The Beholder by Ivan Amberlake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
[Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.]
***There is one minor spoiler in this post***
It's more of a 3.5 than a solid 4, only because there were a few plot points I took issue with and the writing style wasn't my favorite, but the book itself was very enjoyable and a fun read from a great new writer.
At times I felt like I was reading a cross between Harry Potter and The Matrix, which isn't awesome but it isn't terrible either. It seemed like maybe the author was borrowing a little blatantly, but it wasn't plagiaristic, more like an homage that might have been trying too hard? But I thought the fact that he combined fantasy and sci-fi so smoothly was very interesting and done quite well. Actually, it seems like he's brought the sci-fi into the fantasy and made them work as one entity.
One plot problem I had was that at one point it is stated that the city is empty of the Unsighted, those who don't have these powers that the main character discovers. Later in the same scene, it is mentioned that the Light Sighted are coming to take the Unsighted out of the city. Since their entire purpose in appearing was to remove the Unsighted from the city, maybe that scene should have been a bit more clear as to who exactly was still in the city.
The ending was interesting and while I sensed there was going to be a (SPOILER) big betrayal (/SPOILER) pretty early on, I had anticipated it from someone else. Good job on the twist there.
Overall I had fun reading the book, and got through it pretty quickly (two sittings). Despite its shortcomings, I think this author is on to something awesome here and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.
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