Tristen the Last Seeker by Fleur Camacho
From the Goodreads description:
Ever since Tristen, a sixteen year old teenager, is assigned to work with Ailey on a school project, his life takes a thrilling and alarming turn. Tristen can’t stop the inexorable pull he feels toward Ailey; just being around her draws him in completely, blindly and with disastrous consequences. At the same time, an evil priest invades Tristen’s dreams and threatens to kill his mom.
Soon, Tristen and his friends find themselves magically transported to Fifteenth Century France and Tristen discovers that he is the last-born Seeker – destined to save the past and the influential figures who shape it. When someone tries to kill him, Tristen must make a choice: embrace his destined purpose and risk losing everything or be stuck in the past running for his life forever.
This is not a novel about vampires, werewolves or ghosts. This is not your regular romantic, time traveling, coming-of-age story. This is the first book in a magical, paranormal, fantasy series about a regular kid who finds out he is destined to become the new Seeker to save the world from a bloody ending. If Tristen had known that pairing up with Ailey would trigger a magical ancient prophecy ushering in the beginning of the end of the world, he might have stayed in bed that day.
This is the first in a series following Tristen who suddenly finds himself transported back in time to 15th century France. He learns that he is a Seeker and has a role to play in preventing history from being altered. The concept is a really great one, but it fell flat for me in the execution.
What I liked:
The whole time-travelling, save the past concept really works for me. I think it’s a great concept that has potential for a lot of awesome stories.
Tristen has potential to be a loveable character. He’s got the uncoordinated nerdy thing happening. But for someone who is so smart (getting an A+ in History) he’s incredibly stupid socially. He didn’t quite hit loveable for me, but I saw some character development throughout the story that may take him there.
What I didn’t like:
Sadly, I felt like the book needed a good editor. A lot of the pieces were there, the story jumped around in places without giving enough focus on the new setting, how much time had passed, or how the characters got there. For a YA book, I felt the language used fell more on the middle grade side of the spectrum. Sentences could have flowed a bit better – for example: “Then I inspected my shirt; I noticed a long, thin tear in my shirt.” Repeating shirt twice in the same sentence is unnecessary. Tristen is very dramatic and it was difficult to tell the difference at time between the dreams/visions that he was having and just his own overly dramatic responses to things.
I also felt like we didn’t get enough of what it was like living in 15th century France or coming war. There was a lot of potential for learning about daily life and for the family to share their political views in a way that would show how they were impacted by the larger France/England conflict. We got little glimpses of this, but Tristen remained very self-centered and didn’t explore more of the larger world he was transported to. Even the person he was sent back to save, we never got a full explanation of why she was important and for someone doing so well in history class Tristen never seemed to put the pieces together. It was disappointing to not see more of this type of world building.
There was also a big reveal towards the end of the book where we learn more about Tristen’s power/gift and where it came from. I really felt his reaction to this information was not in character. He was overly dramatic about minor things at the beginning of the book, and his reaction to huge life altering news at the end is just, oh.
I did feel like the book improved as it went along. I used the word potential a lot in this review, so I have higher hopes that the sequel will continue to build.
I’m giving it a 2/5. As I mentioned, the pieces were there and it would benefit as a book from a good editor to help pull it together in a more cohesive way.