Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / Romance
A lush, sweepingly romantic YA debut perfect for fans of The Selection or Caraval
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.
Lush landscapes, dazzling romance, and captivating intrigue mark the first leg of this stunning alternate historical duology with richly drawn characters and unexpected twists at every port.
The Beholder, by author Anna Bright, is the authors debut novel. The Beholder borrows threads from classic fairy tales like “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Snow White” to weave a brand-new story bursting with evil stepmothers, scheming courtiers, and handsome princes. Add in some Norse mythology, a supposed retelling of Odyssey, and a bunch of political intrigue and you got a twisted and entertaining story. The Beholder is about a girl named Selah, the only daughter of the leader of Potomac who will one day become its leader.
Selah’s duty as the future leader of Potomac is to secure a marriage that will benefit her country. After she is publicly rejected by her close childhood friend, Selah is ordered by her stepmother and the council to cross the Atlantic to meet with various suitors and find one that will help her country. If she doesn't find someone, she won't be allowed back. If she finds the wrong one, she won't be able to return home. If she finds the right one, there is no guarantee that the one she finally chooses, will solve all her issues with her stepmother, the council, and the failing health of her father.
The folio of suitors Selah must choose from contains a favorite for every reader. From the secretive British Prince to the heroic Asgardian warrior, the romantic possibilities are endless—and the magnetism between Selah and the ship’s young and dashing Captain Lang adds an undercurrent of forbidden attraction throughout. Historical twists and gorgeous scenery make this alternate-history world worth living in.
Selah’s quest for suitors takes her to sumptuously imagined versions of England and Norway, with the darkly mysterious German territory of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne next on the horizon. Readers will be both torn between love interests and dying to see the next stop on Selah’s grand tour. Selah tends to fall in love quickly then ends up having a broken heart when things turn on a dime and she is forced to travel to her next destinations.
She also has a crew that keeps secrets from her even though the Beholder is technically her ship and they are supposed to be protecting her. Selah's character development was my favorite. At first, she seemed like such a "good-girl," but as the story progressed, she grew to be mature and understanding. She puts herself through so much for her family and friends, and because of that cliffhanger, I can tell she's about to endure much more.