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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: The Holders by Julianna Scott

Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Published: March 5, 2013
Pages: 320
Source: For Review from Strange Chemistry
Rating: 2.5 Stars

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?

In short: The Holders by Julianna Scott offers nothing particularly new or intriguing to an overdone and cliched plot.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Secret boarding school where kids with special abilities - called Holders - are brought to learn how to control them. The two most powerful Holders in the world - one bad and one good - have radically different and decisive points of view that cause great amounts of conflict. The bad guy believes Holders are a superior race and should take control of regular humans. The good guy believes Holders should live peacefully with humans. Sound like X-Men? That's because it pretty much is... with Celtic mythology thrown in. Abilities were granted to people a long time ago by the Irish gods and carried on through the generations. Only Irish people have these special abilities because apparently they are the only ones who are worthy of them for some reason.

The Holders had a ton of elements that I really love in books - namely boarding schools, superpowers, mythology - but was way too cliched and predictable, unfortunately. Had I read it in junior high, I probably would have loved it, but at this point the plot was so familiar and overdone to me that it wasn't really enough to keep my attention. The Holders offered nothing particularly original to me and I am tired of the same old tropes. Also, I found the writing and execution of the plot to be fairly young and inexperienced, but this may not be a problem for everyone as it was a pretty easy read as a result.

I do think it's the characters that save The Holders. Becca was instantly likeable to me as the hot-headed and protective older sister to Ryland. Alex, Becca's love interest was super sweet and succumbed to blushing easily, which was pretty cute. Their romance, though not particularly earth-shattering, was sweet, as well. I also had fun with the secondary characters of The Holders, who were all humourous and delightful. Though The Holders offered nothing new or intriguing to grab my attention, I would recommend it to people who find comfort in easy and predictable plots and easily likeable characters.

Other Reviews:
Page Turner's Blog
Unputdownable Books

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  1. Ah, it's sad that you didn't like The Holders. It doesn't sound like my type of book either. I like the same things as you mentioned as well (boarding schools, mythology, etc.) but I guess there are so many books on similar lines that it does tend to get repetitive.

    Anyways, I do love a strong sibling bond and I'm glad at least was portrayed well in this one.
    Lovely review, Aylee!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  2. Great honest review.
    I think I'm burnt out on boarding schools.

  3. Too bad this didn't work for you. I am a huge boarding school fan, but I prefer not to read things where the writing and execution don't work well. Interesting that the character is 17 but you think you would have liked this in junior high.

  4. Shoot! Like you Aylee, I love books about boarding schools and students with special gifts, but I need the author to bring some sort of new twist to the table with such a familiar setup. It's a shame this one is so predictable, that's always hugely disappointing. Thanks for the honest and well-written review though:)

  5. Aww, such a good premise, but sorry it was predictable and cliched.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  6. Yep, you're right, it's disgustingly formulaic and we HAVE heard it all before, several hundred times, in fact. At least it has one redeeming quality - the characters, otherwise it would be a disaster.
    I'm sorry you struggled with this. Hopefully your next read will be much better.

  7. I'm really glad I read your review, Aylee! I've been curious about this book, but from what you've mentioned there, I'm pretty certain now that I won't have the patience for it. I'm starting to notice that this publisher's book (with the exception of The Assassin's Curse) really don't seem to impress me much. :/ Thanks for your honest thoughts!

  8. I'm sorry, this sounds like a bit of a dud!
    I don't know maybe we are reaching a peak point for boarding school with paranormal elements.


    hopefully your next read will be lots better :D

  9. Doesn't sound like a winner for myself either, I'm afraid. I'm glad you can find some good out of the things you didn't like, though. That's always nice to hear!

  10. It's too bad this one lacked that little extra to make it awesome and memorable!

  11. Lol at "Only Irish people have these special abilities because apparently they are the only ones who are worthy of them for some reason." I have this one in my TBR pile but couldn't seem to make myself pick it up so I was curious to see what you'd think about it, Aylee. It's too bad it's kind of predictable but at least it has characters that you can like. I guess I'll save this one for later maybe ...

  12. Hmm... I have heard a lot about this one lately, and this is actually the first bad review I've seen. Thanks for the honesty, am an glad I came across this one. I will still probably give it a go. Predictability doesn't always bother me if I like the premise, so we'll see.

  13. Yeah, well I'm glad I decided to hold off on requesting this one. I was excited about it for the boarding school aspect, but like you've said, so many of the books I'm reading lately are overdone, not unique and predictable, too. Thanks for the honest review.

  14. It's a shame this is so unoriginal. I was excited to read this, but I'm reading too many reviews from readers who are as disappointed as you are. I think I'll skip this one. Wonderful review, in any case!

  15. I'm reading this right now and the X-Men thing hadn't even occurred to me but now that you point it out...

    That being said it does seem very familiar but I'm still holding out hope that it'll impress me in the second half.

  16. I liked the premise of this novel, but I wondered if it would be a bit hokey. I liked the brother sister in it. I don't think I'll be reading this one any time soon.

  17. I haven't read a book set in Ireland in ages! I can't wait to read this one. And Alex sounds absolutely fantastic, and such a gradually developed romance will certainly work for me.

    Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing the excerpt.

    dwayne of Self Storage Units for Sale