Okay, so "ordinary kid finds out one day that he/she has magic, turns out to be very powerful, has to fight Evil Enemy who wants to destroy the world and Powerful Kid is the only one with the power to stop the Evil Enemy" is ... not exactly a unique, original premise.
That is not a problem. No, really. I mean, yeah, it gets used a lot, but a lot of basic plots/premises do, and as a premise, it's not that bad. Cliché, yes, but it promises action and adventure and fun and magic and ... basically, a lot of great stuff that I like, if the story built on that promise is solid and the characters good.
Unfortunately The Holders
was sorely lacking in both. I liked
the first third or so of the book. I thought that yeah, well, I've seen all this before, and Becca, the heroine, is a bit annoying, but her heart's in the right place and she's just had a whole lot of stuff to deal with, and whatever, and basically this sounds good and exciting and I'm going to love this.
That was not to be. If I hadn't read this in ebook form on my beloved Kindle, I might actually have been tempted to throw the book down in disgust at some point or another. As it is, I barely skimmed the final parts as I'd completely lost interest.
Flat characters. Oh god, were they flat. Also, all the "good" people loved and adored Becca; but you know, the one character who has a crooked nose and is old and ugly and doesn't care for her is bound to turn out to be a bad guy - which of course no one else would believe, because they all trust him, but Becca, being an obnoxious teenager who labels someone a "jerk" 0.5 seconds after first seeing him because crooked nose and old and ugly and not instantly wooed by her, knows better.
Insta-love. OH GOD was there insta-love. Soulmate bonding insta-love for that matter. Five seconds after first meeting the - of course gorgeous, wonderful, incredible - young man, there was insta-love and pining.
I could even deal with that at first because there was refreshing self-awareness in Becca at first, realising that this was a crush and it was silly to crush someone five seconds after meeting someone but, well, she couldn't turn it off either, and ... then it turned the entire rest of the book into soppy gooey lovey-dovey stuff. I think the plot kinda disappeared at that point. Bad guys? Saving the world? Huh? Who cares, when there is a boy to pine for?
And Becca's complete and utter stupidity
really clinched it for me. She was supposed to be some genius-level supersmart teen and what not? Graduating at fifteen, accepted into all the best universities whenever she felt like joining? While whining over "language learning sucks, too complicated, grammar is stupid, I don't wanna do this, let's drop out after one hour" and never learning anything? Uh, yeah. Whatever.
Also, wilful ignorance and obnoxiousness never wins points with me. Teenage stubbornness is one thing, stupidity is another, and the kind of "shut up I'm not interested" stuff when people try to tell you important things is yet another thing again. Urgh. Also, she was just laughably stupid about the whole Alex thing, but whatever.
Also, I still wonder where the plot went to. Maybe there'll be more books following, where it returns? Bad guy? Trying to end the world? There was something that felt like a not very good attempt to build up for future stuff, but ... I'm not going to be reading that, if so.
Two stars only because I did enjoy the first third of the book. The rest ... not so much.