by Jo Sisk-Purvis
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
Print Length: 282 pages
Reviewed by Alexandria Ducksworth
A captivating YA fantasy with great character development and strong series potential
Who are the Watchers and the Listeners? Why is everyone so terrified of the Knowers? The Watchers is an attention-grabbing YA novel starring a young female protagonist with a deadly, mysterious power who must play heroine for her people.
The scariest thing Alesea has ever done is play her lele in front of her community. But things change drastically when the Paav Watchers come to Alesea’s island and take her people, including her family, as slaves. Alesea makes a pact with a fellow islander and traitor to go after the Watchers and free her people, and she soon discovers she has a power called The Knowing. Why does she have it? Alesea has a lot to learn about herself, and she must cross oceans to get her family back.
There are three types of people in Alesea’s world: Listeners, Watchers, and Knowers. Listeners can hear from a long distance. One can hear a bird singing from another island. Watchers can spot a ship many miles away from shore. Knowers, though, might be the most powerful and frightening. They have the ability of control people’s minds and emotions. Knowers were allegedly wiped-out centuries ago due to their uncontrollable power.
The most intriguing aspect of The Watchers has got to be this mystery surrounding the Knowers. Merely speaking about them is taboo. Alesea doesn’t know her own strength due to her lack of knowledge about it. And yet here we are.
Alesea begins as a timid character. She is never one who likes to stand out—not the rebellious or fighter type. But she becomes a fish out of water when the Paav kidnaps those she loves. Now, she has to defend herself and protect others. Throughout the book, Alesea endures numerous opponents, shifting her character development up and down. If she gave up early, she would’ve perished. Luckily, she has supporting characters to keep her afloat. She couldn’t have taken the journey to save her family alone.
Alesea’s inner strength reminds readers of their own power. Whenever we’re driven into a corner or going through difficult times, our power unfolds. We discover we can do things we never thought we could do before. The Hunger Games’ Katniss emits courageous energy when she is merely a background character until she bravely volunteers to take her sister’s place. Sometimes society wants to remind women they have to do nothing more but to stay quiet and be pretty. Women are way beyond those expectations. Alesea transcends beyond the shy island girl who likes to play her lele by the sea.
YA fantasy fans are going to love The Watchers. This book has adventure, fascinating lore, colorful characters, and a smidge of slow burn romance. Only Book One of the Trekanaseries, The Watchers is a wonderful intro to what could turn out to be a delightful series. Readers should anticipate even more development from Alesea and the hidden legends of the Knowers in the coming books.
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