Review : The Shadow Watch by S.A. Klopfenstein

« The Watchers have been eradicated, and their sorcery is but a whispered myth »

  • Release date : May 14th 2018
  • Publishing house : Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Series : The Shadow Watch
  • Pages : 398
  • Book 2 : The Rage of Saints

Spoilers ahead

For centuries, the Oshan Empire has ruled the New World with terror and blood. The Watchers have been eradicated, and their sorcery is but a whispered myth. But the heart of magic beats on, and as it surges back to life, three young people will determine the fate of the world…

Tori Burodai, a strong-willed slave girl. Her magic could ignite a revolution, but only if she resists the ruler who wants to use her powers to restore the empire to its former glory.

Darien Redvar, the idealistic soldier she loves. His rage leads him down a dark path to power that could turn him against the one person he cares for.

Kale Andovier, a lordling rebel with a torturous past. His quest for a weapon of dark sorcery will thrust him into a twisted game of power that could change the world forever.

Will the return of magic transform the New World, or bring it to ruin? 

Characters :

Tori/Astoria : Born with the capacity to use magic in a nomadic tribe, she is hunted with her mother by monsters created by the Chancellor. To let her girl live a normal life, her mother erases her memory. Sold to a merchant, Tori is forced to work for Scelero (a good guy), a noble, for many years until her friend is choosen to be part of the army. As her friend refuses and as per the custom, he is to be put to be hanged. Just before being hanged, Tori uses her powers to free her friend. As a result, the Chancellor decides to let her friend join the army while bringing Tori to his home to torture her (for a year.)

Tori has grown a lot during this book. She went from a little slave girl to being one of the leaders of a rebellion against the the Oshan Empire. She also began to master her powers and it was not easy as she didn’t believe in herself and thought that it was because of her magic that her friend was enlisted into the army. She’s become stronger through suffering and great effort.

« Will the return of magic transform the New World, or bring it to ruin? »

Darien : He’s Tory’s friend and should have been hanged as he refused to be part of the army. He’s saved by Tori’s outburst of magic as the Chancellor decided to send him to the army, turning him into what he’s despised the most.

It was chilling to read about his transformation because of the indoctrination he’s suffered in the Night Legion. His chapters depicted a confused man searching for his place in society and he thinks being part of the Legion is his place.

The Chancellor (Cyrus Maro) : He was an interesting character. He’s the leader of the Oshan Empire ruling the New World. He knows his way with words as he is pretty good at manipulating people. He’s fierce, cunning and knowledgeable. He’s shown as an unreachable person all along the book, being always one step ahead of the others. I loved how at the end of the book, we saw him weakened and fragile thanks to Tori !

Story :

Here’s the magic system :

Corporeal ordersMaterial orders
Medici : the healersConjuri : the manipulators of matter
Regenero : the regeneratorsFieri : the manipulators of fire
Cerebro : the mentalistsLumeni : the manipulators of light
Metamorphi : the shapeshiftersSonora : the manipulators of sound
Enduro : the ultra-swift

I would say the worldbuilding was my favourite part of the book. To summarise it in a few sentences, magic has been forbidden by the previous Chancellors and most magic-wielders have been killed as they tried to put up a fight. When the Chancellor got into power, he created an army of magical creatures called Morphs. They can take the appearance of someone, can turn into a big creature and can also feel magic to track the remaining magic-wielders.

When Tori joins the rebel group to take down the Chancellor, we are taken to the Crooked Teeth where several watchers are waiting for them. Just before reaching that place, they have to cross The Forest of Gen, forest which will use your regrets and your pains to torture you along the way and in your dreams. In a word, we see a lot of places but one of the most interesting was Vlyanii, the capital of the Yan Avii. In the second book, I’d love to get back to this city or better yet to another city !

All in all, The Shadow Watch was a fun read ! The plot moves fast, the characters grow well and we see a lot of different places. The end of the book was particularly interesting. Even if I still have several questions regarding the worldbuilding, the sequels may offer some answers ! The universe created by S.A. Klopfenstein has a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to reading the second book.

Note : 4 sur 5.

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