Following my—ultimately—somewhat lukewarm reaction to Julianna Scott’s The Holders I was somewhat resigned to the fact that The Seers might just prove to be another three-star book. I expected plot progression, more obvious twists, and little in the way of the sort of excitement I usually expect from Strange Chemistry authors. But man, was I wrong. The Seers did more than just deliver; it sent the whole thing gift-wrapped, included a free cupcake with sprinkles and glitter—and sent it FedEx express. It was such a leap in form and style from The Holders that I could hardly believe how hooked I was until I was reading into the night. Sometimes whether a book can sustain me through a night of fibro insomnia is a real test of its mettle, and this book certainly proved itself a fast and firm companion.
I go absolutely crazy for set time, set place, set objective books; they feel nicely contained, the parameters set and a wide open space left in the middle for anything at all to happen. I like conference-style events; I like parties and the fact that our characters are somewhere out of their comfort zone and winging it as best they can. The Seers gave me precisely this.
Following the events with Darragh and the Iris, Becca is slowly learning how to harness her abilities and slowly getting used to life having a father. With her status as a Holder secured, Becca’s life tumbled out of orbit and left her way off kilter: she’s far away from home; her brother is growing up by himself, making friends and finding an independence that makes Becca feel a little irrelevant; she’s truly, madly, deeply in love with a guy who tells her she’s beautiful in Gaelic; and she just so happens to be, potentially, the most powerful Holder ever, ever, ever. No pressure, then.
But Becca is finding her feet and building bridges with her father—and all whilst trying to hunt down a man who could destroy the entire race of Holders; someone too powerful for Becca to even think about. The abilities Darragh has stolen make him a formidable match for any Holder—especially one who barely knows what she’s doing. For now, Becca’s aiming small, trying to locate a man who appeared in the memories of Taron, her father’s trusted friend turned traitor. To find this man, Becca must attend an elite Holders only event hosted by a powerful Holder family: the kind of family that recognises only Holders as being of any import. They’re snobbish and bigoted and Becca is dreading every second. She must blend in, be invisible—lest anyone look too deep and see that it is Becca who the prophecy mentioned. But blending is hard when you don’t fit in and don’t understand the rules of the game. She thinks she has it all figured out, knows who she needs to keep an eye on—but she couldn’t be more wrong. Entering into the world of the Bhunaidh will be far more complex a task than Becca suspected and when called upon to trust strangers, her resolve might just be stretched too far.
But the truth might just be bigger than any of them suspected and knowing it might bring about more responsibility and danger—all of it aimed at Becca. Before she knows it, she finds herself entangled in this deep, dark world of pureblooded Holders. The plot suddenly twists and thickens, leading in a very unexpected direction. Becca has no choice but to follow the path presented—but can she really do this?
The Seers surprised me, presenting an exciting new path for Becca to tread. I was engrossed from start to finish, eagerly absorbing every word in order to find out what secrets the Bhunaidh might be hiding and just who could be trusted. There are elements that are predictable, but in that satisfying sort of way: sensing a character’s true motivations, their true allegiance before the protagonists do; or predicating part of a plot twist. In this way, The Seers was absolutely nothing like The Holders. It makes sense that The Holders was as it was: it was the beginning, setting up the story with the setting, the characters and the history. I can accept this as I much prefer a slower start to a series with a background, rather than suddenly being thrown headlong into a world you don’t know, asked to care about people you do not know. The Seers was enthralling and I loved every moment.
One of the best things about the book was Becca and her evolution as a character. She is standing on new and uncertain ground and her presentation reflects this perfectly. Becca is imperfect, impulsive and desperate to be useful and shoulder the responsibility the prophecy has given her—whether she is ready or not. Her relationship with Alex reads like a dream and her growing relationship with her formerly estranged father is unreal. It’s that good and that’s how much I love that Scott went there. It’s always mothers. I was thrilled to have a change in the formula.
Ultimately, The Seers is a completely different animal to The Holders: the prose is tighter and sharper and the characters read like completely real people, with real issues and fears and insecurities. Everyone shows strength and vulnerability and this makes me heart it all the more. Three cheers for utterly real people!
Furthermore: three cheers for Becca and Alex and just how perfect they are together. I’m pleased Scott went “there” with their relationship. I’m a little tired of “it” never happening in YA novels—always with the kissing, the snogging, the making-out. But what about the… ya know? “It” happens, so let it happen! I’m thrilled that Becca was presented with, you know, raging teenage hormones. The sexy tiem hormones are not exclusive to guys, so go Becca with your sexy tiem hormones, too.
In the end, this book surprised me. I did not expect to love it. Well, I do love it. I love the mystery, the investigation, the hunt for Darragh, the prophecies, the haughty pureblood Holders—every bit of it. I can only hope that the next book will do the same as The Seers did with The Holders and build on every aspect and make it stronger, better, deeper. Scott can do it, I’m certain—and I’m definitely excited about these books again.
The Seers is a far deeper book than I imagined—deep and emotive and a gripping pleasure to read.
Julianna was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spent the majority of her educational career convinced she would be a musician. However, after receiving her music degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, she realized that she’d been born in the wrong era for her dreams of singing jazz to adoring fans clad in zoot-suits and flapper dresses to come true, and began to wonder if her true calling might be elsewhere.
While Julianna had always excelled in writing throughout school, she’d never considered it a career possibility until about three years ago, when she’d gotten her first story idea and decided to go for it. She grabbed her laptop, started typing away, and has never looked back.
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