The Beholder (The Beholder #1)
by Ivan Amberlake
Jason Walker has been having terrible nightmares... wild chases through hidden tunnels, where powerful beings use shields of light to hide from dark, evil forces. The grim fate of those being chased always ends the same way... in death. Even more troubling, Jason is watching the scenes from behind the faces of the dark forces. And he is distraught to learn that people are dying in the real world in ways remarkably similar to his dreams.
During one particularly distressing nightmare, Jason sees the face of a young woman... a beautiful, ethereal face, that haunts him in his waking hours. But when this same young woman, Emily, summons him into a dream, and calls upon him for help, his real life takes a sharp turn into a reality that is far more dreamlike and surreal than anything he could conjure up in his sleep!
Now on the run with the beautiful, otherworldly Emily Ethan, Jason travels from New York to Paris in an attempt to outwit the powerful, dark leader, Pariah. Pariah and his minions thrive off of pain, torture, and chaos in the world, and have been killing innocents along the way to get to the one they want... the Beholder. As one of the Sighted, Emily is a formidable opponent against the dark forces. But if the prophecy is right, the Beholder is the only one who can save them. And Emily believes Jason is their man.
Jason and his friends, Matt and Debbie, have an unusual bond, and they all have a role in the war that is being waged. They undergo intense training at the hands of Emily and another Sighted, Tyler, that takes them on a magical journey, capturing the essence of energy, and taking flight through time itself. The hidden world is spellbinding, but dangerous as their newly discovered abilities are a beacon for those wishing to destroy them. But the war is only beginning, and there are secrets Emily doesn't dare share with them... yet.
The world building in this story is incredible! Complex, vivid, and imaginative, it jumps off the pages! The characters have depth, as well, especially Jason and Emily. I felt the attraction brewing between these two, and was hoping to see a bit more romance. Nevertheless, the connection is intense, and adds to the richness of the story. Overall, I enjoyed the fast pace of the adventure, and the clever twists throughout. A fantastic fantasy tale with plenty of complexity to build on in future books!
Reviewed by Stephanie