The Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)

Featured
 
4.3
 
3.0 (1)
1130 0
The Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
August 22, 2017
ISBN
978-1635334852
Buy This Book
      

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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Fans of Cindy Pon’s Serpentine will devour THE TIGER’S WATCH
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Tashi has had a rough life. With the power of an inhabitor, someone who bonds with an animal, they have been trained as solider and a spy. Fleeing a battle, Tashi seeks a hideout at a monastery, but when the enemy decides to use the monastery as a hospital, they are in more danger than ever. Xian, a commander in the enemy army, decides to use Tashi as a helper, putting them in a valuable but possibly deadly situation. And when Tashi sees Xian’s vulnerable side outside of his commanding company, allegiances, truth, and decisions are tested at every turn.

Julia Ember’s THE TIGER’S WATCH is a thrilling fantasy with delightful, unforgettable characters. Tashi is both brave and vulnerable, sure in some areas but completely doubtful in others. Their bond with the tiger makes a touching companionship, and the scenes where Tashi’s inhabitor powers are used will leave your jaw dropping in amazement. The world of the inhabitors was my favorite part, full of bittersweet wonder and magic that leaves your heart aching.

While the story begins and ends with fantastic action, there are a few stretches in the middle that have slower pacing and occasionally drags. However, this does offer a nice opportunity to explore more of Tashi’s internal life, and their narration is memorable and smooth. Ember writes scenes that could cause a fire with the romantic tension and moments where no backside is safe so far on the edge of the seat.

Fans of Cindy Pon’s Serpentine will devour THE TIGER’S WATCH and eagerly await the preorder button for the sequel once they reach the cliffhanger ending.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

User reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0  (1)
Characters 
 
3.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
3.0  (1)
Already have an account? or Create an account
Interesting, but many issues
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
I’m in two minds about this novella. While there was a part of me that was intrigued by the general premise, there were still too many moments of confusion and poor characterisation for me to fully immerse myself in the story.

One of my issues is the world building, or lack thereof. The novel starts after the conclusion of a major battle, with Tashi, the protagonist, and their best friend on the run. We don’t actually discover what happened until further in the novel, which is not usually an issue for me, but combined with the inclusion – but no explanation – of magical elements, I found myself confused for a majority of the book. The reader is not even told why the two cultures – the Thim and the Myeik – were even at war in the first place.

However, I did enjoy the general idea behind the magical system – that certain people can be inhibitors which means that they are bonded for life to the soul of an animal. But when that animal dies, the human is left in a comatose state until they succumb to starvation. Unfortunately, the execution of this idea wasn’t the best, and the world building altered frequently, to the point where I couldn’t follow along without re-reading pages.

Like the world building, the plot was puzzling. Nothing much happened for a good portion of the novella, and then we discover the central plot point at the very end. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but as nothing really happens, my attention span was sidetracked.

I was quite annoyed by the characters, especially Tashi. While I am so so so hyped beyond words that Tashi is genderfluid, they were incredibly indecisive. They were incapable of making any decisions, and when they finally did, they changed their mind a minute later. It got quite annoying, especially in a book that is only 180 pages long. Also, I am seeing an alarming rise of YA “spies” who are just terrible spies. Tashi sneaks out to see their bonded tiger – despite being in the middle of a monastery filled with invaders – they pull a prank on a high-ranking member of the enemy’s army, and they forget to look for clues in the enemy commander’s room while the commander is away, until reminded by a friend. Just … come on.

I can’t comment on whether the explanation of the gender fluidity was done well as I am not gender fluid myself, but the author did talk about Tashi’s identity frequently, and how angry they were at being forced to change their image while in hiding. There are a few instances of misgendering, but it is always called out and corrected. What I did love about this novella is how normal sexuality and identity is viewed – there’s no shaming or judgement from other characters. They simply accept Tashi for who they are.

