We’re participating in the Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop. For this hop, we’re not providing fairies but there’s lots of fantasy in our choice – and it does take place in Ireland, where fairies would feel right at home.
I was really impressed when I read Juliana Scott’s debut YA fantasy novel, The Holders, and have been anxiously awaiting a follow-up to it. You can read my review of it at the end of this review. So I was tickled when I got my hands on an advance copy of The Seers. This series is about self-discovery and empowerment, literally, and boy does our protagonist discover some amazing abilities! Another aspect of this series is romantic in that some Holders form life-long Anam bonds with each other, becoming true soul mates. As usual, it’s not a book just for the YA crowd. It’s got X-Men style fantasy and a romantic thread, all set in a Hogwarts-like school in Ireland. How cool is that? And to make it even better, I’ve been notified that I’ve won a print copy so I’m paying it forward by passing it along to the person who wins this giveaway!
Spoiler Alert: This review contains spoilers for Book #1, The Holders, since The Seers is Book #2 in this series. You can read The Seers as a stand-alone; however, I recommend reading The Holders first (or at least my review of it) because although the world is basically ours, the Holder society is very different and Book #1 sets up that hidden part of our world as well as the school and the relationships. And you’ve got plenty of time to do that since The Seers won’t be published until a month after this review.
On to the review:
It was a near thing but Becca has pretty much recovered from her almost catastrophic ordeal. That doesn’t mean life gets back to normal at Lorcan Hall though because Darragh must be stopped if Holders and humans everywhere are to avoid the consequences of his insane plans for the world. And it looks like Becca and her father are the only ones with even a ghost of a chance of stopping him.
The best clue they have in their search for Darragh is the name of a powerful Seer, Ciaran Shea, but no one seems to know where to find the reclusive Seer. They’ve been told he may be a member of the Bhunaidh (Originals), an elitist group of Holders who believe only pure-blooded Holders with ability hold any worth (and if you read that as a form of bigotry, you’re right on target). So when Jocelyn receives an invitation to an upcoming Bhunaidh gala at Adare Manor, they accept an invitation to join them, as distasteful as most of them find the idea.
“I turned around to face the full-length mirror propped up against a bookcase. It really was a magnificent dress, there was no denying that. Deep emerald green silk with an embroidered front, ornate scooped neck and flowing draped sleeves that fluttered elegantly when I walked…
‘What’s wrong?’ Chloe asked, obviously having noticed the face I was making, ‘Don’t you like it?’
‘No, no, I do. It’s incredible…really.’
‘Then what’s the matter?’
‘Nothing, I guess, it’s just…I don’t know, you don’t think it’s a little..Maid Marian crashing Cinderella’s ball?’
Her eyes went dreamy. ‘Yes, that’s exactly what it is,’ she mooned, ‘and it’s perfect.’
‘Right,’ I chuckled, realizing I should have expected no less from Lorcan Hall’s resident Happily-ever-after expert,…”
The Bhunaidh are so thrilled that the extremely powerful Jocelyn and his daughter will be at the gala that they don’t mind that Alex and Cormac accompany them from the school. Egalitarian Becca is appalled at what she sees around her but tries to hide her disgust from their smarmy hosts. She really is trying to be on her best behavior because this is so important.
“And to make matters worse, when each pair of eyes was finished gawking at Jocelyn, without fail, they would move to me. They’d look me over, glance back at Jocelyn, then back to me, whispering, staring, pointing, more whispering, more staring…
I felt like an animal on display at the zoo.
Though, I guess I should have expected as much. After all, it was no secret that I was the spitting image of Jocelyn, so it wouldn’t have been hard to deduce that I was his daughter. And if he was a rock star, I guess that had to make me at least a backup dancer.”
The servants seem to live in constant fear of making a mistake – what’s up with that? One young man, Steven, who she mistakes for a servant, is actually the host’s younger son. He’s like a frightened, skittish shadow in the house because he has no abilities, while his older brother, Bastian, is paraded about like a grand prize – a supremely arrogant grand prize at that. Nothing could make Becca more angry and protective! She’s also horrified when she learns their host would love to arrange an engagement between her and Bastian, and her horror is not just because she’s bonded to Alex.
Still they’re not there to socialize or assess the character of the Bhunaidh but to find Ciaran Shea. Unfortunately Becca begins to suspect they aren’t the only ones interested in what Shea may know. She also soon realizes that no one is who they appear to be in this assembly of people who feel they are so elite. There are all kinds of power plays and hidden agendas floating through the air, and one wrong move could get them into trouble. And the brashly American Becca is known for making impulsive wrong moves first and thinking about what she should have done later. That could be deadly in this situation.
It’s hard to know who they can trust, or if they can trust anyone in this backstabbing group. When Becca uncovers a very unlikely ally while thinking she’s trailing an enemy, can they trust him? Her gut says yes but her head isn’t so sure. Will he lead them where they need to go or will he betray them to the secret spies at Adare Manor or, even worse, to Darragh himself? Will they find the Seer’s clues and, if so, will what they find provide the answer or just more mysteries? And if it provides the answer, could the answer be worse than not knowing?
Becca is growing into her unique abilities as a Holder, learning as she goes just how powerful she may be. In a way it’s like a kid learning to ride a supercharged bicycle – she has no clue just how extraordinarily powerful she is until she tries something new. This kind of extreme ability could easily corrupt someone with less integrity. It’s easy to see why Jocelyn has put such a stranglehold on his abilities because they would be so easy to abuse. Becca’s relationship with Alex grows in The Seers, although it does get tested at times. If you recall the wonderful Chloe from The Holders, she also features in this book and I was happy and sad for her, but won’t say more about that. The brothers they meet at the gala are great additions to the cast and I look forward to seeing how they impact the storyline as it progresses.
Luckily The Seers avoids the 2nd book slump. It is every bit as action packed, secretive, suspenseful, and twisty as Book #1! Julianna Scott has kept the tempo up and keeps developing this fantasy adventure in a way that makes me think it could be a great long run of exciting novels to come. Yay! I am completely hooked and can hardly wait for Book #3 so I’m hoping Ms Scott is already hard at work on it. And one of you is going to win a copy of The Seers! Whoot!
Can’t wait to read it?
The Seers will be published in the U.S. on February 4, 2014 and in the UK on February 6, 2014; however, it’s available now for pre-order from your favorite online bookseller below (or in the right column for iBooks). Just click the button/link to go there to get it.
I’d love to get your comments on The Seers, Julianna Scott or her other work, and/or this review. Click here to read our review of The Holders, Book #1 in this series.
If you like this review, please contribute to our Reviewers’ Caffeine Fund in the left column. Just a cup a day, that’s all we ask.
One lucky reader will win a copy of The Seers by Juliana Scott!
Once you’ve entered our giveaway, be sure to link to all the other book-related giveaways in this hop just below the Rafflecopter form!
1) The deadline for entries is Wednesday night, 1/15/2014, at 11:59pm EST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 15 years old to enter this giveaway.
4) You must use the Rafflecopter form. Even if leaving a comment is part of the giveaway, you must use the form in addition to leaving the comment for the comment to count as an entry.
5) If you already follow PopcornReads on Twitter or Facebook, you must still complete that part of the Rafflecopter form for your follow to count as an entry.
6) If you do not provide a complete mailing address in the Rafflecopter form, your entry will not be eligible. We will use your mailing address to ship your book to you. Please allow 4-6 weeks for shipping.
7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
Click here to link to all of the book-related giveaways in the Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop!