Review: The Holders by Julianna Scott

Review: The Holders by Julianna ScottThe Holders by Julianna Scott
Series: The Holders #1
Published by Strange Chemistry
Pages: 276
Genres: Fantasy YA, Young Adult
Source: Received for review from author
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17-year-old Becca has spent her whole life protecting her brother - from their father leaving and from the people who say the voices in his head are unnatural. When two strangers appear with apparent answers to Ryland's "problem" and details about a school in Ireland where Ryland will not only fit in, but prosper, Becca is up in arms. She reluctantly agrees to join Ryland on his journey and what they find at St. Brigid's is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together information about their family's heritage and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they've been waiting for. But they are all, especially Becca, in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.

Thoughts: I have some mixed feelings about The Holders. There were some things I really enjoyed, but there was a lot that made me feel… iffy.

Let’s start off with the good, though. The Holders has a Harry Potter-esque vibe to it that I could totally get behind. Talented, magical kids whisked off to the British Isles? Say no more. Perhaps that’s a wee bit too referential for some, but I didn’t mind. I also really liked the fact that the book centred around a brother-sister relationship (I’m a Supernatural fan – siblings give me feelings).

That said, The Holders felt very much like a debut novel: there was a lot of tell with absolutely no show. The book was a series of conversations and half of the drama came from people not having the right conversation at the right time. Um, hello? That’s not drama, that’s stupidity. And add to that, you’re expecting me to believe that this girl will hop on a plane to Ireland with her brother and then wait weeks upon weeks to get all the info needed to make her final decision? Hell, even Harry Potter made sure to get all the juicy details out of Hagrid before he hopped on the Hogwarts Express. And he was eleven.

It was all just a bit too easy; it was all just a bit too simple. Maybe this book would have been better in the hands of a 12/13-year-old… someone who hasn’t already read this particular story. Especially if that kid is a girl – because, despite the somewhat rocky beginning, Scott managed to take a rather icky, non-feminist Universe and spin it on its head. Without giving away any plot twists, I do have to give a shout-out to Scott for the old-fashion “girl power” she snuck into this book.

Bottom line? Not bad but not great – don’t go in expecting anything too original.