Review - Fated - Alyson Noel

Fated (Soul Seekers, #1)Title: Fated (Soul Seekers #1)
Author: Alyson Noel
Genre: Young-Adult, Paranormal Romance
Publication: May 22nd 2012, Pan Macmillan
Pages: 448, Paperback
Source: Thanks so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me Fated in exchange for a honest review :)
Rating: 4/5 Cupcakes
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Immortals comes a breathtaking new saga brimming with magic, mystery, and an intoxicating love story that will steal your heart away. Meet The Soul Seekers.
Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.
There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to 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.
I've had Fated on my TBR pile for awhile now, and whenever I've been about to read it, I've been distracted by another read or not been in the mood to read it. However, I finally decided to pick it up, and I enjoyed it a lot more than expected. I wasn't expecting myself to be so intrigued by the magical world Noel has created, nor was I expecting myself to be so fully immersed in the story. This is the first novel I've read by Alyson, and I can easily say, I was most impressed and will be reading more of her books in the near future.

Fated is about sixteen year old Daire Santos, daughter to a Hollywood make-up artist, Jennika. Daire, who has in the last few months, been experiencing horrific visions and witnessing glowing people following her, beckoning her, to what, she doesn't yet know. Daire doesn't tell her mother about the traumatic things she has been experiencing, as the last time she told her, she didn't take it so well. When Daire sees more awful visions and scratches and physically harms a new up-and-coming actor, people immediately label her as someone with a mental issue. As soon as Daire is to be admitted to hospital, she gets an unexpected call from the grandmother she has heard about, but never met. Paloma, Daire's grandmother, recognises the symptoms of what her grand-daughter is going through, Daire is actually a Seeker, and it is finally happening, Daire's destiny is calling for her. With help from Paloma, Chay and the gorgeous Dace, Daire will either choose to embrace who she is, or not accept it, which will mostly likely lead her on an unfortunate path. When despicable evil descends upon the town of Enchantment, Daire will have to be able to use all she has learnt and fight her arch-nemesis, the El Coyotes. But with Chad being the dark, twisted twin brother of Dace, Daire will have to tread lightly, and find out if the guy she is in love with, is destined with the enemy that is out to destroy her.

I enjoyed Fated a lot more than expected. I honestly thought it was going to be that typical, slightly cheesy paranormal romance story that's supposed to come off as dark but doesn't...I'm glad to say that Fated wasn't really like that. I thought it was going to be an average novel at best or maybe worse, yet it was a new, original idea that I thoroughly enjoyed. I haven't read many books about souls and different worlds and dimensions, and Fated was a refreshing read. Like I've said, I love it when authors have the ability to come up with a completely new book idea.

I really liked the way the author writes. Some people didn't really enjoy the writing style but I did. I also think she is a good author. Her writing is the type where you can really immerse yourself in the story, get lost in it, and be amazed at the wondrous world she has created. I honestly couldn't tear my gaze away from Fated. I loved reading about the different portals and the different worlds and dimensions she travelled through. I loved learning about the three different "worlds" and it was one epic adventure. It was really awesome reading about Daire's destiny as a soul seeker, and I was constantly been surprised at the latest turn of events.

Her descriptions were lovely and I found it helpful that she listed the animal spirits Daire would encounter, and the different things they help with and the activities that the spirit animals partake in.

The plot was interesting, it wasn't the best and there weren't that many astounding things happening but that's okay, it's the first book in the series and I think the author will slowly build the action and surprises up, but it was still an extremely enjoyable novel. One of the faults I did find with Fated though, was that for the first three quarters or so of the book there wasn't that much action, and it was mostly Daire adjusting to her new life as a Seeker, and then the last quarter of the book was a mad frenzy with non-stop action, almost too much action in such a short space, and at times I felt the things that were happening were going to fast and not being explained enough. It wasn't really evened out in pacing, the first part of the book was going along at a nice pace and then there was just too much happening in the last part, as if the author was trying to make-up on the action she lost in the beginning.

I also would've liked it if the author was a bit more explanatory on the history of the Soul Seekers and their rivals. I felt myself very confused at time, especially when Paloma and Daire were talking, as when Daire asked a question Paloma would just brush it off, and I would also be left thinking well what is the answer to that question.

For me to really enjoy a book, I have to have a bond with the main character. I want to be able to cry when they cry, laugh when they laugh, most of the time when I can't connect to the characters, it makes me lower the rating of the book right down.

Now the thing is, I'm not actually sure about Daire. For the most part she seemed like a nice, normal, down-to-earth girl....but then a second later she would come off as ungrateful, pushy and bratty. She wasn't really a likeable main character and didn't seem to have that much personality. I'm hoping that in the next book she will be slightly different.

Paloma was a very sweet lady and extremely kind to Daire, and sometimes I found that Daire didn't treat her with respect in the beginning. Also, towards the end Daire stated how close they were, but I didn't really see their relationship grow. It went (for me) from "who is this person" to "eh she's alright" to "ohmigosh I love her and will do anything for her". I honestly would've liked to be shown her close they were.

The romance was alright. Once again I didn't see a proper progression from friends to lovers, it was almost like insta-love in a way. Although Daire had Dace in her dreams, that didn't actually mean she knew him. They were also basically strangers and then confessing their love for each other, so I really hope in the future that Noel will make sure to write the relationships at a steady pace. It was also quite tiresome when Daire would talk continuously about Dace's "lean, tanned body". I swear if I counted all the times she described their "ice-blue eyes" and their bodies and got paid for every time I read that I would have a lot of money.

Dace was a really sweet character and wasn't too bad of a love interest. He was sweet, caring and thoughtful and I look forward to reading about him in Echo. As for his dark and evil twin brother Chad...he was just straight out creepy!

Despite it's few faults Fated was an original, fresh, well-written novel. Noel's words entranced me and I was completely transfixed with the world she depicted and the story itself. Fated has been disliked by some people and loved by others, I fall into the second category. I loved it and if you decide to read it, I hope you will too!

I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!