Watcher Of The Dead (First Impressions, Spoilers!)
“A Cavern of Black Ice” is absolutely one of my favourite story-books. There are a number of chapters, scenes within the book that capture time and space and fragmented weaving of minute details with far-reaching actions and foreshadows and .. Oh, the joy.
I’d known “Watcher of the Dead” was coming out here soon, but even so when we found it at an Angus and Robertson bookshop in Burwood Westfields, I nearly leapt out of my skin.
WOTD (nice, this is the way cool people do it, like for GRRM’s ASOIAF books, or RJs WOT books, or .. ahem) is the fourth book in the Sword Of Shadows series.
It continues the story of Raif Sevrance, a.k.a Watcher of the Dead (or a number of other very cool names). There are a good handful of pov characters, and they all tell an amazing story.
Impression: GREAT READ.
The book feels tighter and more .. dense .. that the others, if that’s possible. It’s shorter by a couple of hundred pages, and I think that makes it feel perhaps go quicker than the previous books. That could also be because I sat and read it through over two night-time sits.
Re-Reads will bear out my initial thoughts, but I have to say that there was one particular revelation in the last chapter of a pov that cause me to go back to the previous page (which on a first read I almost never do), to check if I’d missed something. I’m eager for the next read, to see if there were any fore-almost-shadows of it.
Okay, to Raif.
Back in Cavern (oh wait, ACOBI), Raif was near death and met with Death, who seems rather female if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, she made a promise to him about killing an army.
Now, for the first three books (I’m slow) I pretty much thought that just meant he was going to bring the hurt on many, many, many folk (loved ones and acquaintances included). But now I’m thinking that while this is true, there’s another meaning.
A specific army.
It’s just a hunch. We’ll see what happens.
Anyway, JVJ (hey Julie!) is moulding Raif towards herculean abilities in battle. In this book we see how (at least, one of the steps, but it’s a big one). There’s Moon Snakes and rebel Sull and a friend dies and well, not for the delicate this reading is.
The final Raif chapter must have been incredibly hard to write. Not-Raif as a character, who is the same character but not at all the same, has minimal thought process and higher-level brain function. At least, that’s how it seemed on the read. It felt like I was reading through a cloud. Like there was a block, “more beast than man” (Simpsons quotes for everything), which really came through.
When I think about Cavern, while there’s a great deal of pain and sadness, there is a sense of beginning which gives hope. The start of the journey.
This book, Watcher, is the nadir point. Truly. It’s the base line level where every single chapter is tinged (or coated) with sadness and despair.
I guess in a way that made it a hard read. Don’t hear me wrong, it’s a great read, but it’s hard.
Here’s to the dawning of hope.
JVJ writes with passion and diligence. She has exceptional depth of emotion in her characters, reaching far into the big themes of hope and loss and pain and death and redemption.
Kudos Julie on the fourth installment in this epic tale. Cannot wait for the next one!
Oh, and FINALLY .. The Scarpes get some comeuppance!