The Beholder is an Young Adult Romance novel by Anna Bright. It tells the tale of a young girl named Selah and her journey across the Atlantic to find marriage…
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.
This is going to be a spoiler free review going over my thoughts and feelings about this book.
The Characters and World Building
There was not a single character I enjoyed reading in this book. Not a single one was fleshed out enough for me to ever really feel like I knew them. Even the main character Selah. The author kept repeating the same lines about her wanting to hold her Grandmothers book for comfort and it just got repetitive and annoying. She lacked substance and an ability to reason. She just made rash decisions and jumped into romantic situations without much thought behind it. The Insta-Love in this book is ridiculous might I add. I have never seen anything like it. Quite frankly, I never want to ever again. It was so inhuman, that is the only way I can appropriately describe the attempts at “love” in The Beholder.
World building? One minute we’re home then we’re at sea. Then we’re somewhere in Europe. There’s no real sense of setting given by the author. I never felt like I could fully envision where we were in my head so I just sort of, made it up?
The Story Progression and Plot
The story progression was very slow and not much happens for a significant portion of the book. I got about half way and wondered if anything was ever going to kick off. Then it strangely picks up the pace and too much happens all at once and it just doesn’t flow at all. The twists were predictable and so were the tropes. The story was also meant to be some kind of retelling but there have been debates as to whether it really is or not. There is just too much of all the wrong things and too little of what a book like this really needed: A main character you emotional attach to, relationships you root for and twists that leave you at the corner of your seat. It delivered none of those things, in my opinion.
Overall I rated this book two stars. The only reason it is not getting one is because the cover truly is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It did also teach me a valuable lesson. Not to be enticed by book covers, even if they are stunning to look at and hold. It was a huge disappointment that the inside of The Beholder was not as beautiful as the outside, oh well!