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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing read...
Abby Sherman would be just your average twentysomething if not for her dreams - intense, vivid experiences that catapult her into ancient times, seeing and feeling life through another's eyes. When she posts her dream journal on the web, begging for any insight and understanding others might be able to offer mysterious dreams, she unwittingly sets a dangerous chain of...
Published on March 10, 2007 by Ruth Anderson

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid read; but nothing new.
In today's world, every author, writer/songwriter, musician, and filmmaker is faced with a quandary that's almost biblical in proportions: "There is nothing new under the sun". Especially in the world of fiction, authors must undoubtedly struggle with the looming feeling that every story has already been told, and they face the pressure of putting unique spins and...
Published on March 1, 2007 by Kevin Lucia


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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid read; but nothing new., March 1, 2007
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This review is from: The Watchers (Hardcover)
In today's world, every author, writer/songwriter, musician, and filmmaker is faced with a quandary that's almost biblical in proportions: "There is nothing new under the sun". Especially in the world of fiction, authors must undoubtedly struggle with the looming feeling that every story has already been told, and they face the pressure of putting unique spins and crafting original takes on stories that have been told over and over again.

Sometimes, that's the barometer for judging a good book versus a great book; when reading a "good" book, readers think to themselves at the end, "That was good, but it's been done before". When finishing a "great" book, the reader is conscious this plot isn't new, but some wispy intangible in the story's narrative - be it the strength of the characters, vivid description, introspective first person narrative, or unique perspective - elevates it past that, and the reader thinks, "That was unbelievable!".

The Watchers, by Mark Andrew Olsen, is written well, a few of its characters are interesting - the strongest, in my mind is assassin-turned-protector, Dylan Hatfield - and Olsen crafts suspense well enough, but the overall plot simply falls into the former category: a good, solid read that's suspenseful, written well...but it's been done before. For example: A young girl plagued with nightmares and visions is hunted by an ancient, ruthless Order older than time itself as she races to uncover the truth about herself and a mysterious, holy group of woman who are also being hunted by this evil, dark Order. Along the way, an assassin who's always "followed" orders discovers a deeper truth as they hurtle on a global adventure that will reveal the truth about who they are, and who they will become.

Now for the disclaimer: this is not a bad book, by any means. For most of the novel, the sheer suspense and action is engaging, though I found myself far more interested in Dylan's character, which seemed much deeper and more complex than the main female protagonist, Abby Sherman...who at times was flat, one dimensional, and uninspiring (of course, perhaps that's just because I'm a guy). However, this need not be a gender-related thing: I just found it too convenient that these tremendous visions and dreams would come to someone who was already an ardent, passionate, zealous Christian. For me, I would've been much more engaged if Abby had been unsaved, and struggled with the meaning of visions through her unbelief. Also, Dylan Hatfield conveniently comes to salvation halfway through the novel, so everything is wrapped up nicely and neatly.

The bad guys are a little too predictable, and a usual pet peeve of mine: like many CBA novels, the dialogue for these evil bad guys is sanitized, watered down. As I've said many times before, I'm certainly not a proponent for allowing rampant swearing in Christian novels, but at some point the story's realism breaks down when a hardened covert operative who's sold his soul to evil and kills for sport and pleasure calls everyone either "fools" or "losers" for the whole novel. I certainly don't want to be exposed to a trash-mouth, but when I read that, a little alarm trips off in my head and I think: 'there's just no way a guy like that would really say that'.

In the end, The Watchers definitely has my recommendation as a good read, and fans of a certain genre and plotline will definitely enjoy this tale, however, though it isn't a bad story or novel, it just falls into my former category listed above: a "good" story that's been told before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing read..., March 10, 2007
This review is from: The Watchers (Hardcover)
Abby Sherman would be just your average twentysomething if not for her dreams - intense, vivid experiences that catapult her into ancient times, seeing and feeling life through another's eyes. When she posts her dream journal on the web, begging for any insight and understanding others might be able to offer mysterious dreams, she unwittingly sets a dangerous chain of events in motion. Abby's plea for help puts her in the crosshairs of an ancient organization that marks her for death in order to prevent her from realizing the true nature of her dreams and awakening others to their life-changing message.

