The second volume in Arwen Elys Dayton’s Seeker novels, Traveler, continues the examination of dark shades of grey revealed in the first; however, rather than only showing John’s, Quin’s, and Shinobu’s struggles, Dayton blends past and present as well as a new set of complex characters, the Watchers, to flesh out the full horror of the truth. Again, I can’t reveal too much about the plot without ruining the story for readers, because while it has the same tone of the first book, the actual reveals are intense. Both past and present choices shook me to the core, and the final pages left me trembling . . . and then internally cursing that I’ll have to wait until 2017 for a final resolution!
I must continue to emphasize that Traveler is mature YA, and there are descriptions of death, twisted revenge, struggles with addiction, and fantasy elements mimicking mental illness as well as actual mental instability. Dayton allows readers to peer into the mind of an extremely dark character, and it touches many of the younger cast members in ways that feel evil and dirty.
The love triangle element is gone by book two, although the romance definitely takes a back seat to the adventure. The story also loses a lot of the Chosen One vibe in this installment, but it allows the teenage characters to grow and develop more fully beyond a basic hero cycle trope.
I really think you should read Seeker before diving into Traveler, because it doesn’t take much time to reacquaint readers with the world before continuing John’s, Shinobu’s, and Quin’s stories; however, if the first book resonated with you at all, you must pick up this one. It took me places I never anticipated, and I truly don’t know how the saga will wind up.
4.5 Counts to Two Hundred out of 5