Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Beholder Duology by Anna Bright

Title: The Beholder + The Boundless
Author: Anna Bright
Genre: Historical, Adventure
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

The Beholder Duology is a series about the adventures of Selah, the Seneschal-Elect (next leader) of the nation of Potomac. She is sent by her stepmother on a journey overseas to bring back a husband. I think this series started off quite promising but was quickly bogged down by pacing issues and a disproportionate focus on a mediocre romance.

Unfortunately the biggest issue with the series was the horrible pacing. The first book was not as bad in this respect as it had a few interesting events throughout, but I felt in the second book in particular it was really difficult to concentrate on the story. Mostly this was because of the romance. It seemed like initially the author makes an effort to steer the novel away from the romance and focus more on the adventure side of things, with protagonist exploring several new countries. But then the main character has a romance with what seems like every young male character that pops up in the series, with most of these "romances" basically being mediocre instaloves. 

I'm not sure I can actually recommend this series. I liked the first book somewhat in its exploration of different countries and cultures, but overall the pacing and the poorly developed romance(s) brought down the adventure aspect of the story.

It was okay
Overall: 4/10
Plot: 2/5
Romance: 1/5
Writing: 3/5
World Building: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Cover: 3/5