The Watchers is a well-crafted suspense story, brimming with non-stop action, fast pacing, and colorful settings. It's a good read - at times very good. However, the dialogue can be a little flat, lacking some crispness and "sizzle." The setting of this novel spans the globe - and at times, the scene and point of view is changed multiple times within a chapter. While this lends the novel a fast-paced, intense feel, it can at times be somewhat confusing to follow and prevents one from really delving deeply into the characters of all of the players revealed.

As a main character, Abby would perhaps be more interesting if she possessed more inner conflict or a need for some real deep, soul-shaking change. She's likable enough, but considering all of the challenges thrown her way in the course of the story she can seem a bit too "perfect" and level-headed. Instead of being a character that grows and develops, she serves more as a catalyst that spurs change in those she encounters - particularly in Dylan, the hardened assassin sent to kill her before the story of her dreams can spread. Dylan's encounter with Abby forces him to re-evaluate the entire foundation on which he's built his life, shaking him to the core of his being.

Those caveats aside, The Watchers is a compulsively readable novel. Once you start it, you won't want to put it down. Olsen may not be quite the wordsmith of, say, a Ted Dekker -- not yet, at any rate. I feel there is a slew of unexplored potential in Olsen's writing, and the promise held within The Watchers, and his previous novel, The Assignment, is staggering. The global scope of Olsen's novels, pacing, and the way in which he explores the spiritual world, is very reminscent of Dekker's early Martyr's Song novels. He is a writer I definitely want to hear more from. There's a certain lush, almost poetic quality to his "world-crafting" that is a joy as a read. Definitely worth checking out!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Watchers - A Unique Look, March 7, 2007
This review is from: The Watchers (Hardcover)
If you like globetrotting spiritual warfare novels, you're going to want to check out "The Watchers."

With a different twist on the standard warfare, "The Watchers" tackles some intriguing church history, and some tragic realities about the current state of religion. Crossing cultural and racial boundaries, Mark Andrew Olsen writes of an age-old demonic plan, and the way it could play out in our age of technology.

Some segments are truly creepy and will give the Big Honkin Chicken Club members a shudder or two. The novel reads very much like a screenplay and would be an action-packed movie. Christian themes of prayer and submission are well handled. The Gospel is present, obvious and not overdone.

Though written in omniscient POV, my least favorite, and though the main characters are not always believable, I found this an enjoyable read. My character issue likely stems from the omniscient POV. Dylan ended up being a little stereotypically alpha-male. But in a thriller genre, a reader generally isn't looking for depth of characterization.

Overall, Mark Andrew Olsen tells a great story with compelling writing.

Fans of Dekker, Peretti, Mapes and Mackel will find this a satisfying power-packed read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Novel of Suspense, December 11, 2007
This review is from: The Watchers (Hardcover)
Come along with Mark as he invites you to travel with Abby Sherman around the world. Well written, I couldn't put down this book because there are surprises every step of the way in her quest to obey her Creator. With strong support and understanding of who she is, her helpers guide the teenager into a deep supernatural world where she discovers gifts beyond her wildest imagination. She learns of an ancient linage that will always be despite her enemies best efforts to distinguish the lineage.

Mark is predictable in writing page turning supernatural adventure, this is no exception.

