||Pill Hill Press
||August 26, 2011
Haunted by desire
she is willing to do the unthinkable.
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Pill Hill Press
Life is strange and difficult for the granddaughter of a shaman.
Sixteen-year-old Talisa Santiago was born in the desert underneath the full moon in January—the wolf moon. However, she left the desert with her mother when she was a young girl. She remembers bits and pieces of her past but it isn’t until she and her mom move to a remote barrier island off the coast of North Carolina that she feels fate has finally called—secretive and mysterious he stands alone on the edge of the bank. Her friends tell her to stay away; she hears rumors that he is dangerous. Still, she can’t resist. Whether Talisa realizes it or not, she knows a thing or two about boys like Jag Chavez. Fate is funny that way.
For the first time in her life, Talisa meets kids just like her—Native Americans who know the way of the spirit. The closer she gets to Jag, the more she realizes he is hiding a dark secret. He may have the markings of the Thunderbird, but he is named for the powerful Jaguar. Together they embark on a journey that will haunt her forever.
Drowning would be a terrible way to die. Silent. As I gazed out to the summer sea, images of twinkling sands swept across my mind. The dark, unfathomed ocean with its mysterious tides filled my soul with a holy presence, for I knew that its depths were seldom seen. However, when I visited the corners of my life, it wasn’t water that I longed for. Instead, it was the desert of my past, a place of total isolation.
It was the most horrifying thing I had ever witnessed. And the most wicked. Enchanting? Of course, that’s why I remember it so well.
I was only five when I first saw the dead man. I was awakened at midnight by the sound of beating drums.
Before me were two men with their bodies painted, wearing masks, dancing around the grotesque corpse. Their long, thick hair flapped against their backs as they moved in perfect rhythm. In and out, they went into a trance. Shadows appeared through the smoke. I could see the dead man’s spirit hovering around, waiting for redemption. His side had been torn in half, mauled it seemed by a wild animal of some sort. In the background there was a woman stirring a paste. I smiled when she looked at me. It was my mother.
She went to the dead man and began rubbing his ragged, maggot-ridden side with the magic potion. Her long hair flowed into his wounds. The two male dancers began stomping their feet, waving their hands, and chanting foreign sounds only the spirits could understand. The ceremony took most of the night. By dawn, the drums finally stopped beating. And the dead man woke up. He staggered as he stood, walking out of the tent with a limp. The miracle workers removed their masks. I watched my mother with perfect clarity. She was mesmerizing. Her beauty was extraordinary. Divine. The way she carefully wiped the paint from their sweat filled faces and soaked their bloody, battered feet in buckets of warm water was a ritual my mother knew all too well. The two men she cleansed were my father and grandfather. She handed each of them a peace pipe. That was the last memory I have of my father. After that, I don’t remember ever seeing him again.
Although I do know the moon well, the lullabies sung to me as a child were never from storybooks that promised goodnight wishes to the beautiful planet. Instead, at night, when the stars shone upon me, I would recite a sacred prayer to the hidden sun, the earth father—the almighty jaguar. I would gaze into the night sky and dream of the jaguar’s spots shinning above me. I would wish into them and fantasize childlike dreams. I knew the jaguar had a sacred power in the earth and the animals that lived upon it. I just never knew I was creating my own destiny so long ago.
“The Universe will give you exactly what you ask for. It only takes once for a wish to be willed,” my mother used to say as she kissed me to sleep each night in the desert. I always heard her but never answered. I think I knew, even then, what I really wanted in my life. Whom I really needed. And what I had to do in order to get it.
Native American lore, Supernatural doins, and Shifters Oh my!
I am almost embarrassed to say that I was sold on this book from the time I first saw the cover, which in my opinion is absolutely beautiful. Next the premise grabbed me, I knew I had to read it, and found Spirit Seeker a wonderful read. I enjoyed the fact that while the primary character is a teenage girl she is not at all typical. Talisa has a history rich in Native American lore and has grown up moving around the country with her mother who wanted her daughter to have a normal life. However, what is a normal life for a spirit seeker. This story is somewhat a coming of age read with significant world and character building, as well as maturing of the protagonist. I specifically enjoyed the lore and the legends of the islands where this book takes place and feel this is a great beginning of a new series.
I would recommend Spirit Seeker to anyone who enjoys Native American lore, the supernatural, and a new look at shifters. The lore was fascinating to me and I enjoyed the wonder of what was actually based on history versus what was fiction from the author's imagination.
You must know your past to unlock your future...,
First-off, love the cover art - thumbs up to Greg Smallwood for his design. Secondly, I applaud Jamie Haden on an amazing debut novel that doesn't follow today's supernatural fiction trend. Much of the young adult fiction I read has to do with vampires, werewolves, witches, etcetera, but Jamie Haden brings the beauty and mystery of Native American mythology to light in Spirit Seeker. Not only is the reader immersed in the stories of Talisa's childhood, but they experience everything as she does: her realization and transformation into a spirit seeker, her connection to Jag as a human and a shape-shifter, and her bond with Miguel and Dakota. Her characters are unique and well-developed - I admit my favorite is Dakota - and the dialogue is very believable and enjoyable. However, I did find some small wording and grammatical errors, but they were easily overlooked and didn't distract from the flow of the storyline. I have always been interested in Native American mythology, so I very much appreciate how Jamie Haden wove the stories throughout the text.
A great read!,
really enjoyed reading, Spirit Seeker, and I loved the supernatural storyline as well as the actual characters. It was amazing learning about all of the myths and legends that Talisa has grown up being told. I thought that that aspect of the book was really fun and original, and I can't wait to find out more.
Talisa was my favorite character, even though she was surrounded by a cast of amazing secondary characters, like Dakota. She's never really fit in anywhere and wants nothing more than to be liked and accepted, so in a way it felt like she grew in the course of the story.
All in all, Spirit Seeker, was an amazing read, and I'm really looking forward to the second one when it comes out! So I definitely recommend this one for a read or several, you won't be disappointed!
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