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Watched by C. J. Lyons


by C. J. Lyons

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Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A raw, gritty, and engrossing story that was almost too dark for me to handle.

Opening Sentence: You don’t know what it feels like to hold a life in your hands, but I do.

The Review:

With today’s technology, there are those who have weaved there way through coding and broke into webcams, capturing moments that can bend people’s lives to their will. These are called cappers, and the things they force people to do for their “clients” are disgusting. Jesse is under the thumb of a ruthless capper he calls King, and for years his has unhesitatingly done what King has asked, no matter how horrible, to protect his mother and little sister. But now King wants something different, something worse than he’s ever had to do before. Jesse doesn’t think he can go through with this new demand . . . but he’s threatening to kill his family.

Miranda was under King’s rule years ago, but she broke lose. This was not without its punishments, however. She was cybersmashed, revealing pictures of her posted all over the internet. King posted a picture of her mother and offered a reward to the first person to rape her and get evidence. They were forced to pick up and leave, trying to move away from his influence, but the damage has been done. Miranda has an all-consuming fear of leaving her apartment and plans to kill herself, soon. Her only hope is to bring King down first, and when she is able to connect with Jesse, she thinks they might have a chance at doing it.

This book was dark. Very, very dark. It never went into explicit detail on the sexual tidbits, but you definitely understood what was going on, and the damage to the character’s psyche was just as horrifying. To add to it, Jesse was a pyromaniac and was obsessed with fires – the one aspect of his life that he could light, quench, control. Then there was Miranda with her suicide plans, and her spiraling depression . . . sometimes, it got to be too much. Even now, sitting down and writing this review, I shiver to think of what went on in this novel.

It was an excellently written book, don’t get me wrong, but I was so affected by the darkness sometimes that I had to set it down. I would go for walks around the neighborhood and point out things that were beautiful, or made me happy, so that I didn’t stay in the horrible depression the characters were in. I had to read it in parts. Usually, a book doesn’t affect me so much like this. Lyons knows how to build tension, that’s for sure.

Both characters were suffering from similar horrors, having seen and done things under the influence of King. I couldn’t really relate to their stories, thankfully, but I still became connected to their characters and felt their emotions along with them. The writing was incredible, the plotline was detailed, and the characters were extremely complex. There was a mystery aspect that I enjoyed as well, as the two teens attempted to pinpoint who was behind the computer screen and torturing them. The tension built the whole novel, until it reached a breathtaking, terrifying climax. I think that fans of thrillers who can handle a raw, gritty novel will enjoy this book.

Notable Scene:

The crowd applauds the firefighters as the blaze surrenders.

They don’t understand what’s really going on inside the fire or the kind of men who run toward an inferno instead of away from it.

They don’t know fire like I do.

They don’t want to.

Lighting a blaze, breathing life into the sparks, watching the flames come alive then die, leaving behind ashes of despair… Every fire I start is a new beginning, a second chance—a way to release the pain and find the courage to go on living.

Without my fires, I would have killed myself long ago.

With my fires, I can imagine hope.

FTC Advisory: Sourcebooks Fire provided me with a copy of Watched. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Oct 7, 2015 |
It's a great story, but the insta-love between the two main characters is so unnecessary. ( )
  ohsillytwigg | Dec 5, 2014 |
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"Jesse seems like a normal sixteen-year-old, but he isn't. He is a victim of King--a ruthless hacker who has been blackmailing Jesse with incriminating screen photos and videos. Terrified and helpless, the answer to Jesse's prayers arrives in the form of a plain manila envelope. Inside there's a phone number and a note: I can help"--… (more)

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