Quin Kincaid is a Seeker. Her legacy is an honor, an ancient role passed down for generations. But what she learned on her Oath night changed her world forever.
Quin pledged her life to deception. Her legacy as a Seeker is not noble but savage. Her father, a killer. Her uncle, a liar. Her mother, a casualty. And the boy she once loved is out for vengeance, with her family in his sights.
Yet Quin is not alone. Shinobu, her oldest companion, might now be the only person she can trust. The only one who wants answers as desperately as she does.
But the deeper they dig into the past, the darker things become. There are long-vanished Seeker families, shadowy alliances, and something else: a sinister plan begun generations ago, with the power to end the legacy forever.
The past is close. And it will destroy them all.
Praise for Traveler, book two in the Seeker series:
"An action-packed read with plenty of surprising turns. Readers of Kami Garcia, Tahereh Mafi, and Marie Lu will appreciate [Traveler]."—Booklist
Praise for Seeker, book one in the Seeker series:
“Katniss and Tris would approve.” —TeenVogue.com
“This book will not disappoint.” —USAToday.com
“Fans of Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Marie Lu’s Legend, and Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games series: your next obsession has arrived.”—School Library Journal
“[A] genre-blending sci-fi, fantasy . . . [with] action-packed scenes.”—Booklist
“In this powerful beginning to a complex family saga . . . Dayton excels at creating memorable characters.” —Publishers Weekly
“Secrets, danger, and romance meet in this unforgettable epic fantasy.” —Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures and author of Unbreakable
“A tightly woven, action-packed story of survival and adventure, Seeker is perfect for fans of Game of Thrones.” —Tahereh Mafi, author of the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series
About the Author
Arwen lives with her husband and their three children on the West Coast of the United States. You can visit her at arwendayton.com and follow @arwenelysdayton on Twitter and Instagram.
Read an Excerpt
“Shinobu?” Quin asked when she saw him stirring. “Are you awake?”
“I think so,” he answered slowly.
Shinobu MacBain’s voice was thick and groggy, but he raised his head to look for her. It was the first time he’d moved in several hours, and Quin was relieved to see him conscious.
She carefully tucked the leather book she’d been clutching into her jacket pocket and crossed the darkened hospital room to where Shinobu lay, in a bed that looked too short for someone so tall.
Even in the dim light, she could make out the burns on both of his cheeks. They were mostly healed, and his head was now covered with a thick, even growth of dark red hair--but she was stuck with the memory of the singed and blood-caked hair the nurses hadshaved off when he was admitted for surgery.
“Hey,” she said, crouching next to the bed. “It’s good to see you awake.”
He tried to smile, but it ended up as a grimace. “It’s good to be awake . . . except for every part of my body hurting.”
“Well, you don’t do anything halfway, now, do you?” she asked, letting her chin rest on the bed’s railing. “You’ll help me even if it means throwing yourself off a building, crashing an airship, and getting cut in half.”
“You jumped off that building with me,” he pointed out, his voice still thick with sleep.
“We were tied together, so I didn’t have a choice.” She managed a smile, though the memory of that jump was terrifying.
Shinobu had been in the London hospital for two weeks. He’d arrived close to death--Quin had brought him by ambulance after their fight on Traveler and the airship’s crash into Hyde Park. She’d been in this room, walking restlessly and sitting and sleeping in its uncomfortable chair, ever since. She had, in fact, turned seventeen several nights previously, while pacing between his bed and the window at midnight.
Behind Shinobu, the hospital’s monitors beeped and whirred, glowing lights traveling across their screens in shifting patterns as they measured his vital signs. They were the familiar backdrop of Quin’s days.
She lifted his shirt to look at the deep wound along the right side of his abdomen. The nearly fatal gash he’d received from her father, Briac Kincaid, had healed into a tender purple line, seven inches long. It had been sewn up so neatly, the doctors said the scar might disappear altogether, but at the moment the wound was still swollen and, judging from Shinobu’s expression, terrifically painful whenever he moved.
