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ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review.
The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: The Divide (Book #1 of 2)
Genre: Science fiction, space opera
Pages: 472 pages (Kindle edition)
Published: 20th April 2021 by Tor Books
The Last Watch was good, but I believe it would work better as a movie than a novel.
The Divide, it’s the edge of the universe, and it’s collapsing. The only ones who can stop this from happening are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and dregs of the military. At the Divide, Adequin Rake is in charge of the Argus, and she has no one besides her soldiers and her possible ace—a genius and exiled prince—in the hole: Cavalon Mercer. The Last Watch is the first book in The Divide series by J.S. Dewes, and it has been garnering a lot of super positive receptions from readers. Honestly, from the premise alone, this sounds like The Night Watch from A Song of Ice and Fire, but in space. And that sounds incredibly intriguing to me. But two aspects prevented me from enjoying it further.
The first issue I had with The Last Watch was characterizations. I personally found the novel to be lacking in this department. I never once felt like I cared for Adequin Rake, Cavalon Mercer, or anybody else. They’re the drivers that steer the vehicles of the story, but they remain strangers to me from beginning to the end. It’s unfortunate, but a slightly more focus on characterizations and motivations in the first half of the novel would’ve boosted my reading experience so much. Seriously, the actions and pacing in the second half were superbly done. It’s a very subjective critic, I know that many readers have voiced that they loved Rake and Cavalon. For me, I wish I felt more invested in the characters for me to genuinely care about the struggles they’re dealing with.
The second issue was that I felt that there needed to be more elaboration on world-building and background. A suspension of disbelief was sorely needed, and this didn’t happen once or twice; it occurred multiple times throughout the entire novel. Many times I actually considered DNFing this book; the pacing was too slow in the first half of the novel, and slow-paced novels are novels that I usually loved, but in this case, there weren’t any characters I felt invested in. Because of this, the reading became a struggle.
As I said in the beginning, I do honestly believe that The Last Watch would work incredibly well as a sci-fi movie, and I hope it gets a movie adaptation one day. There were some truly—technically—magnificent scenes, and it was a shame I couldn’t enjoy them as much as I hoped because I couldn’t care about the characters. Also, please do not take my review for this novel fully to heart; I strongly suggest you give it a try for yourself if you love sci-fi/space opera or story with a band of misfits doing their best to save humanity. Plus, The Last Watch has been gaining a lot of good reviews, and I’m most likely just fell a bit on the unpopular opinion side here. It wasn’t a bad book for me, but it was okay, and it could’ve been more. I am very much a character-driven reader, and The Last Watch, to me, felt entirely plot-driven.
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The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
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