The Beholder by Anna Bright has the perfect hints of familiar fairy tales scattered throughout her book, but also has elements that make The Beholder an original adventure story about a girl named Selah. Selah is in line to be the Seneschal of Potomac, but her stepmother sends her away to find a husband without giving Selah much of an option, and her sick father doesn’t really have a choice either. On her adventure across the sea to her suitors’ countries, Selah wants to get this unpleasant and embarrassing experience done as quickly as possible, so she can make it back home to her father, but a hard choice causes her to reconsider. Mysterious cargo on her ship, a dangerous stop on her tour and unexpected friends challenge Selah’s beliefs and her decisions in her crazy journey.
This book was one that I had trouble putting down because I became very attached to the protagonist so easily. Anna Bright did not make Selah into a typical princess type, which I appreciate because it gave the story a more personable feeling and also provided room for character development within the story and into the next book. Even in the book, Selah corrects multiple people about the role she plays in her community. Although Selah did create some of her own issues, she was a good example of gradually finding the good in people she didn’t like. Her romance with the two princes is definitely different than I would have expected, and I liked it because it created great plot twists.
Overall, I would give this book a 5 out 5 because it was unlike other books that featured a princess type searching for love. There were some slow points, but the dramatic appeal to the story as a whole kept me interested. I would for sure recommend The Beholder to those who are a fan of adventure, royalty, and fantasy themed books because it gives a nice combination of all three and isn’t a predictable story as many other books in this genre are!