Review: The Beholder by Anna Bright

The Beholder

 Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

I feel like this review is going to be a hard one to write. it's barely been five minutes since I finished The Beholder and I can barely put my thoughts into worsdsbecause I'm in two minds.

1) Diversity, amazing secondary characters, intrigue, pretty princesses OMG!
2) What worldbuilding, magical radios and instalove... disjointed retelling.

Let's put these thoughts into words then.

Okay, first the pros. I really really loved the premise of this book. From page one I was hooked by Selah's life and her life in Pontomac and the intrigue with her evil stepmother and ailing father. There were some gorgeous descriptions and some amazing characters.

I particularly liked the crew of The Beholder. They were like a mixing pot of different cultures and backgrounds and they each brought something really fun to the table. Cobie is my BFF for life... I think that their loyalty to Selah even when they weren't being 100% truthful with her was beautiful.

That being said, the whole thing did feel disjointed at times. This is billed as a retelling of The Odyssey but that's nowhere near correct. it's more a retelling of different key tropes of different fairytales and folk stories and fables and they never really knit together as well as you might hope. That, as well as the poor worldbuilding (like really, why is a radio the only technology that exists... why are people in Norway - sorry, I mean Norge - living in a giant tree and where on Earth is Pontomac??) just made the whole thing difficult for me to swallow.

Now lets talk about the love interest. Really, Bright? Do you really need to introduce me to two handsome men that Selah falls for and then just rip through it. Firstly, it kind of makes 90% of the book about arc's which won't be significant down the line and secondly it makes Selah seem desperate, needy and it ruins the integrity of any future love interests. It looks like Captain Lang might be more important in the next book and I just hope that actually goes somewhere. (Torden for life).

The one thing that really saved this book was the writing. Despite a few phrases which seemed out of place for the setting, Bright's writing itself was descriptive and absorbing and took away from the many negatives of this book.

Overall, I will definitely be reading the sequel, but I hope that in it Bright spends more time developing the characters and the world...


Book released 6th November 2018 by Katherine Tegen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

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