The Beholder (The Beholder #1)
Release Date: June 4th 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings
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.
From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.
The Beholder by Anna Bright is a fantasy novel about a girl named Selah. In Potomac, Selah has been preparing to marry from a young age. She knows that she wants to marry her best friend Peter, but he rejects her. Her stepmother says that she must cross the Atlantic to find a suitor and marry. Selah doesn’t want to have to deal with stuffy court protocol for months in order to find an equally stuffy husband, but she doesn’t have a choice. Her father’s health is also failing, and her godmother seems to be wary of her stepmother’s true motives behind sending her across the ocean. Selah embarks on her adventure, determined to come home as soon as possible.
Selah was definitely an admirable character. The only thing I disliked about her was that she seemed to fall almost head over heels for a specific suitor of each region, almost completely forgetting any suitors from any previous regions. Peter, her one true love, is sitting on the backburner by the end of the novel. But I understand that this is her first true experience with “dating” or “courting,” so it makes sense that she would be a little flighty. I forgave her flightiness almost completely after learning about how down-to-earth she was. Despite the fact that she was a royal, she loved to serve her people. She would help keep up the community garden and wouldn’t mind getting her hands dirty for others at all, but her trip to the Atlantic forced her to give up these things almost entirely. Most of the novel was focused on her fighting what was “proper” in order to do what she thought was right.
I wanted to learn the story of each individual character in this game. When Selah travels across the Atlantic, she has to pick a suitor that will satisfy her Council, her Stepmother, and ultimately, herself. This means that she has to get close to each individual suitor in order to pick the best one. Even though the story kind of bombards you with a lot of suitor names when she is first on the boat, the story starts to make sense almost immediately once Selah actually starts meeting the suitors. You will be able to have a connection with each one as you read this story.
The story moves smoothly. There is a bit of slowdown around the middle, but it only lasts for around 10-20 pages before it picks back up again. I read the book over the course of one day, and I didn’t have many issues putting it down and remembering where I was when I decided to start reading again. No large time-skips, nothing to make the story confusing to the point where I couldn’t finish it.
Overall, this was a great YA fantasy novel. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new book in that genre, or anyone looking for a YA romance novel with a dramatic storyline.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books
I believe in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.
When I’m not reading or writing on my couch, I’m dragging my husband off on an adventure, communing with Salem (my kitten/spiritual familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where I work.