Becca has put her life on hold to protect her little brother, Ryland, who hears voices in his head. She is determined not to let anyone take him away “for his own good”, but when two men turn up and convince her mother that he should take his place at a special school in Ireland, Becca starts to believe they might be the answer. They know things about her family and Alex shows her something she would never have imagined. Yet she won’t let him be taken away by himself, and agrees to go with him to St. Brigid’s, despite the risk she could run into her own father, a man she has never forgiven for leaving them.

As it turns out, St. Brigid’s is part normal boarding school, part training ground for Holders, a group of people with heredity powers. The Holders are starting to die out and so many have weak powers that are barely any use at all. Of course, there’s a shady villain in the background and a love interest to boot.

I liked the idea that the protagonist wouldn’t be the one with special powers, but a relative along for the ride. There was a part of me that was disappointed later on in the story, when I realised this wasn’t going to be that story. I’d love someone to pick that up though; what do the non-prophesised about kids feels about it all? I think we’ve had our fill of main characters who are at the centre of saving the world, let’s see those on the sidelines.

For the first time actually admitting to myself that I was seriously falling for this guy. Falling hard. And if I didn’t watch myself, I might not be able to get back up.

Becca is a bit too isolated to really get the best out of the boarding school setting. She is surrounded by adults though, which is fairly unusual and there were some fantastic interactions between her and the teachers. I also liked her relationship with her brother although she did overthink things a lot. She’s very good at coming to a mature conclusion but the way her thinking was written maybe made it overstated. There were so many leading statements, I felt the romance aspect was predictable and also frustrating, because I just wanted them to get on with it.

Overall I liked the world; it was a varied and entertaining cast and I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book, The Seers, out in February.

The Holders is published by Strange Chemistry and is available in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review (a very long time ago).

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Also reviewed @ Uncorked Thoughts | A Dream of Books | Book Angel Booktopia

Shelve next to: Night School by CJ Daugherty | Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.