Paulette L. Harris
Author/reviewer
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good paced Good VS Evil thriller, May 22, 2009
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This review is from: Watchers, The (Paperback)
I enjoyed this. Plenty of action and it reads well. Enough spirituality for Christians, but not too preachy for those who aren't. Could be described as a 'lighter' version of This Present Darkness, but still on the same theme. Having said that spiritual warfare itself is I believe a serious, yet interesting subject. Very interested in reading the sequel The Warriors (The Watchers Series #2). 4 stars for the potential to refine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read- Couldn't Put It down!!!, January 30, 2009
This review is from: The Watchers (Hardcover)
This book is amazing.. a friend gave it to me to read for something new. i usually don't read these kinds of books but it was amazing. I couldn't put it down and i finished it in like 2 days! A great adventure but has a many different meanings to it. I am right now reading the sequel and so far it is an amazing book as well. i would recommend it to anyone!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Seemed to Drag On with Bad Theology, August 9, 2013
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This review is from: The Watchers (Hardcover)
Started out good but gradually lost interest. Don't know if it was me or not, but just seemed to drag on and ramble about seemingly irrelevant stuff. Wasn't expecting it to be a Christian fiction, which I don't mind. But, bad theology can ruin what could potentially be otherwise a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Along the Lines of Frank Peretti's Books, August 16, 2013
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This book was enthralling. I was drawn in, not wanting to stop reading. It reminded me of when I read This Present Darkness years ago. I found myself encouraged, with a renewed desire to recognize the power of prayer. Looking forward to reading the sequels!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great potential but theologically heavy--3.5 Stars, February 10, 2008
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This review is from: The Watchers (Hardcover)
The Brotherhood is upset--really upset. They want Abby Sherman dead and they want her dead yesterday. But what threat does she pose to the world? Dylan Hatfield prides himself on eliminating the really bad people of this world. Only those that everyone would want dead. So when asked to kill Abby, a seemingly harmless girl, whose only offense seems to have been a really weird dream, his conscience and beliefs are put to the test. Can he really kill this girl and should he?

I had mixed feelings about The Assignment, so it took me a long time to commit to reading this 400+ page novel. I have mixed feelings about this one as well. The story is good, somewhat original (reminded me a lot of This Present Darkness), and interesting. However, it's very bogged down in theology and teaching. It's frustrating because the actual story is really good, but the characters are flat because of the Biblical teaching. They have no opportunity to be anyone other than what they're teaching. Their predictability makes them unbelievable.

It felt like ˝ the book was theological teachings, dialogues, plan of salvation, lectures on Christian living, etc. It really became tiring. I felt like I was reading `How to be saved' and `How to live a Christian life' rather than a Christian fiction suspense book. I know not everyone reads for the same reason, but for me, fiction is for entertainment. I love a good theological lesson and discussion, just not in my fiction. In my fiction, I want deep characters with ideas to toy with and flesh out. I want stuff that keeps me thinking instead of a lesson written down for me.

The Watchers had a promising plot and great potential, but it just got bogged down in theology. The good stuff was buried under flat characters, a predictable story line, and an overwhelming number of sermons. So much of the book is theology, by the time the ending came around, just as in The Assignment, the finale felt rushed and tied up in a hurry. Which left me wishing for something different.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner, March 30, 2007
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This review is from: The Watchers (Hardcover)
From California, to the jungles of Nigeria, to the holy city of Jerusalem, The Watchers is a wild ride of action-packed suspense. Not since Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and Ted Dekker's Martyr's Song series, have I read a book that so compellingly weaves the spiritual world--visions of heaven and the battle between angels and demons--into the physical.

Abby Sherman is a typical twenty-something girl who loves the Lord and is trying to figure out what to do with her life. But plans for the future seem ironic when Abby finds herself infected with a mysterious, deadly disease, giving her only a short time to live--all because of a vivid dream that she posts to her blog. Not only does the post attract the attention of thousands of women who also experienced the same dream--making Abby an Internet celebrity--but it draws the attention of an evil that wants her silenced. Abby knows her purpose, that with whatever time she has left, she is to discover the true meaning of this mysterious dream and how the women who experience it are connected.

Dylan Hatfield is a veteran black-ops assassin who prides himself on killing only those who deserved the judgment given them: Men who commit genocide, and terrorists who endanger the security of the free world. So when he is given the assignment to silence a young, seemingly innocent girl, he is hesitant to accept the job. A rather unpleasant ultimatum if he refuses, really peaks Dylan's curiosity. What makes this girl so dangerous? Now the question is, when the truth confronts him, will he be able to determine whose side he is really on?

Not for the faint of heart (let's just say I'll never look at seagulls feeding on the beach the same way again!), The Watchers is a page-turner.

Armchair Interviews says: Don't miss it!
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Watchers, The
Watchers, The by Mark Andrew Olsen (Paperback - April 1, 2008)
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