However, I did have an issue with the romance, and that’s probably my main issue with the novella. The love triangle felt quite unnecessary, and basically came out of nowhere. Tashi did state that they were in love with their best friend, Pharro, but as soon as they met Xian, they fell in lust with the enemy commander. I did enjoy Xian’s character though – how he was both sadistic, but had moments of vulnerability – and I can see how Tashi would be drawn to him, but there were also many moments where I just found their scenes cringy. I also didn’t understand how Tashi could be so in love with Pharro, when the reader is never really shown their relationship, aside from Tashi commenting on their crush. Just because characters are childhood friends doesn’t mean an author can get away with not properly developing a romance between them.

I think the issues I found with the novel could have been fixed if the book were longer. Writing a novella-length fantasy with complex cultures, politics, and magical systems doesn’t work too well with just 180 pages. There’s either too much info dumping or lack of proper explaining for the reader to fully engross themselves in the story. Will I be reading the next novella in the series? I think I might. The novella ended on a little cliffhanger, and I do want to know what happens next.
Good Points
Check out other reviews on my blog: thebookcorps.wordpress.com
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A haunted tower, an evil ghost, a monster spawned from...
Babies Can Sleep Anywhere
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
What better way to encourage a little one to sleep...
The Bad Guys in The Big Bad Wolf (The Bad Guys, #9)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
The Bad Guys are back for the monstrously funny 9th...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sweet treats and friendship mix-ups abound in this story about...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From award-winning Carolyn Mackler, the story of Willa, who has...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This book is about the Stonewall Riots, a series of...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twelve-year-old Emily is flying with her parents to China to...
A Small Zombie Problem (Zombie Problems, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In his fiction debut--and the start of a new series--celebrated...
My Funny Bunny
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
When a boy receives a gift box from his uncle...
Kindness Rules! (A Hello!Lucky Book)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Manners don’t come naturally to everyone! But did you know...
Teeny Tiny Ghost
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
An adorable spooky twist on "The Teeny Tiny Woman" that's...
A Pumpkin for Peter: A Peter Rabbit Tale
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hop into the world of Peter Rabbit and his friends...
Solving for M
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of Raymie Nightingale and The Fourteenth Goldfish,...
A Parade of Elephants
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times–bestselling and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes follows five...
My Fate According To The Butterfly
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen...
The Rough Patch
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Caldecott Honor Book An...

Latest Member Reviews

The Haunted
 
3.7
"THE HAUNTED is a really fascinating YA horror that follows Hendricks, a teenage girl, after she moves into a haunted..."
My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life
 
3.3
"Sixteen-year-old foster kid Elle Zoellner's life turns topsy turvy when a father, she never knew about, wants her to move..."
Truly Madly Royally
 
3.0
"I’d be lying if I didn’t say that half of the reason why I read this was because it’s a..."
Finding Esme
 
3.3
"Esme feels alone. Her much-loved grandfather died, her dad deserted the family, her mom has mentally checked out, and her..."
House of Salt and Sorrows
 
4.3
"Annaleigh just wanted to be in charge of the lighthouse close to her island home. Rumors circulate on the island..."
Wreck: A Novel
 
4.3
"WRECK is a heart-wrenching story about a teenage girl on the brink of college as she discovers her father's life-altering..."
Reverie
 
5.0
"REVERIE is a captivating and unique YA fantasy without adequate comparisons. The book follows Kane, a teenage boy who was..."
Coral
 
3.0
"CORAL is not a fairytale retelling of THE LITTLE MERMAID- while it may have been inspired by some of the..."
You Are The Everything
 
4.0
"YOU ARE THE EVERYTHING is an intriguing stream-of-consciousness style read that follows Elyse Schmidt, a 16/17 year old girl who..."
The Last Hope
 
4.7
"I honestly don’t know where to begin! The Last Hope by Krista & Becca Ritchie picks up thirty days after..."
 
4.0
"Most books about a school shooting would start with the horrific event at the center of story, but EVERY MOMENT..."
The Bone Houses
 
5.0
"THE BONE HOUSES is a beautifully crafted and full engrossing YA fantasy with some horror aspects. Aderyn (Ryn) is a..."