Friday, 15 November 2013

Review: The Holders by Julianna Scott

The Holders by Julianna Scott
Series: Holders #1
Release Date: 5th March 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Goodreads Summary

17-year-old Becca spent her whole life protecting her brother from, well, everything. The abandonment of their father, the so called 'experts' who insist that voices in his head are unnatural and must be dealt with, and the constant threat of being taken away to some hospital and studied like an animal. When two representatives appear claiming to have the answers to Ryland's perceived problem, Becca doesn't buy it for one second. That is until they seem to know things about Ryland and about Becca and Ryland's family, that forces Becca to concede that there may be more to these people than meets the eye. Though still highly skeptical, Becca agrees to do what's best for Ryland.

What they find at St. Brigid's is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together the information of their family's heritage, their estranged Father, and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they've been waiting for. However, they are all--especially Becca--in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.

She meets Alex, a Holder who is fiercely loyal to their race, and for some reason, Becca and Ryland. There's an attraction between Becca and Alex that can't be denied, but her true nature seems destined to keep them apart. However, certain destinies may not be as clear cut as everyone has always believed them to be.

Becca is lost, but found at the same time. Can she bring herself to leave Ryland now that he's settled and can clearly see his future? Will she be able to put the the feelings she has for Alex aside and head back to the US? And can Becca and Ryland ever forgive their father for what he's done?

You tried so hard to not be a cliché but in the end that was all you were.

This is the only Strange Chemistry title that I’ve read that disappointed me. I say this with a heavy heart because honestly, I expected a lot from this book. The synopsis intrigued me and the cover was gorgeous. Alas as we all know, never trust the summary or the cover. They can be misleading.

Ryland has been hearing voices all of his life, people think he is crazy but Becca isn’t so sure. The book begins with people trying to take Ryland ‘to a school that would be better for him’. Becca, being the good sister she is fights for him and ends up agreeing to let him go so long as she can come with.

She starts off as a great female lead, someone who is protective of her brother and mother, not stupid (she graduated at the age of 15 so she is pretty damn smart as one might expect) and even though she has a crush on Alex she actually does have her priorities set straight. When she learns about the world of holders, she doesn’t accept it right away but displays a good dose of skepticism  Personally, I think the only reason she ends up believing all of this is because it would mean her brother isn’t actually crazy, as she had always believed in the back of her mind.

The author pulls of Ryland’s character too, he acts like the way a 7 year old should, like a brat. The author doesn’t try to make him mature for his age, even with the voices in his head. He remains an innocent 7 year old who is a tad bit perceptive.

Other than the interesting world building that is mostly everything ‘good’ I can say about this book.

Going back to what I said right at the beginning, this book is a big fat cliché. It tries not to be, there is a shy guy, a ‘not special’* female lead, the female lead is willing to check herself into a nunnery if she becomes one of those girls who drool over a guy they just met, but underneath all of this there are layers of clichés.

This book has soul mates

Run away fathers

Angry teenagers

Girls who have never had any girlfriends

A girl who feels like she finally belongs

*You get what I mean. There isn’t much that makes this book different. The one thing that I thought worked for this book gets taken away as well. I was so excited to see a female lead who wasn’t special, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to read this book, I wanted to see how this girl would help her brother through everything, but in the end my dreams remained unrealized. The girl turned out to be special. She was a speshul flower. Extremely powerful. One of a kind. You know the drill.

It might have been slightly easier to swallow if there weren’t some inconsistencies here. The author first builds Ryland up to be special but in the end he remains ‘ordinary’. He was said to be extra-ordinary because even at such a young age he was able to pick up on some thoughts. He hadn’t been awakened yet, so he shouldn’t have had so much power. But all of this is filed away and he was labelled ordinary.

I was also bothered by how easily she bonded with Chloe. As for Chloe herself, she reminded me of the energizer bunny. She was way too hyper and she got on my nerves. I did not like her.

The only characters I liked in this book were Mr. Reid and Mr. Anderson, now if she made those two Anam, that would be interesting but I’ve never seen a book that actually does anything like that, so I won't get my hopes up too high.

Becca and Alex’s relationship was insta love. The author tried to disguise it in the beginning but if you’re telling me, anam or not, that within 2 weeks, ‘they’ve always loved each other’ then I don’t know what to say. Although I’ll admit that the romance didn’t bother me as much as an insta-love usually might. I wouldn’t say it worked, but it wasn’t a nightmare.

If it hadn’t been with all my issues with this book, I probably would have enjoyed the plot a lot more, but as it was, I was concentrating too much on my annoyance with these characters to actually care so much about the plot.

My favorite part in the book was when she stood up to her father, aside from that I didn’t really care so much.

With all that said I just feel the need to point out that Saol is just a fancy word for soul (if you’ve read the book you’ll know what I mean).

Even with all my issues with this book, I am hooked. I probably will read the sequel because I do want to know what becomes of these characters but honestly I won't go out of my way to recommend this way to anyone. Unless you don't mind the cliches, then definitely give this a shot.

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