The Shadow Watch introduced characters and world with vast possibilities. It was action packed from the beginning with grey and flawed characters. It was impressive action-packed YA fantasy with Grishaverse vibe.
The Shadow Watch (The Shadow Watch #1) by S.A. Klopfenstein
Publication Date : 15th May 2018
Genre : YA Fantasy
Pages : 400
In a world of ice and blood…
A buried power awakens…
Can one sorceress defy an empire?
Ripped from her home and sold for a handful of coins, seventeen year old Tori Burodai grew up a slave in a foreign empire. All her life, surrounded by injustice and cruelty, she has ached for the chance to fight back.
When her only friend’s life is threatened, a buried power awakens, catapulting Tori into a harrowing new reality. For the first time in centuries, magic has returned to the world, and Tori may finally have the opportunity to change her fate.
Desperate for answers, Tori joins forces with a charismatic rebel bent on righting the scales. Soon, she is thrust into the heart of a magic revolution. But magic is not the only power that has returned from the depths of the world. And some secrets should never be uncovered.
War is coming. But does Tori have what it takes to defy an empire?
*** Disclaimer : Many thanks to Shannon@ R&R Book Tours for review opportunity and author for providing e-copy, in exchange for honest review.. ***
The Shadow Watch was interesting first book in fantasy series that revolved around Tori who founds her dormant power in trying to save her friend that triggered series of event and made her to join rebel army.
The story was about power, greed, manipulation, friendship, love, betrayal, letting go of guilt and regrets, embracing gift, saving the world, hope, and responsibilities.
Writing was easy to follow, gripping and fast paced. It was written in multiple third person narrative from Darian, Kale, and mainly Tori’s perspective.
Prologue was great. So much happened in first few chapters. It introduced characters, world that was ruled by oppressive ruler, Chancellor where people didn’t believe in magic, Gods, and Watchers and how Tori’s public display of magic sparked hope and rebellion in people, how it threatened tule of Chancellor and what he did to squash what Tori started. It was captivating from the beginning and Tori’s imprisonment and escape in first few chapters was surprising.
It was interesting to read how the game of power, politics, secrets, and magic started, how Tori would learn more about her power, if she could trust leader of Watchers wanting to start revolution, what were Chancellor’s plans, what happened to Darian, and how would be their reunion.
Characters were complex, interesting and flawed. Tori was my favourite character. I admired her will, endurance, and resilience. She was strong and smart with extraordinary gift and yet was vulnerable. Her emotions, her struggling life, her guilt and regrets, and her doubts made her realistic. I liked her development, the way she learned to control her gift, learned to live with regrets, understood the greater good, saw why she was symbol hope, and why she was so important for revolution.
Chancellor was interesting villain. He was cunning. He sure had way with words and his tactic of power was brilliant. I can’t wait to read more about him and what he is up to.
I enjoyed reading all secondary characters. Ren was really amazing leader of Watchers. At first, I doubted him, thought he might have some of his own reasons as his past wasn’t revealed much. We know him eventually why he was leading watcher against chancellor but I feel I don’t fully understand his past and what exactly happened to his family. The more I read the more I loved and respected him.
A character that surprised me was Kale. I was expecting him to be more responsible or something. But he turned out single minded. All he wanted was find his partner. His past was interesting though and I can’t wait to know more about him and what happened to him as we don’t see him in third half of the book.
Unlike most readers I didn’t like Darian. I don’t really understand his actions. What I kept thinking was how a boy who hated chancellor, because of whom he lost his family, hated his army of Legion who were going to attack country he was from could start respecting Chancellor and constantly wanted to prove himself to him, and mainly, how exactly he could be ungrateful towards Tori! I can’t believe what he did as soldier of Legion. I don’t see any logic behind everything he did unless he was weak character.
World was best part. I could see few things similar to Grishaverse. Elemental magic and order of Watchers was almost similar but unlike Grishas, there was no higher or lower level but a rare Watcher could have more than one gift. It was interesting to read about Old and New World, how Old World ended and what caused it, creatures of Old World- Nosferati, Rulaqs (cannibals)- and legends, political unrest in New World, and how because of Chancellor’s greed it was going towards third age. The world looked so vast with so much possibilities as I read more.
Romance was complicated and dramatic but it wasn’t in the centre of plot which I liked. I could see something happening between Ren and Tori but it didn’t develop as war was upon them. I wish to see where romantic aspect was going in next book.
Twist and turns were great. I couldn’t guess what will happen next most of time. Climax was surprising and unexpected. It was action packed and adrenalin filled. Like the beginning so much happened before end. End was interesting with escape, new people, and hope.
Why 3.5 Stars-
I kept feeling I’m missing something. Maybe because I didn’t read prequel. I don’t understand some characters’ action. I like I said about Darian and also of Vashti’s. I don’t think I fully understand what exactly happened to Ren and Kale’s family and how Chancellor got hold of such magical power.
Overall, The Shadow Watch impressive, action-packed YA fantasy with interesting characters and world. If you like world with elemental magic, politics, drama, grey and flawed characters, I recommend this book.
About the Author
S.A. Klopfenstein grew up on a steady dose of Tolkien and Star Wars. As a child, he wrote his first story about a sleepwalking killer who was executed by lethal injection. He lives in the American West with his wife and their dog, Iorek Byrnison. He can be found exploring the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, or daring the halls of the high school where he teaches English and mythology.
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