Aside from that injury and the burns on his face, he’d entered the hospital with a badly broken leg and several crushed ribs. The doctors had bathed the wounds liberally with cellular reconstructors, which were forcing him to heal at an accelerated rate. There was one drawback: the process was rather excruciating.
Quin brushed her fingers over a lump beneath his skin near the sword wound, and Shinobu caught her hand.
“Don’t make it drug me, Quin. I want the doctor to take those things out. I’m sleeping too much.”
To help with the quick-mending wounds, he’d been implanted with painkiller reservoirs near his worst injuries. If the pain became too intense, or if he moved too vigorously, or if someone pushed on the reservoirs directly, they released a flood of drugs, which usually knocked him out. That was why he’d been mostly unconscious for the past two weeks. This brief conversation was already one of the longest periods awake he’d had in days, and Quin took it as a very good sign. The doctors had told her his recovery would happen this way--slowly at first, and then accelerating unexpectedly.
“You’re refusing drugs now?” she asked him archly. Shinobu had been on very friendly terms with illicit substances back in Hong Kong, a habit he’d only recently broken. “You’re full of surprises tonight, Shinobu MacBain.”
He didn’t laugh, probably because that would have hurt, but he pulled her closer with the hand that didn’t have an IV running into it. Quin eased herself onto the narrow bed, and hergaze instinctively swept the chamber. The room was large, but bare of furnishings except for the bed, the medical machinery, and the chair in which Quin had been living. Her eyes stopped on the large window above the chair.They were on a high floor of the hospital, and through the glass was a panoramic view of nighttime London. Hyde Park was visible in the distance, emergency lights still erected over the broken bulk of Traveler.
Shinobu pushed his shoulder into hers on the bed, bringing her back to him. Her mind went to the journal in her pocket. Perhaps he was awake enough to see it.
He whispered, “There are things to say, Quin, now that I’m awake. You kissed me on the ship.”
“I thought you kissed me,” she responded, teasing him lightly.
“I did,” he whispered seriously.
That kiss . . . she’d replayed it in her mind hundreds of times. They’d kissed and held each other during the nightmare, whirling crash of Traveler, and it had been right. They had been so close as children. They’d remained close during all of their Seeker training, even when John came to the estate and altered the dynamics of their lives. But it was not until they’d met again in Hong Kong, changed and older, that she’d seen him for what he was--not just her oldest friend but the other half of her.
“Is it too strange, the two of us?” she asked before she could stop herself. She wasn’t sure of her footing in this new and unfamiliar territory of intimacy.
“It’s so strange,” he replied immediately. Quin didn’t like that answer at all, but Shinobu drew her hand up to his chest before she could respond, kissed the palm, and whispered, “I’ve wanted to be with you for so long, and now here you are.”
The words and the weight of his hand filled her with warmth. “But . . . all those girls from Corrickmore . . .” she said. There had always been lots of girls in Shinobu’s life. He’d never once given the impression he was waiting around for her.
“I expected those girls to make you jealous, but you never noticed,” he told her. He didn’t say it bitterly; he was simply opening his heart. “All you cared about was John.”
She responded softly, “You took care of me anyway. When John attacked the estate . . . and in Hong Kong . . . on Traveler . . . You’re always taking care of me.”
“Because you’re mine,” he whispered back.
She glanced at his face and saw a sleepy smile appearing. He moved her hand closer to his heart, held it there. She turned toward him on the bed, thinking it might be time to kiss him again--
“Ow!” he gasped.
“What happened? Did I--”
“It’s--at your hip.”
“Sorry! That’s the athame.”
Quin scooted away from him and drew the stone dagger from its concealed location at her waistband, where it had just been crushed into Shinobu’s hip bone.
“Oh, there it is,” he said, and he took the ancient implement from her hands. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot while I’ve been lying here half-asleep--or dreaming about it, maybe.”
