Are you looking for a young adult fantasy with a fiercely protective main character, an interesting magic system and zOMG Celtic mythology? Then you really ought to preorder The Holders by Julianna Scott because it is brimming with the fantastic. PLUS! There is kissing! And family secrets! And and and UNRESOLVED FEELINGS! HOLLA! Y’all, I cannot wait for you to read this so we can talk about it a little tiny bit more in depth and we can discuss how much we’d love to buy main character Becca a drink and how cool it would be to be a Holder.
Becca is the quintessential overprotective older sister. Her brother Ryland has a few problems, you see he hears voices. It’s an issue that’s gotten him into school trouble and makes being around other people kind of awkward. When two mysterious dudes show up and tell Becca that her brother Ryland has a gift and that there’s a school that can help him in Ireland — Becca is all OVER MY DEAD BODY. But, then she relents when one of the guys, Alex, explains that Ryland is part of a race known as the Holders, people who have magical powers. The problem? The school they want to send Ryland to is run by Becca and Ryland’s estranged father. And so, Becca who graduated high school early decides to accompany Ryland. Y’all, some cray cray surprises go down and yes, if you like your books full of drama, The Holders has drama in spades.
Pretty much Becca is the sort of main character that I LOVE reading about. Sure, she does some things that are totally irritating, but on the whole I liked her. As I stated above, Becca is very protective of her little brother. I love that. I love that she will throw down for her family regardless of consequences. Becca is also a bit of a whiz kid, in that she graduated high school three years early but has put off college to take care of her family. I love that while her relationship with her dad is kind of whack, she’s got such a loving relationship with her mother and brother. ALSO! She’s totally stubborn and hotheaded and as someone who is also hotheaded, I could totally relate and pump my fist a little whenever her stubbornness proved correct.
Scott’s writing style is pretty easy to get into. She throws in some Celtic terms and phrases, but it’s nothing that threw me for a loop or out of the book. I felt that The Holders was fast paced once I got into it. However, it took me like 3 chapters to really get into it. Like, I thought the beginning when we are finding out about the school and Ryland’s abilities were kind of awkward and a little fast — like I would have liked more of a background in Becca’s life before she heads out to Ireland.
However, what I thought was particularly well done was the world building and the magical systems. The Holders are people who each have a special magical power. Now, each person only has one power and isn’t a super hero or anything. ALSO each power comes with a weakness. I thought the weakness of each person was a bit too easily overcome, but still at least they aren’t invincible or anything. I liked that the different powers made it so that various Holders had to work together, no one person can do everything.
Probably my biggest complaint about The Holders is that the relationship within it is very insta-love-esque. I would have liked a longer development of feelings and tingles between Becca and her love interest. I just thought they fell in love WAY too fast and rather than be swoon worthy, I was kind of nonchalant in my feelings towards the relationship. With all of the fantastic going on magicwise, I would have liked the relationship to be more realistic, ya know? That said, their kissing scenes are pretty adorable.
For the most part, The Holders by Julianna Scott is a solid debut with a fantastical premise set in a land that totally does evoke magic. The writing is decent, never boring or overwrought. However, the romance felt a little shaky. In all, I do recommend this book to people who are all about the fantasy rather than to people who are all about the hook ups.
Disclosure: Received for review
Other reviews of The Holders by Julianna Scott:
I haven’t seen any at the time of writing this — like 2 months before it’s scheduled ha ha. Leave me a link in the comments if you’ve reviewed this.