Title: The Beholder (The Beholder #1)
Author: Anna Bright
Release Date: June 4th 2019
Genres: 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.
About the Author
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.
“‘No one knows how many years he has, Seneschal-elect. Life is short and death is certain….So every moment I am aboveground and not below it, I want to feel the difference. We’ll all be in our graves soon enough.'”
In all honesty, The Beholder was different from what I was expecting. I was expecting a tad bit more action, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of adventure this story contained and Selah’s characterization. As the reader, I was swept away to far off lands and beautiful worlds and intriguing characters. I joined Selah on her adventure and I watched as she made countless mistakes and made strong relationships with her crew.
I loved how the author brought in fictional and real worlds and mixed them together. My favorite world so far is definitely Asgard (I’m a sucker for that world due to my love of Thor). I loved how Selah knew the tales from each world and yet learned so much on her journey about the world and herself. This was a great tale of self discovery mixed with beautiful world building and a bit of romance.
“‘Not everyone is fast. Not everyone is clever. I could only stay one step ahead of my enemy before my reinforcements arrived. But if you’re one step ahead of them, they still haven’t caught you.'”
I’m so used to reading about a female protagonist that is strong and brave and sassy. So, it came as a refreshing surprise to find out that Selah isn’t really a fierce warrior, but a soft and trusting protagonist. She’s brave in her own way, but she trusts easily and doesn’t exactly see things starting to unravel until they finally do. I enjoyed watching her grow throughout the book and seeing her become less afraid of making mistakes. She has to venture out of her comfort zone and away from home. She’s meant to be the next ruler of her people, and she starts to learn what exactly that means on her journey.
Selah’s journey to find a suitor brings her into unique territory and company. She’s so far away from home and her family that she has to learn how to adjust in a world that is so unlike hers. But through these interactions, Selah finds herself and realizes that there may be something more going on behind the scenes than she anticipated.
“‘I mean you have the power to choose.'” Homer’s gray eyes drifted up to the heavens, over the stars hung brighter than jewels between gauzy clouds. ‘Set your course and trim your sails, Seneschal-elect. And whatever your heading, keep your eyes ahead'”
Anna Bright is a wonderful storyteller. I found the writing to be captivating and mesmerizing and it overall flowed nicely and kept a pretty even pace. I loved the history weaved into this tale and how she provided enough backstory to give the reader the perfect amount of information needed to understand the different places. Bright lays out this story to prepare for the sequel, which I hope is even more exciting and just as romantic (especially with my favorite suitor!).
All in all, I did enjoy The Beholder and it surprised me in ways I wasn’t anticipating. I am hoping for a tad bit more action in the sequel, but no matter what, I look forward to reading the next book! If you’re looking for a fantasy novel that has action and sword fighting and a strong female lead, this may not be the book for you. But don’t let that stop you from reading The Beholder! I recommend checking The Beholder out because I found it to be a refreshing read compared to all the fantasy books I’ve read recently (which all included a strong protagonist and a ton of action). The Beholder comes out June 4, 2019.
Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!