The athame was about as long as her forearm and quite dull despite its dagger shape. Its handgrip was made up of many stacked circular dials, all of the same pale stone. This particular athame belonged to the Dreads. The Young Dread had handed it to Quin after the crash of Traveler, and it was somewhat different from the other athames she and Shinobu had seen during their Seeker training, more delicate and also more complicated.
Shinobu shifted the stone dagger’s dials with practiced ease, his IV tube bobbing as it trailed off his left hand. “It has more dials, so you can get to more specific locations than you can with other athames, don’t you think?”
Quin nodded. She’d spent hours in the quiet of the hospital room examining this athame. As on all athames, a series of symbols was carved on each dial. By rotating the dials, you could line up seemingly endless iterations of those symbols. Each combination was a set of coordinates, a place a Seeker could go using the ancient tool. The additional dials on this particular dagger meant one could choose locations with much greater precision. During their fight on Traveler, the Dreads had used it to enter the moving airship. It was a feat that would have been impossible with any other athame. None but the athame of the Dreads could access a moving location.
Watching Shinobu study the dagger so intently and rotate the dials so nimbly, Quin decided that there was no reason to wait; he was alert enough to hear more. She pulled the leatherbook from her jacket and held it out to him.
“Is that . . . ?” he asked.
“It arrived this afternoon.”
It was a copy of thejournal that had belonged to John’s mother, Catherine. Quin had had the real journal with her when she and Shinobu had parachuted onto Traveler during that crazy night two weeks ago, but she’d lost it--or rather, John had found it and taken it during the frenzied confrontation on the airship.
What Quin was holding was a copy--a copy she’d made back in Hong Kong weeks ago, before they came to London. Her mother, Fiona, had been with them on Traveler during the crash, and then in the hospital. Fiona had returned to Hong Kong a few days prior, and the first thing she’d done upon arriving was send the copied journal to Quin. She’d even bound the pages in leather, turning them into a new journal in their own right, an accurate copy of Catherine’s original in size and shape.
Quin flipped through it, with Shinobu watching over her shoulder.
“Some of it is so old, I can’t read it well, but the parts I can read are about the different Seeker families.”
“Families besides ours?”
“Yes, but our own families too,” she answered.
While Quin and Shinobu were growing up on the Scottish estate, they’d understood--theoretically--that there had once been many other Seeker families. But they’d only ever met members of their own two houses--Quin’s, the house with a ram for its emblem, and Shinobu’s, the house of the eagle. They knew that John came from another Seeker house. But John’s family had already fallen apart and mostly disappeared before his generation, and she and Shinobu hadn’t given his ancestors, or anyone else’s, much thought. Quin’s father, Briac, had even removed the insignia of other houses from the estate.
Other Seeker families had felt like distant history. They were part of the old tales Shinobu’s father had told them as kids, about Seekers who had unseated terrible kings, hunted killers, driven criminals out of medieval lands, and been the force of muchgood in history. If . . . , Quin thought angrily, any of that was true. They’d grown up believing that Seekers were noble, but Briac had changed their world. He’d used their ancient tools and once-honorable abilities to turn Seekers into little more than hired assassins, collecting money and trading on power, and Quin couldn’t help but wonder: How long has it been like this?
“We know Catherine and John belonged to the house of the fox,” she said, turning pages until she reached one with a simple, elegant drawing of a fox at the top. Beneath this picture were paragraphs in small, neat, girlish writing, which continued for several pages. “These notes are about older members of the house of the fox,” Quin explained, running her finger down a list of names and dates and locations. “Catherine was writing about her grandparents and ancestors. She’s trying to account for where everyone was, and where they all went.”
“ ‘She.’ You mean John’s mother, Catherine?” Shinobu asked.
Quin nodded. “This is her writing. See?”
She flipped to the very beginning of the journal. Beneath the front cover, on an otherwise blank page, was a small inscription in the same hand:
Catherine Renart, a traveler
“That’s what she says. Her handwriting is everywhere in the journal. Though there’s also writing from a lot of other people in the earlier entries.”
