The Beholder by Anna Bright

The Beholder came to me in May as FairyLoot’s book of the month and suffered the same fate as all of my sub-box books of late – to sit for ages on my TBR shelf. But that glorious cover kept calling to me, and I finally heeded the call and picked it up! FairyLoot rarely steers me wrong, so I had high hopes. Fun fact: with a lot of my sub-box TBR I don’t actually read the description on the jacket before diving in. I sort of like going in blind! However, I won’t force that same fate upon you, so here is a summary!

The Summary

The BeholderSelah 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 below-decks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

Summary courtesy of Goodreads.

The Review

If you’ve read my post on how I rate my reads, you know that the surefire way to my bookish heart is a story that reduces me to tears. Well, friends, this book did that to me from beginning to end. I am fairly certain I cried at least a half dozen times over the 435 pages of the book. And this was no misty eyed crying, no. We are talking big alligator tears and so many tissues. All. The. Feels.

Why all the tears, you ask? One word: boys. There are few things I love more than a book with heartache and big emotions, and The Beholder had that in spades. In a little bit of a Cinderella vibe, Selah is the daughter and heir to the leader of Potomac, but she has recently gained an Evil Stepmother who is probably poisoning off her father, and is definitely out to get Selah out of the way. The book is toted as a retelling of The Odyssey, and I definitely see that influence.

Not content to just make this easy on us as readers, Anna Bright throws not one, not two, but THREE men at our girl. To be fair, one of those is the captain of The Beholder, Captain Lang, who I don’t think is supposed to be a contender. He’s young and good looking and you totally expect him to be the one she falls for, but that doesn’t happen. YET. I still feel like Selah and Lang will have their moment eventually, but not quite yet. I’m also not sold on that ship, so time will tell.

As for the other boys, we first visit England and their crown prince, before heading off to Norge (ALL of the Norse vibes…so good) to meet the 4th son of the Norje leader. As far as these two suitors go, I have some very strong, very spoilery, opinions which I will keep to myself. Just suffice to say that I feel Selah’s pain in having to choose, because both are great in different ways. They also both broke my heart, so there’s that.

I really enjoy the world Anna Bright has built here. It is certainly some sort of alternate Earth, and had some serious Planet of the Apes/Chronicles of Shanara vibes where it feels very historical fantasy/medieval, but then also maybe it’s way in the future? I kept expecting to see the ruins of a bus somewhere or something. I totally dug it, and it kept me intrigued and on my toes!

So as it ends, we still have FOUR suitors left to visit. This is including one in some sort of alternate-Russia country that is basically run by a Baba Yaga figure and Selah is concerned she won’t make it back out. Considering the plotting of her stepmother, I don’t think her worries are unfounded in the least. I really want Selah to find happiness and love (even if I am rooting for someone already) and cannot wait to see what the author throws at us next.

If you love a book that will make you feel all the feels, that will probably break your heart at least twice, and that will keep you guessing with plenty of political intrigue, this is the book for you!

To add this to your Goodreads, click here.

To purchase a copy on Amazon, click here! It’s currently available as ebook, hardcover, and audiobook! The paperback is due out in May 2020!


2 thoughts on “The Beholder by Anna Bright

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