Title: The Beholder
Author: Anna Bright
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Kindle Edition via Edelweiss
Release Date: June 4th, 2019
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 book was so fun and entertaining! It was hard to stop once I started reading. The writing is gorgeous and sucked me right in.
The story follows Selah, the Seneschal-elect of a country called Potomac. When she is rejected by her childhood crush, her cruel stepmother sends her on a journey to find a husband to aid in her future rule. Against her wishes, she and her crew board a ship called The Beholder with three planned stops. The third stop (where a feared Tsarytsya lives) is the most dangerous, so Selah hopes to find her husband on the first or second stops and avoid the third altogether. Her journey across the sea ends up being not at all what she expects and takes some shocking turns.
This book is romantic, but the romance is handled very well and takes a backseat to the plot. I will say that there are a lot of male characters pitched as a potential love interest, so if this is something that bothers you, this book might not be for you.
I had two main issues with this book:
- The worldbuilding. Seriously, the world was so confusing. There were several places and themes that were familiar and several that were entirely new. Some social norms seemed antiquated while others seemed modern. Is the story supposed to be set in an alternate past or present? I kind of feel like the story was out-of-time, but it was honestly impossible to tell. It was also kind of a mishmash of different cultures, which was a little hard to follow.
- The main character. I really didn’t like Selah. For a character that is supposedly the future leader of her country, she is very emotional and immature. I know that there will be at least one sequel, so I’m hoping we see more character growth from Selah in future books.
Despite the few issues that I had, I thought the story was fun and insanely addictive! Readers should not go into this book thinking of it as a retelling of The Odyssey (which it has been poorly marketed as), and just expect pure entertainment.