daire’s mother sends her to a place called Enchantment in New Mexico to live with Paloma: the grandmother she’s never met. She is surprised to find the crazy old lady can really help her to hone her skills as a seeker, and her abilities are a family legacy and not just a freakish defect.

Who are the mystery boys in her dreams? How will she endure the first day at Milagro High? What can she do to save this town from the evil men running it?

I liked so many elements of this book that I’ll have to list but a few and ask you to add to my list in the comments when you have read Fated for yourself.

I find in so many Young Adult novels that there is usually a parental figure that seems to have dropped the ball, and we’re asked to dislike them for their insensitivity toward our hero. This is not the case in Fated. Daire’s mother, Jennika, was a young mother and did her best to provide for her daughter. She makes an unexpected decision in sending her daughter to her grandmother rather than to an institution. She is aware, observant and fiercely faithful. It is refreshing to have such a positive portrayal.

I am enchanted by the setting of Enchantment. It seems to be a place where getting back to basics is a given thing for all its residents. The great equalizer being that everyone is in the same boat to a certain extent, and life really is what you make of it. Daire is out and about in nature and not stuck in her room being a pensive brat. She finds joy on the back of a horse, and happiness with the people she learns to trust and call friends.

The Native American mythological themes of animal totems and the power of the elements make for a beautifully intense layer to the storyline. Alyson Noël puts value in the legacy of family. She writes about respecting your elders, which isn’t necessarily exclusively part of the Native American ethos, but it was nice to revisit this in a way that wasn’t preachy.

So I have now babbled on for more than 500 words and I hope you’ll give Fated a chance to catch you in its thrall. You will not be disappointed.

Looks like The Soul Seekers second book, Echo, is due out in September 2012. I’m really looking forward to it.

Krista adds (audio book):

The narrator Brittany Pressley does a good job at giving a voice to Daire Santos. Especially, the interpretation of her feelings of confusion when she starts to see unusual things. And again the anger and fear when she is left with a grandmother she has never met. The narrator is able to easily portray the emotions of a distraught spoiled teen who is having her world turned upside down.

Since this is the first book in the series, there is a lot of building of character and world setting. Insights are given to the reader about what a Soul Seeker is and the Native American Lore and Shamanism that it’s based upon. There are not a lot of action or fast paced sections to the story. It is mostly about discovery and information. My favorite part of the story is the meeting of the villain. I was glued to the stereo for the entire climax.

Overall, the audiobook is a very good presentation of the emotions and entertainment that the book offers. Please feel free to listen to the sample below.

Fated by Alyson Noel – Chapter 1 (audio book sample)

Paperback, UK, 352 pages

Expected publication: May 24th 2012 by Macmillan Children’s Books

ISBN 1447206800 (ISBN13: 9781447206804)

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