The Tiger’s Watch
(Ashes of Gold #1)
5 ★ – Magical and Thrilling
Published by Harmony Ink Press August 22, 2017
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, GLBT, Romance
Pages: Kindle 180
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.
This is the first book I’ve read by Julia Ember and I’m definitely 100% going to be adding her other books on my neverending TBR. The Tiger’s Watch is a fantastic thrilling story that features a genderfluid protagonist (Woohoo!). From the very beginning until the last page, I was enthralled by Ember’s beautiful writing. The story, the world building, the characters, the magic, the romance, everything… – I LOVE it all.
Ember is an amazing writer and visionary. The world building in this book is unique and imaginative. The idea of inhabitors, a soldier who is able to bond with an animal in order to spy and kill, is creative and fascinating. I definitely loved it when Tashi would connect with their tiger, Katala. I mean how incredible is it to be able to experience two lives at once. To do things you never thought you could. To feel, hear, taste, and see the world through another species. Of course there’ll be limitations and danger, but still… it’s pretty darn awesome! I really enjoyed this part of the book and hope to see it developed some more in the next installment.
I love the characters with all my heart and rooted for each of them. Tashi is not exactly the bravest and for a trained spy/killer, they’re actually quite horrible at it, but they try to be strong and to do good. Pharo can be impulsive and reckless, but he’s also kind and very loyal. Xian is unpredictable and cruel, but there is also a side of him that’s caring and vulnerable. They’re complex, flawed, and awfully frustrating, but it’s difficult not to sympathize with them when they’re just trying to do what they believe is right to protect the people they love.
The romance is subtle and the relationships could have had a bit more development… but the little preview was enough to keep me interested. And yes, there’s definitely some swooning here and there. I enjoyed the slow burn romance between Tashi and Pharo… BUT (and someone tell me I’m not alone in this) I REALLY LIKE Tashi and Xian together… I know I know.. Xian’s despicable and the enemy, but I sort of have a thing for the “bad guy” type… the complicated more than meets the eye villain who ends up being the “good guy.” So, of course I found the love-hate chemistry between Tashi and Xian totally intriguing. (Kind of reminded me of how I felt towards Juliette and Warner from the Shatter Me Series). While Tashi and Xian is my obvious ship, I’m still pretty excited to see how both relationships progress.
The Tiger’s Watch may be short (not even 200 pages), but it’s full of intrigue, magic, adventure, and mystery. I love Ember’s vivid storytelling and this wonderful world she’s created. I seriously have so much love for this book and can’t recommend it enough. If you’re looking for a quick, fun, and entertaining fantasy novel, then you absolutely have to add this on your TBR… or you know just grab a copy when it comes out. Oh and be prepared to shut the real world off, cause you’ll want to finish this in one sitting.
I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the author and publisher, Harmony Ink Press, in exchange for a fair review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Sincerely Karen Jo