The Beholder by Anna Bright

Title: The Beholder (The Beholder #1)
Author: Anna Bright
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 4th 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings

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.


I found The Beholder to be an addictive read and I also found Selah to be an interesting MC. One who really truly grows as the story progresses.

I liked Selah as a character. Mostly because I didn’t like Selah at times but as the story moves along we see her really finding herself. She is definitely a little more naive in the beginning and willing to go along with plans without question but as she experiences different things in the world we see her start to truly stand up for herself and question what is going on around her. She really needs to make a choice in the end and it involves looking at the world more than your small part in it.

I had my suspicions about England immediately and they were not unfounded. I’m guessing I read too many fairy stories myself ha ha but the reasoning was interesting. Also there was a part about it that made my heart sad, simply because I’ve learned confronting and dealing with things immediately is best practice. So I was frustrated but also understood being controlled by emotions at the time. I do however love how the crew came to her aid whens he needed them most and how they supported her. I did really like Bear though.

Then we moved on to Norge and get acquainted with Torden and his millions of siblings. This kingdom is really interesting for its own reason but again we see Selah really grow. She wants to get back to her father so she takes finding a husband in stride. I did really like Torden and even though it felt like things were happening too fast. I didn’t like the way she bounced from Bear to him. I really enjoyed the friendship that blossomed first and I almost wish it had stayed at that level. Selah does not have a large family like Torden does and how she acclimates to it is another learning experience for her. Again when she needs them the crew rallies around her and is so supportive.

The Beholder and crew itself is almost like another destination on Selah’s trip and I loved how kind some of the crew members are. They have their own secrets and especially Lang. Who I’m not exactly sure where his character is going but he definitely intrigues me but they try to make Selah’s mission come first. They are understanding of how she feels about her father and his health. Her concerns over her Step-monster.

Of course there is the mysterious Imperiya with Baba Yaga at the helm that we haven’t had a chance to fully dive into yet as well.

I loved how different fairytales and folktales are a part of the story. Little tidbits her and there that connect it. Whether it be a name or a hammer or a small tale. I also loved how each section has tidbit of a different story. I did at times find some of the names confusing, just trying to keep in my head who was who and where they were.

I really liked the story and there was a lot to turn over in my brain when I finished reading. I enjoyed making the connection of the different characters and different stories. I also just really like seeing Selah grow. I was content with her decision in the end. I can’t wait to see where the journey takes them next.

I believe in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.
When I'm not reading or writing on my couch, I'm dragging my husband off on an adventure, communing with Salem (my kitten/spiritual familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where I work.

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About Jen

I love books, tea/coffee(by the gallon) and sour candy. I wear my nerd badge with pride and have two children ages 5 and 3 that keep me on my toes.
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