“So . . . you get this book a few hours ago, and the first thing you check is John’s family?” he asked, his head bumping softly into hers on the pillow to take the sting out of his words.
She rolled her eyes and poked him gently with her elbow. “It’s because I’m still in love with him. Obviously.”
“I knew it,” he whispered.
He pulled her closer. Quin thought about closing the book, but Shinobu was looking at it intently, and she wanted him to see it while his mind was sharp, before he drifted off again.
“I read about John’s family first because his mother took the best notes on her own house,” she explained, trying to ignore, for the moment, each place where her leg and arm and shoulder were touching Shinobu’s. “But it looks as though Catherine was trying to keep track of all the Seeker families for a long while. She wanted to know where they’d all gone.”
“And where did they go?” Shinobu asked.
“That’s still the question.” Quin fanned through the journal. “When I’ve read all of this, maybe we’ll get some answers.”
Shinobu struggled to sit up a bit, then gave up and lay back on the bed. He took her hand again and looked at her seriously.
“Quin, what are you doing?” he asked.
She glanced down at the journal, closed it. “I thought we should follow--”
“We aren’t Seeker apprentices anymore,” he told her. “We’ve gotten away from your father and from John. When I get out of the hospital, we don’t have to be anything. We could go somewhere together and just be.”
Quin was quiet for a time, thinking about this. That simple future sounded lovely when Shinobu offered it. He had set the athame on his chest, with his left hand over it, protectively. Quin put her own hand on it as well, feeling the cool stone and the warmth of his hand. Why couldn’t they go off somewhere and just live--live as ordinary people? Their life as Seekers would never be the life they’d expected as children; that future had been a lie. So why not become something else?
But she knew the answer already.
“The Young Dread gave this athame into my keeping--for a while at least,” she told him. “She wanted me to have it.”
“That doesn’t mean we have to use it,” he responded gently.
“I think maybe it does.”
He regarded her for a long moment, then asked, “What is it you want to do, Quin?”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Quin Kincaid is a Seeker. Born into a 'noble' cause along with her best friend Shinobu and the love of her life Jonathan, she believed that everything was right in the world. But after learning the truth on the most important night of her life, Quin does not know what to believe. Now her home is destoryed, the boy she loves is leading an armada against what is left of her family, her mother is dead, her father and uncle have been lying to her for her entire life. All she has left is Shinobu, her confidant, who must help her get the answers they both need desperately. But the more answers they search for the more sinister things become. Long lost families, hidden alliances, and a plan that no one saw coming that could end the Seekers forever. The past now haunts them. Will Quin and Shinobu be able to save John and-more importantly- the world? Opinion: Traveler was so wonderful!!! The characters, world building, details and most of the answers I had been wanting were all there. Of course, not all the questions were answered; you have to leave somethings for the last book. Traveler was even better than Seeker as I was waiting at the end of Seeker for these moments, that I finally got in Traveler. I love the journey that Arwen has the characters take and the struggles they have along the way. All of this strengthens them and prepares them for what is to come. Traveler takes place just after Seeker, only two weeks have passed. Shinobu is recovering in the hospital from his injuries and Quin is by his side making sure he gets the help he needs. Did I mention Shinobu, swoon!!! I have loved him since Seeker and his first section on his POV. I just will always love him, and will pull for him no matter what! Quin has been given a new athame by Maud also know as (Young Dread). The athame helps her travel to different locations. They need this when her father finds them, and still continues to wage war. Reviewed by a LitPick student book reviewer Age: 14
An amazing book that managed to capture me right from the beginning and hold my attention all the way through. A true page turner
