Book Review

The Beholder (ARC) : Book Review


The Beholder

Author: Anna Bright

Publication Date: Expected June 4, 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: ?? (Goodreads doesn’t list the expected page #)

Publisher: HarperTeen

SYNOPSIS: 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.


Like, what do I say about something where NOTHING happened?

GAH I just don’t know. I wanted to like this book, I really did. It has the premise of a Cinderella and The Odyssey retelling along with a STUNNING cover. Honestly what’s not to love? The story. That’s whats not to love, in my opinion.

First let’s start with the retelling aspect. It’s not there. None. Non-existent. You cannot have one character named Homer who has all of 2 lines throughout the entire book which I don’t even remember, and call it an Odyssey retelling. The only retelling aspect of Cinderella is the evil step-mother. Nothing else. I feel duped that this is marketed as a retelling when it very clearly just grabs a few aspects from the stories and they barely make a difference to the overall story. I LITERALLY DON’T REMEMBER WHAT HOMER DID IN THIS BOOK.

I also weirdly don’t know what the time period is for this book? Because things don’t seem to line up to me. On the one hand, this feels like a story that belongs in at least the Victorian era. There’s big poofy beautiful ballgowns, everyone travels by ship, there doesn’t appear to be any modern day advances, and our main character is literally on an ‘adventure’ traveling the world with her crew of The Beholder to find a husband through arranged meetings. But then, weird things happened that make me think maybe I’m wrong about when this takes place. Suddenly, there’s a radio/transmitter. And this radio runs on batteries. Batteries had been around long enough but radios? They weren’t invented until the late 1800’s, and it took a while to get them into the public. Frequency radio’s weren’t used in homes until the 1930’s.. so like, when does this book take place?

That aside, the next issue I had with this story was literally the main character. I really liked all of the side characters.. I’m kind of in uncharted territories here because this NEVER happens to me. I can’t even recall a book where I disliked the main character so much halfway through the book I couldn’t remember her name.. it’s Selah by the way. I had to look it up. Selah is the most PASSIVE character I have ever read about. She did absolutely nothing throughout this story, she just LET things happen to her and it wildly drove me nuts. I can’t think of a single action she made of her own volition. She has no fight in her, nothing extraordinary, to me she faded into the background as I began to focus more on the side characters.

ONE more thing before I end this salty review. Nothing happened in this story. I was 357 pages in before I realized I couldn’t recall anything exciting that had happened, nothing bold nothing daring. I thought this book was going to be an adventure. I was promised an Odyssey retelling! Selah is set up by her eViL step-mother to leave her home of Potomac to travel the world looking for a suitable husband. She is tasked with meeting several different suitors for 2 weeks at a time or until she gets a proposal, and can then go home. But like, this wasn’t exciting. I thought at least their would be some spicy romances, but even those fell mostly flat for me. So in the end I was left with what? A passive protagonist and a rather dull storyline.

I feel like I need to take a break from reading, I’ve been so disappointed in the books I’ve been reading lately. And they’re books I was anticipating to give VERY HIGH reviews for!

BB Star rating (1)BB Star rating (1)

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Bookishly Brittknee

4 thoughts on “The Beholder (ARC) : Book Review”

  1. That’s so frustrating! I hate when my expectations are totally crushed! And historical inaccuracies bug me a lot as well. If it’s a steampunk setting or something like that, then I get it, but if it’s a typical historical setting, I like when everything that’s mentioned is accurate to that time period. I hope you break your streak of disappointing anticipated reads super soon!


    1. This definitely felt like more of an actual historical setting than steampunk so maybe that was why I struggled so much with it. I’m currently reading Sorcery of Thorns which is WILDLY exceeding my expectations, especially considering I love Margaret Rogerson’s books!


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