*** Possible Spoilers Ahead! ***
Book Title: The Beholder
Author: Anna Bright
Main Theme: Romance, Young Adult, Fantasy
Thesis: Selah, the Seneschal-elect of Potomac, will one day rule her country. But her stepmother insists that she has a man by her side to rule as well. After a painful public rejection, her stepmother packs her up and sends her away to foreign countries in hopes of finding a suitor for their throne. Selah hopes to find her perfect husband before the last stop because she has heard tales of horror about the last country in her fairy tale books. Will she find her happily ever after, and return home to her country, Father, and friends?
What Drew Me In: Like everyone else, the book cover of course! Isn’t it gorgeous? It looks straight up from something out of a fairy tale, which goes great for the theme of the book. Because it is such a newer book (published this year even!), I was excited to give it a try. I love seeing new fantasy books, especially those kinds of books that can spill a classic story into something new.
My Thoughts: Okay, here’s the good stuff. What everyone wants to know. What do I think of the book???
Do people really want to know? I guess, more and more people keep liking these posts!
I go back and forth on this book, truth be told. I don’t hate it… but I also don’t love it, you get what I mean? Maybe this would be easier if I explain what I don’t like and what I do like.
Love: Cover art. Yes, I know. Everyone loves this cover art. But really, it’s true. Part of what makes a good book is the art displayed on the front cover and what message it is trying to portray. And boy let me tell you, this hits it right on the nail!
Also love: This is a true, Cinderella-type of fantasy. Pretty dresses, faraway places, princes, daring adventures across the seas. If that is your jam, well then be the peanut butter to it and read it!
AGAIN love: The scenery! Lord, does this author know how to describe a place. Not going to lie, England was my favorite setting so far this book. The way she talks about the sweet little visit, with its ever-constant rain, and the dusty, old library, or the magnificent halls where they take their dinners. Gosh, it was beautiful sounding.
Dislike: I disliked the number of characters. Good lord, there were so many characters, especially when Selah boards the Beholder and leaves Potomac. I gave up trying to remember them all, and just tried to roll with the story. Having a variety of characters is a good thing, but I shouldn’t keep a list nearby to remember them all…
Also disliked: How huge the world is. Most of the time, this is a great thing. But with so many places, and so many strange names for them all, and so many cultures that are mixing and matching, it makes it really hard to keep up with the story. I don’t know, maybe I’m getting simple as I get older. I like it when it is a little bit more easy to understand.
REALLY disliked: How immature or childish Selah acts sometimes. She’s a strong girl, willing to do what she needs to do for her country. And it’s obvious that she cares for her father, which is great. But she acts like a child who still needs to be tucked into bed with her fairytales sometimes. It’s sooo weird! I wish the author went in a different direction, like cherish the facts that she believes in the stories that were told to her as a child, but only take the lessons away from them, not necessarily be obsessed with them or truly believe in them. Like, if hand radios are a thing, then we obviously aren’t back in the medieval times, let’s not truly believe that dragons exist. But I guess it makes sense, she’s attached to the stories and fairy tales because her mother used to read them to her when she was alive. As you can tell, I have mixed emotions on it.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Overall, if you are a big lover on YA fantasy, with all the pretty dresses and balls or anything like that, yes, I would recommend this book. This is Bright’s first book, so I doubt anyone’s first book is going to be absolutely perfect. If she can tone down some of the “world-building” details, and not make it so confusing to keep up with, I think Bright has a “bright” path ahead of her. See what I did there?? 😂
I hope you enjoy this review! It was fun to read such a new YA book. I got some new books for my birthday, peek at the picture below, and I’m excited to read those. I’ll be gone for two weeks to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family this week, so I’ll hopefully get at least one up when I return.
The Library Lady ♡