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The Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Characters: I LOVED the rep for this, which is why it got bumped up, rating wise, for me (those in between ratings are always so hard to decide where it goes). While Tashi was difficult for me to like sometimes, there is a definite sense of conflict within them. Tashi's nonbinary gender identity is dealt with wonderfully and they don't really come into a lot of conflict about it. So while Tashi was one of those characters you don't know if you like or not, it was still great to read about their journey. It's rare we have characters who are really undecided, and still so until the very end. I am SO excited for the sequel mainly for that reason.
Plot: We end totally abruptly, like it ended and I was thinking really? Because with ebooks I'm always thinking it will go till almost the end. So it took me aback. That being said, so many things happen and are revealed at the end, that it almost feels like this story is an animal and sort of just runs away. BUT we are well set up for the sequel, which is teased at the end, and that looks all sorts of promising to me.
Theme: I enjoyed the exploration of the themes of: power/greed, knowledge/balance, and animals/humans. The animals and human comparison is the most explored because of the language and the metaphors Ember uses. The others are seen, but I think will be more developed in the next one.
Setting: This is my most sad, because I was kind of missing world building here. I just wanted more depth about the society, and specifically this war invasion thing. I would have also loved to know more about the training of the inhabitors and the magic or even the history. I LOVED THE ANIMAL COMPANION THING. Like really. I just wanted to know EVERYTHING about it.
OVERALL: Do I rec this? YES. This has fantastic rep and the premise is 100% fascinating. I know this will be a wonderful series and it has the foundations for such a great storyline.
Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.
The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember is the first book in the Ashes of Gold series. I really enjoyed this book, and it definitely engaged all of my senses especially my sympathy and tear ducts. As this is a book about teens, I didn’t figure there would be any explicit content, and there wasn’t. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any chemistry between various characters and some light kissing. The book does end on a cliffhanger so if you don’t like to read a book with a cliffhanger ending then I would wait to start this book until the series has concluded because the ending does make you want to start reading the next book immediately. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait too long. Especially after peaking my interest with the sneak peek into the second book in the series.
Tashi’s a gender fluid 16-year-old. Some days they feel more masculine and other days more feminine regardless of the fact that they was born male. The pronouns used for Tashi are they, them, and their. Since this is my first gender fluid character and story, the pronouns took me a little bit of time to get used to. I loved how Tashi used their hair to show their dual nature, and I cried when they shaved it off to better keep their identity secret. Tashi’s been an inhibitor since they was eight years old and chosen by Katala, a rare rose gold tiger. Tashi’s best friend Pharo’s bonded to a wolf that’s just about at the end of his life and it scares Tashi that soon they will be without their best friend and that there isn’t anything they can do to stop the unavoidable. And while it’s cool to be one with your animal, it makes it nearly impossible to form relationships and so Tashi’s never done anything about their attraction or love for Pharo.
I thought the ideas of the inhibitor was unique and exciting but also sad since the human and animal are bonded together and neither can survive without the other. Which means if Katala dies from a wound or old age then Tashi will fall into a coma and slowly pass away.
Xian’s 17 years old and a general in the Myeik army and has a secret item that he’s been searching for that used to be in his family generations ago. He needs it to save his mother’s life and uses the cover of the army to search for it secretly. He knows that it’s related to the inhibitors and so he’s searching for the inhibitors that escaped the attack on the academy. He has a cruel and cold personality that he projects to the outside world, but underneath he has a soft spot that only his trusted servant gets to witness.
When Xian’s army takes the monastery that Tashi and Pharo are hiding in as servants, Tashi ends up getting chosen to replace Xian’s dead personal assistant. This works out great for Tashi who has trained his whole life to be a killer and a spy. But Tashi’s torn between his duty and his heart after witnessing Xian’s soft spot. Will he be able to do what needs to be done to save his peoples’ way of life or will he give into his heart and help find the secret item that Xian needs to save his mother?
I know the answers to these questions, but you will have to read the book to find them out for yourself. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series when it comes out and find out what happens next.
****The ARC was provided by Harmony Ink Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****
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4.5 for me.
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