Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Title: The Tiger’s Watch
( Ashes of Gold #1 )
Author: Julia Ember
Published: 22. August 2017
Edition: Harmony Ink Press
Kindle Edition, 180 pages
Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.
Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.
When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.
◄ 2.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►
I am really conflicted with my feelings for this book. It took me the longest time to figure out the star rating and that’s not something that usually happens to me. There were some aspects of this book that I really enjoyed and some that I very much disliked. It took me also the longest time to actually finish this book
(even though it was rather short), as I never felt like picking it up.
The premise for this book sounded fascinating. I was really interested in seeing the bonds between the humans and their animals, it also interested me to see the world in which such a bond exists. Sadly this book didn’t deliver on that front. I feel as if the world-building was poorly executed. Everything was way too vague and I had more questions by the end of it than answers. World-building is one of the main aspects of a fantasy book, in my opinion, and I just feel that in this one nothing wasn’t developed enough – the world, the culture, the magic.
I felt that the plot was lacking as well. At some points I didn’t even see the point of the plot. I just don’t feel as if it was explained and developed enough, which caused me to not get the point of the war, the fighting and everything else that was happening. Then a personal problem that I had with it is the monastery part. I tend to strongly dislike books that take place in monasteries for some reason. I have never read a monastery setting that I have enjoyed. That was more of a ‘it’s me not you’ case for this book as well.
Tashi was a fascinating character. They were unlike the usual fantasy lead character. By which I mean that they weren’t portrayed as the strongest or bravest, rather they had their flaws and were insecurities about many things. It was very refreshing to read from their perspective. While I enjoyed that aspect of Tashi’s character, I was very frustrated with them as well. They just made so many decisions that I thought were naive and plain stupid – honestly that’s one of the things that annoyed me the most.
One of the most fascinating aspects of this book for me was the relationship between Tashi and Katala, their bonded animal. It was amazing to see how much they cared about each other and how far they were ready to go to protect one another. The other relationships in this book I didn’t care much about. There is a love triangle in this, which I neither expected nor enjoyed. I don’t feel that Tashi’s relationship with either love interest was developed enough, or rather that there weren’t enough meaningful conversations between them to get me interested.
Overall this book had a very interesting premise, but ultimately I was disappointed. Personally I don’t plan on reading the sequel to this book, simply because I’m not interested in it. This is a book that I both recommend and don’t. I recommend it for the unique protagonist and their relationship with their bonded animal, but I don’t recommend it for the plot or the world.
Have you read The Tiger’s Watch? What did you think of it?
Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have an amazing day!