Recently, I finished reading Ivan Amberlake’s The Beholder (Volume 1). I thoroughly enjoyed the read and wanted to share my review!
Amberlake’s The Beholder
Many times, I find meticulous buildup of imagery and plot forced and unnatural. I feel it takes a special author, a word-weaver if you will, to carry fifty cent words through a twenty dollar plot. Amberlake is such a special person. Although The Beholder did not instantly grab me, eventually it did and once it had me in its hold – it had me. I beheld it as vividly as it beheld me. I became.
The prologue would likely grab other readers right off the bat. The only reason I can give for being a slow starter with The Beholder is that the writing and story felt like Burtenshaw’s Shadowcry. Not an identical plot, but it was the same feeling off the bat. Unfortunately, I found myself skim reading Shadowcry and I worried that The Beholder would repeat history. Ultimately, I rank Burtenshaw’s work a 3.5/5 purely based on originality; The Beholder ranks a 5-star. Amberlake takes Burtenshaw’s Shadowcry-type world and inserts it into the realm of modern reality, allowing readers to relate and fuse with main characters Jason and Emily. Even secondary characters – Jason’s close work friends, Matt & Debbie – are written realistically and add to the plot rather than detract. It’s a pitfall I find in some written works – where secondary characters are underdeveloped and ultimately make a keen reader feel like the author isn’t detail-oriented. I think it’s brilliant that Matt and Debbie join Jason as part of a chosen trio; although, Jason is the most `touched.’ He is the beholder. *see The Beholder excerpt below*
I want to point out a smart choice Amberlake made in reference to teaching the reader concepts and terminology that are otherworldly. Another reviewer mentioned, but I don’t feel like the skill was highlighted as it should have been. We, the readers, learn WITH Jason. As things are explained to Amberlake’s MC, we are afforded the details of the supernatural world and struggle between the light and dark. I find it especially tedious when the readers are overloaded with information from an obscure narrator or singular source with a streamline consciousness – it leaves readers feeling weighted-down with little retention for the avalanche of info. Amberlake makes the onslaught palatable. Epic struggles are often balanced with epic love. Amberlake does not disappoint in this respect – upping the stakes with the relationship between Jason and Emily, giving us one more reason to root for the sighted and the light.
I enjoyed the story immensely. Had life not interfered, I’m sure I would have flown through a full-read.
*”Through visions of torture and horror he will walk, Drenched in the pain of those unknowingly defending him. Pillars of Light first released then destroyed by the raging Energy of the Dark, Until but one remains. The one with the Energy of Light, the last of the twelve, the Beholder.” Amberlake, Ivan (2013-01-29).
The Beholder (p. 87). Breakwater Harbor Books. Kindle Edition.*
Worlds of Light and Darkness are about to clash. And Jason will be in the thick of it.
In Asunción, Minsk and Sydney, people die under mysterious circumstances. Each branded with an arcane sign, they are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When more people are missing, with similar signs appearing in and around their homes, Jason, an average New Yorker, realizes the victims are a riddle addressed to him.
He is the final piece.
Emily appears, the most beautiful woman with extraordinary powers and startling amber eyes, and tells Jason that powers dormant within him are about to wake. In the world of Light- and Darksighted, he is the only person who can prevent Darkness from enslaving the world. He is the Beholder whose advent has been awaited for many years.
Setting out on a journey with Emily, Jason discovers many improbable things like Sight, Soulfusion, the Hall of Refuge, but the greatest surprise arrives the moment he sees Emily and finds real love.
Purchase on Amazon and enjoy!