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Book Review: The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember

Harmony Ink Press
Published Aug. 22, 2017
180 Pages

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.- Goodreads

I have mix feelings about this book and I have mix feelings about book two and it didn’t even come out yet. Jumping right into this, when I began the book I was all over it. Tashi is an interesting character because he/she makes decisions that are based so much more on emotion rather than common sense, faith or basic knowledge. The decisions come off really selfish and surprising especially at the end. Tashi also isn’t as passionate as I would have liked nor is there growth in that area. Tashi’s emotions from beginning to end feel really misguided and it was frustrating to read because Tashi could have been a bad ass.

The story centralizers around relationships, oddly enough. Be it Tashi’s relationship with the tiger, Katala, Xian and Tashi’s partner/friend. Although the author makes it seem as if the war and the battles are the focus, it really isn’t. It is the backstory because while Tashi falls in love with Xian, the author throws it in there that he is enemy. I wanted more about the war and the battles won and lost. I wanted more fight and blurred lines between love and duty. There was a really great battle scene but like having your first taste of sugar, I wanted more.

My excitement for the book didn’t last because things began to become redundant. The relationship between Tashi and Xian didn’t have the chemistry or passion one would expect with first love and at the end you really don’t know where the two actually stand. And as important as Tashi’s relationship with Katala and her partner, you see less and less of it as the book goes on.

Now my mix feelings about book two is it isn’t in Tashi’s point of view. That bothers me because the ending just kind of ends. I want to know what Tashi is doing at this point and my interest in her partner isn’t even there.

Overall, it was alright. I liked it but at the same time I’m on the fence if that makes sense. I just wish Tashi made smarter decisions and the book wasn’t so relationship based.

3 Pickles