The Beholder by Anna Bright – ARC Review

the beholder by anna bright.jpgSummary:

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.

Publication Date: 6/4/19

I received an eARC from Edelweiss and HarperTeen.

Review: 4 Stars

This book was so much better than I had expected it to be. The cover made me think that the entire book took place on a ship, but in reality very little of it did. The Beholder is about Selah traveling to find a suitor among several princes deemed suitable. The book moves fast and was compulsively readable, I hardly set it down and finished it in less than 24 hours. I see how it could be compared to The Selection with the suitors and a bit of a twist on history, but it was also inspired by folklore and fairy tales. The beginning felt comparable to Cinderella, but there was also quite a bit of Norse mythology included.

The characters and their relationships were really fun to read about. I also really enjoyed the different settings as Selah visited her suitors. I found myself rooting against one suitor pretty early on and then very attached to a different one later. I found it difficult to quickly bounce from one romantic entanglement to another, but so did Selah. Her emotions were clearly translated to the page and I understood how she felt and was able to relate pretty well to her character.

The plot drove the story forward at a decent pace and I’m glad they didn’t try to condense the whole journey into one book, because I was able to get an accurate feel for each suitor and setting. While the book is centered on romance, which typically isn’t my thing, I found it to be an interesting love story without too much lust as a driving factor. Selah’s devotion to home and family was something I could relate to as well. I did wish that I got more of the story, because it didn’t quite feel finished.

The Beholder was a fast paced story about Selah’s journey to find a suitor to marry. It is a love story, but it is also an adventure. I am so glad that I read some positive reviews, because I almost passed this one by and it was so captivating. As a debut novel I am impressed and I can’t wait for the sequel.


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