Review: Watchers of the Night

Watchers of the Night
Watchers of the Night by Matthew Keith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My actual rating would be 3.5 stars, adding the extra .5 mainly because despite a few problems I had with the book, the writing is very good. The author has an engaging narrative style and there were no problems with style or mechanics of writing. (This is always particularly notable with self-published books.) And as always, my ratings reflect the actual Goodreads definitions–three stars meaning I liked it.

I’ll be honest–I’m not sure how I came to have this book on my e-reader. I must have seen it somewhere as a deal and picked it up because the premise sounded interesting. The book did deliver on its promise of an interesting situation–a young man who, when he sleeps, has his “consciousness” disconnected from his physical body and can travel in that state. There are a lot of places the writer could go with that idea, and a secret group of individuals with that ability who use their power for good makes for an intriguing story.

However, I found that the book dragged somewhat in the middle, as the main character learns about his ability and the group he joins. I kept waiting for him to start going on exciting missions, but it turned out that this book was mostly about internal strife among the “Walkers”–as they call themselves. Which was interesting once it finally got rolling, but was not what I expected going into the book.

Now, this may be entirely the fault of my own expectations, and writers have only limited control over what potential readers expect from their work. I’m running into the same difficulty with the book I’m currently reading…but more about that later, in that review.

Also, I found this book ran into problems from time to time with characters making bad decisions–for example, knowing something important but not taking all steps necessary to get that information to the proper person. This is a relatively common problem in YA fiction–and while I understand that sometimes young characters *can’t* take their problems to adults because it would remove some of their agency in the story, I think they must have believable reasons for their actions and decisions within the context of the story. In other words, give the characters real obstacles.

The ending was also just too abrupt for my liking, but I believe there’s a second book, so perhaps it just leads into the next one.

All in all, though, I did like this book; it kept me reading and engaged, and I think that YA readers will find it interesting and enjoyable, with some fun characters and a very thought-provoking premise.

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