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The Watchers by Jon Steele

The Watchers (edition 2012)

by Jon Steele

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1351888,991 (3.68)6
Title:The Watchers
Authors:Jon Steele
Info:Blue Rider Press (2012), Hardcover, 592 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:angels, Switzerland

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The Watchers by Jon Steele




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Narration is in the third person via Marc Rochat, Katherine Taylor and Jay Harper. The first book in a trilogy but could be stand alone. The sequels are Angel City and The Way of Sorrows.

The Watchers immediately grabbed my interest with the opening prologue which is set during the First World War. It is so beautifully written creating an haunting, ethereal atmosphere to the start of the novel. I wondered, once into the main story, where this fitted in and connected with the main characters. It was not until I finished the book that I understood and re-read the prologue which then had another meaning and was just as magical.

The Watchers main story shifts to present day Switzerland. The first 200-300 pages were spent introducing the main characters, Mark with an intended Quasimodo similarity; Katherine, an intensely dislikable character to begin with, a tart with a heart; and Jay the 'detectiveman' who has no memory of how he arrived in Switzerland, only that he remembers waking up and accepting a job, he cannot refuse, working for the IOC.

Unfortunately I very nearly gave up reading at this point. I really couldn't see where it was going and was becoming irritated at nothing happening. Then ***BAMM*** did it start ! I was on a roller coaster ride from there on in. I really could not put the book down. This is not to say that I believe there should be editing here, as once into the meaty part of the story I realised that I'd gained a depth and wealth of knowledge about the character's personalities and psyches, enough to make me care too much to give up on them.

I grew to love the main characters and one, Katherine in particular annoyed me immensely to begin with but as her character developed I became accustomed to her personality and came to like her a great deal.

Mark, a charming child like 21 year old with a limp, is the guardian of Lausanne Cathedral. He lives in an imaginary world watching over the city, waiting or the Angel that his mother said would come to him for help. Mark believes that Katherine is that Angel.

Jay, my favourite, was an intreaging character. A loner, or man with a mission, a man who likes a drink, with a dry sense of humour and acerbic quip. Who is he ? Where did he come from? Where is he going ? I looked forward to finding the answers.

Mystery, crime/detective noir, sci fi elements, magical fantasy ... I really couldn't categorise this one with any one label as it delves into many genres. Once the supernatural element finally reveals itself however, all the mystery and intrigue was over and I felt a little flat. The surprise was over and I wondered if I would lose interest. It just didn't feel that I was reading the same novel and that it had drifted off into a totally different field. Think Matrix, Dan Brown and Jason Bourne with the battle against good and evil. A little over the top from what had come before. Again though, I kept 'with it' because I had faith in the author by now, and it righted itself. I guess there's more explanation and character development to come in the sequels.

Even with the slight disappointment, Jon Steele is an amazing writer creating an intreaging, atmospheric and magical world with characters I cared, and enjoyed, reading about.

I look forward to reading 'Angel City' very soon.

Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to review 'The Watchers'. ( )
  sj2b | Jun 27, 2013 |
Finally got round to finishing this. I received permission to read it free from NetGalley, just so you know.

I got quite mesmerised by it to begin with: there's something about the slow deliberate pace at the beginning of the book that can draw you in. The mystery is slow to get kick-started, though, and I almost didn't have the patience to wait around for things to happen. The pacing is really just... not quite right.

The choice of protagonists is interesting: it's good to see a protagonist with disabilities, for example. But somehow the characters didn't stand out to me as much as I could wish. I hear this book is the first of a series, but I don't think the sequels are for me. There's some good writing, but the book as a whole got in the way of itself for me. (It doesn't help that I had to read it with tiny, tiny font thanks to the only format NetGalley would let me download it in.) ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Almost like two different books, a halfway-hard-boiled mystery that turns into a fantasy novel at the end. I don't know that switch worked for me, but I did find the story surprisingly affecting. The character of Marc Rochat really is something. Plus, the story's set in Lausanne, Switzerland. I love Switzerland. ( )
  jeremyfarnumlane | Apr 3, 2013 |
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl as Damsel in Distress. ( )
  picardyrose | Mar 6, 2013 |
A well written noir featuring angels, an apocryphal gospel and a struggle for the future of humankind – what could be better! This is a well written tale with strong characters caught up in a fascinating, and often dark, plot where the line between good and evil is not always clear. It doesn’t rely on fast pace but instead, draws you in and holds you with quality storytelling. One of my favourite reads in recent years. ( )
  thejohnsmith | Feb 16, 2013 |
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Memory-challenged British private detective Jay Harper investigates a series of murders that may be the handiwork of a gang of international killers.

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