I remember being rather conflicted about Seeker when I first read it last year. It's a huge info dump and there were many times I was exceptionally confused about what was going on, when it was all going on, and where. Despite this, I did enjoy the story and was intrigued about where Arwen was taking these characters. Picking up not long after Seeker ends, Traveler is less of an info dump and contains more story telling than it's predecessor. There's backstory and the perfect amount of information that allows for understanding of characters' motives and of the story itself. Traveler is narrated by a variety of characters and luckily they all have their own voice, personality, and personal motives. Quin and Shinobu are determined to figure out where the Seeker world went wrong. When did they go from saving people to killing for money? With a copy of Catherine's journal, they delve deeper into their world and its secrets for the truth. At the same time, John is training with Maud (aka Young Dread) to become stronger and faster so he may learn the truth and avenge the death of his mother, Catherine. Catherine's story line came off as the most informative as it sheds light on present day events. Secrets are revealed and I wish I had known her story earlier as everything else would have made a lot more sense. I understand the slow reveal and not telling us everything at once, but this is a case where I feel the backstory would have helped immensely with the comprehension of everything else. Arwen has created an interesting world filled with secrets, evolving characters, and twists and turns. There is a lot going on, but Arwen is able to hold her own and keep the story flowing. There are many times a chapter ends on a cliff hanger and I am so frustrated (in a good way!) that putting down Traveler is difficult because it's such a twist that need to know if what's happening is really happening! Even better, Arwen has left her characters in rather interesting positions and I'm looking forward to finding out how she will round everything out and end this series.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Traveler by Arwen Ely Dayton Book Two of the Seeker series Publisher: Delacorte Press Publication Date: January 12, 2016 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): For readers of A Game of Thrones and Legend, Traveler, the sequel to Seeker. Quin Kincaid is a Seeker. Her legacy is an honor, an ancient role passed down for generations. But what she learned on her Oath night changed her world forever. Quin pledged her life to deception. Her legacy as a Seeker is not noble but savage. Her father, a killer. Her uncle, a liar. Her mother, a casualty. And the boy she once loved is out for vengeance, with her family in his sights. Yet Quin is not alone. Shinobu, her oldest companion, might now be the only person she can trust. The only one who wants answers as desperately as she does. But the deeper they dig into the past, the darker things become. There are long-vanished Seeker families, shadowy alliances, and something else: a sinister plan begun generations ago, with the power to destroy them all. The past is close. And it will destroy them all. What I Liked: I gave Seeker four stars but in hindsight, it was probably more of a three-star read. Traveler was better, in my opinion. If you had issues with Seeker, it's more than likely that you will enjoy Traveler more. This book seemed to make more sense! Sequels are often hit or miss in that aspect, so I'm glad Traveler was more of a "hit" overall. Shinobu and Quin are back in Hong Kong, with Shinobu slowly healing. They're being hunted by strange boys who move like Seekers but aren't Seekers. The boys are after the athame that the Young Dread gave Quin. But why? As Quin and Shinobu discover more from Catherine's journal, they begin to understand what is at play, what is at stake, and how history is becoming real again. One of the things that really stuck out to me was how many perspectives there were in this book. The whole book is written in third person POV, but it's not a dual POV book. We get Quin, Shinobu, Job, Maud (the Young Dread), but also some news perspectives - one of the boys hunting Quin and Shinobu, as well as a chapters that delve into the past, from the perspective of Catherine, John's mother. At first I was like, no way, this is too many! Quin, Shinobu, and John were enough! But as I was reading, the story really started to make sense with so many perspectives. I don't think the story would have flowed as well as it did without all of those perspectives. I also really liked the historical chapters, which featured Catherine, approximately eighteen years before. Quin and Shinobu have been going through her journal, trying to figure out why Seekers are hunted. Year ago, Catherine was investigating the same thing, and so we get to experience her life eighteen years ago, before John was ever a thought in her mind. Usually I skip chapters that have "blasts from the past", but I loved reading about Catherine, and the information is so relevant and so necessary to understand the bigger picture. I felt like I connected very strongly with Quin, Shinobu, John, and even the Young Dread. Quin and Shinobu are easy because they're our classic protagonist pair. John was an antagonist in Seeker, but he has a completely different role in this book... Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)