The Seeking by Marlena Frank
Publisher: Parliament House Press
Release date: October 27, 2020
Beware the Gray People
Each Seeking, the magic that protects the town of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the Exalted Family must go into hiding. Whether through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day of The Seeking.
When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a price.
What they will discover is far worse.
The Seeking was another perfect pick to read just before Halloween – there are things inside this book that I would never wish to encounter. I won’t lie – the creatures Marlena Frank brought to life are downright terrifying, and if you’re sensitive to things like that, I don’t recommend reading it before bed. In my mind’s eye, the Gray People look like a terrifying version of a spriggan. I can imagine the town of Carra surrounded by haunting swaths of forested areas. The humans terrified of being near the boundary line, not fully understanding what their protection costs or what they are being protected from – until it’s too late.
I loved the diversity of the characters, their very human actions towards each other (good or bad), and how they grew throughout the story. I thoroughly enjoyed Dahlia’s character. She’s very down-to-earth, and she truly cares about not only her family but the others residing in Carra. There were several twists within that I was not expecting – the history (albeit brief) of Carra, humans, and the Gray People.
I would partially label The Seeking as a dystopia – the history behind the Priest family and the uncommon (but exceedingly common today) item given to Dahlia by her brother. It would be interesting to know what happened to form the reality that Dahlia resides in – it isn’t covered much, and, while it isn’t essential to the story, I’m beyond curious. If The Seeking were to become a series, I would 100% read any sequels. Marlena Frank successfully sucked me into Dahlia’s world, and I would love to read more. I would highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy young adult, LGBTQ+ relationships (PG), supernatural, horror, and fantasy. A BIG thank you to The Parliament House Press and Marlena Frank for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this heart-pounding, more than slightly terrifying book – all opinions are my own.