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Watcher of the Dead: Book Four of Sword of Shadows (edition 2010)

by J. V. Jones

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142284,396 (3.85)6
Member:MLCathi
Title:Watcher of the Dead: Book Four of Sword of Shadows
Authors:J. V. Jones
Info:Tor Books (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 448 pages
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Watcher of the Dead (Sword of Shadows) by J. V. Jones

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This series is complex, with lots of moving parts. Normally I re-read early books before reading the latest in a series, and I strongly recommend doing that here. I wasn't able to, and the provided "What has gone before" summary was limited (and seemed to lose steam half-way through its few pages). You can jump straight in, but it takes a while to remember and re-orient.

Watcher of the Dead is a straightforward continuation of the series. We learn more about our hero Raif, and, separately, his engaging sister Effie. The plot moves forward in fun if not terribly surprising ways. One of the things I enjoy about Jones is her willingness to defy happy-ending expectations and maim or kill key characters, and some of that goes on here.

A few mysteries are revealed, but not very many. This book is primarily about moving the story along. I was disappointed to finally reach the Heart of the Sull, and find it not very different from anywhere else. This was surprising from an author who normally does well in creating murky mystery and revealing excitement. The same is somewhat true for some of Raif's travails. While interesting, it didn't feel like a top rung effort, and there's an element at the end that seemed to come almost out of nowhere.

Nonetheless, this is a very enjoyable sequel, and the overall story is still exciting and fairly fresh. All in all, well worth picking up for readers of the series. Definitely not the place to start if you've not read the prior books. (Though if you haven't, I recommend you do). I haven't seen anything about Ms. Jones' plans, but I anticipate that the next book (or at most the one after) will be the end of the series. Much more than that (without a fresh infusion of energy), and I think the story will have stretched too far. ( )
  BMorrisAllen | May 14, 2013 |
Little new ground is covered in Watcher of the Dead, the fourth installment of the Sword of Shadows series. Ash March is barely mentioned, her character doesn’t even make an appearance until page 232. She is still struggling with feelings of abandonment and trying to gain acceptance from the Sull. Raif Severance has been captured, drugged and tortured by a group of rouge Sull who think to train him into a killing machine that will do only their bidding. However as the Watcher of the Dead, Raif proves to be far more difficult to control then even they could imagine. Veylo Bludd, the Dog Lord is still on the run, planning on how to re-take his own roundhouse from his eldest son. Angus Lok continues his quest to kill the assassin that murdered his family, before he can turn his attention to finding his one remaining daughter. And Bram Cormac takes his first steps into his training with the Phage, where intrigue and information are the most prized positions.

The best parts of the novel is when the story focus’ on Effie Severance or Raina Blackhail. Effie has been captured by the cured clan, Clan Grey and struggles to find out what terrible forces are slowly killing that clan. Meanwhile Raina solidifies her position as the true Hail Chief, driving the Scarpes from the Blackhail House and confronting the Weasel Queen in open battle.

There are still lots of loose ends to be tied up though. Raif is half mad from his treatment by the Sull’s. Ash still hasn’t found her place or realized her true potential. Angus Lok, The Dog Lord and Bram Cormac each have their own struggles and journey’s to make. And Raina must still face her most dangerous adversary, her husband/foster son/rapist, Mace, in her battle to save the soul of Clan Blackhail. Readers can only hope that the next installment will at the least offer more forward momentum to the overall story. ( )
  queencersei | Jun 2, 2011 |
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Book description
In the frigid wasteland of the north, Raif Sevrance, Watcher of the Dead, has endured many trials to lay claim to the renowned sword known as Loss. But the price of wielding the legendary weapon is high, and Raif is unsure if he is willing to pay it. Ash Marsh, Daughter of the Sull, still struggles to come to terms with her heritage, and the knowledge that the Watcher, armed with Loss, could be the one who will save the Sull - or end them. Raina Blackhail, widow of a murdered ruler and wife of his brutal successor, has seen her clan disgraced and has, herself, taken up the mantle of chief. But there are enemies both beyond her gates and within. And in the murky swamps of the Stillwater, two children will learn the secrets of the Marsh clan. Secrets so terrifying they threaten everything ...
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The frozen land at the north of the world was once ruled by a legendary nation of superhuman warriors. But that age has passed, leaving ancient clans to struggle for dominance as supernatural forces beyond their control threaten their very existence. Amid the chaos of this world-changing violence, unlikely heroes emerge: an unwanted warrior, a forsaken woman of power, and the betrayed widow of a slain clan chief.… (more)

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