Review: “Tiger’s Watch” by Julia Ember

TigersWatch-feat

Release Date: August 22, 2017
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Series: Ashes of Gold #1
Genre: Fantasy

Description

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. ” (via Goodreads)

 

My Thoughts

TigersWatch-coverThe two men in Tashi’s life, Xian and Pharo, make for interesting contrasts. It’s easy to see why Tashi would be pulled toward elements from both men. Frankly, I would’ve preferred no romance at all—with a story this short, adding in a love triangle takes some much needed time away from the vastly more interesting invasion and subterfuge plots.

Speaking of Tashi, they are such a compelling character. Tashi is an unexpected hero, the kind of person who isn’t used to being the star or taking charge. They are brave even when they’re weak and frightened. It’s no coincidence that the animal they are magically bonded to is a tiger (a rare golden one, at that). Tashi and their tiger Katala share similar personalities and goals. In a way, Katala is an older, more mature version of Tashi. Tashi’s genderfluidity is generally treated with respect, and when misgendering occurs it’s quickly corrected by the offending character. However, I’d love to hear what some gender nonconforming readers have to say…

To read the rest of my review of Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember, head over to Tor.com.

By the time she (our body) struggled out into the world, slick and louder than a village of storms, the gates were left open. We should have been anchored in her by then, asleep inside her membranes and synched with her mind. That would have been the safest way. But since the gates were open, not closed against remembrance, we became confused. We were at once old and newborn. We were her and yet not. We were not conscious but we were alive—in fact, the main problem was that we were a distinct we instead of being fully and just her.

Thanks to Harmony Ink Press for sending me a review copy.

Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or borrow it from your public library.

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