Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Holders
Series: Holders #1
Author: Julianna Scott
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: 7 March 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

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?

REVIEW BY BETH

There is more than a little Harry Potter-esqueness to The Holders and this was probably what made it most enjoyable for me. That and the fact that it’s set mainly in Ireland, with allusions to ancient Celtic myth which is something I’ve always been fascinated by.

The novel’s concept is brilliant, the idea of the Holders is really well crafted and I enjoyed learning all about the different abilities and skills held by each individual. The school for ‘special’ kids is much more than what it seems and as the school unfolds in front of the reader’s eyes – it just gets better and better.

The plot and backstory are brilliant and the school setting and supernatural/fantasy theme made it hard not to think of Potter. The main characters however fall distinctly short of what I had hoped for. I simply could not connect with Becca or find her in anyway likeable and as the narrator this proved problematic. Some of the other characters, specifically Min and Mr Anderson are great but Becca and Alex who are central to the story simply don’t work for me.

The other major problem was the obviousness of the bad guy character. It’s like he had been set up from the first moment we met him which was really disappointing. The alternative reality is fascinating, the concept of the Holders is great but the key characters let me down. However, I am still keen to find out what happens next in the series.