By: Anna Bright
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Page Count: 435
Synopsis: 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.
The first part of this review will be spoiler free.
I wanted to love this book, I really did. The synopsis had me hooked right away, it seemed like the perfect summer read; light, fun and romantic. I had hoped it would give me a similar experience to The Selection (one of my all time favourite guilty pleasure series). While this was a perfectly good book, it failed to produce the light and adventurous feel that the synopsis eluded too. I thought that maybe each book in the series would be about one of the possible suitors, but the fact that two were crammed into this book made it hard to believe any romance or emotional connections.
The imagery was a fun homage to classic literary tales and the fairy tales we all know and love. Part of the fun was of course matching these new characters with their fairytale counterparts. If we had had more time with them I think that would have made the story more fun to read. As I mentioned earlier, the romance fell a bit flat for me, which is problematic since the entire story is about Selah’s search for a husband. It was just too rushed, and insta love is unfortunately one trope I have a really hard time getting on board with.
Overall, this book had some really great ideas, and it definitely intrigued me enough to watch out for the second book when it comes out. I would just warn that the author focuses too much on heavier emotional conundrums than on the romance and fairytale aspects, leaving the reader (or me at least) searching for the story the synopsis had promised.
As I mentioned above the romance was problematic, not only that, it annoyed me. First there was Peter, a boy we get to know for about three pages before he rejects Selah’s proposal and sends her on her husband seeking voyage in the first place. Then we have Bear, the “guard” (who of course turns out the be the prince the whole time, which like why? what was the point? just to add a little intrigue maybe…) who was honestly pretty boring, and their romance came completely out of the blue. Like I get it, running around in the forest and warming up in front of a fire can be pretty romantic, but Selah’s reaction to finding out his true identity was disproportionate to the amount of time they had actually known each other. Then we have Torden (a very thinly veiled version of Thor) who was definelty the best developed of the love interests, and because of that their romance became the most believable, which I guess might have been the point. We will just have to wait and see what the next books brings I guess.
Have you read The Beholder? let me know your thoughts in the comments!