In my quest through piles of indie fiction, I’ve yet to stumble upon a book that truly gripped on to me, refusing to let go. That quest brings me to The Beholder by Ivan Amberlake. Is it a game changer? No. Is it a particularly original book? Maybe not. But, was it well written? With the steady hand of experience, yes. Not to mention, it grabbed my interest from the word “go”.
Taking all of those factors in to account, I have to say it’s my favorite book I’ve read this year.
The Beholder, the first book in a promised series, weaves a tale that is equal parts The Matrix and mystery thriller. We are introduced to our unlikely hero, Jason Walker, who discovers he is the final piece of an elaborate puzzle. Coupled with the enigmatic Emily Ethan, we are taken a journey through an expertly crafted adventure not too unlike the story of Neo and Trinity.
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In a turn of events, I will go ahead and get my gripes out of the way as there are only a few. While it is typically difficult to gauge these things, there were huge spans of Emily’s dialogue that were overstuffed with expository. It was welcomed at times, while at others it became too much. In a story that appears more invested in its characters than its world building, the explanations of the book’s mythology becomes tiresome.
Back to the good stuff:
While the author seems none too shy about his influences for this novel, it is a welcomed similarity that makes you feel at home with this new journey. Where the book soars is the connections and relationships that are built in between the pulse-pounding thrills and action. From the opening chapter to the closing moments, you are eager to catch moments and exchanges between the two main characters and left heartbroken when the book concludes.
Lucky for me (and for you), the next book in the series shouldn't be too far away. I will try not to give too many of these out in my reviews, but I had to give this one five stars on an overall standpoint.
Thomas William Shaw is an author and stage actor from Birmingham, AL. He lives with his wife, Lauren, their children, and their cats in a quiet place. Occasionally he will post about it.