The Tiger’s Watch is a steady paced introduction to what is sure to be a thrilling & mysterious series by the author of The Seafarer’s Kiss, Julia Ember!
I read the book in one sitting & I’m devastated that I’m going to have to wait months & months for the sequel, The Shadow Wolf. I love the idea of being bonded to an animal & I’m so excited to see where the rest of the series is going to go.
Disclaimer: I was sent an eARC of this book by the author in return for an honest review.
The Tiger’s Watch opens on a scene where our main character, agender Tashi, & their best friend Pharo, are escaping their city & academy on the back of an elephant, after the city has been attacked by the Myeik. Readers are immediately thrown straight into the plot of the book & very quickly start to learn all about the world that this series is set in. Tashi & Pharo are both inhabitors; magical beings that have been raised in an academy fit for their talents & whom are bonded with a completely wild animal. Tashi’s bondmate is a beautiful rose-gold & white tiger called Katala & Pharo’s bondmate is an aging grey wolf; both are able to access the emotions & memories of their bondmate, whilst also being able to borrow or share their bodies.
The pair arrive at a monastery seeking salvation until their fellow inhabitor’s can regroup to start battle against the Myeik, but instead they are both thrown into the deep end of a very dangerous ocean. A Myeik army arrive at the monastery not long after Tashi & Pharo, & very quickly turn the monastery into a hospital for their sick & wounded… Tashi is forced to play servant to the commander of the arriving army & uses the opportunity to spy on the enemy. Unfortunately, this does not go according to plan, as Tashi’s teenage hormones take over & they start to feel a deep desire for the commander. But, Tashi’s emotions are shaken even more when they find out that inhabitors have been lied to their whole lives & Pharo’s bondmate becomes sick, & when a inhabitor’s animal dies they fall into a deep coma, from which they never recover…
By the end of the book, Tashi ends up completely split between loyalty to their academy, love for their best friend & lust for their commander.
I was really excited about The Tiger’s Watch as I love the cover so, so much, but also because the book is set in an Asian-like world & anyone who follows my reviews will know that I’m obsessed with Asian culture. Despite it’s slow pace, the book does involve a fair amount of action & I was often left hanging on the edge of my seat at the end of chapters. I constantly wanted to know more about the mythology & history of this world & I ate up the scenes where I was told more. I enjoyed Tashi’s character as well, they’re the first asexual character I’ve had the pleasure of meeting & it was an education for me trying to get their pronouns correct! I think characters like Tashi are super important for education purposes – I’ve definitely learnt a thing or two. But! Their asexuality isn’t a main focus or issue in this book & I loved that Tashi was just accepted in this world. This means that asexual readers don’t need to fear any prejudiced language being used in the book!!
Animal lovers will enjoy this book as animals are respected & honoured in this world & readers get a very close, & honest look, at how wild animals operate. If I could be bonded to any animal it would be a wolf or a fox! Katala is wonderful though, even if she is a big cat, & I hope she’s features a lot in the sequel as well.
As I’ve mentioned the book is a little slow paced, but I definitely finished the book feeling like this is only the beginning of what Julia plans to do with this world & its characters. I finished the book wishing I could go straight onto the next chapter as I’m excited to see what decisions Tashi is forced to make in the sequel, & I was totally sucked into the plot by the end of the book. I’m super grateful that Julia & her publishers, Harmony Ink Press, chose me to be one of the first to review this fabulous story.