The Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)
Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn't question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

The Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) Details

TitleThe Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)
Author
FormatKindle Edition
ReleaseAug 22nd, 2017
PublisherHarmony Ink Press
Number of pages180 pages
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Glbt

The Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) Review

  • Cait (Paper Fury)
    July 20, 2017
    I had pretty high expectations going into this! But yet I...I have quibbles. Which bugs me because everyone else seems to be marrying this book at dawn, and like, mate, that COVER. And that PREMISE. I am so onboard with the premise. And it stars a nonbinary protagonist who is super sweet and also badass (epic combination, let's be real here). Plus if the cover accidentally became, like, a hat...I'd wear it.L I K E S• I really liked Tashi! Even though I'm lowkey bitter about their decisions, but I had pretty high expectations going into this! But yet I...I have quibbles. Which bugs me because everyone else seems to be marrying this book at dawn, and like, mate, that COVER. And that PREMISE. I am so onboard with the premise. And it stars a nonbinary protagonist who is super sweet and also badass (epic combination, let's be real here). Plus if the cover accidentally became, like, a hat...I'd wear it.L I K E S• I really liked Tashi! Even though I'm lowkey bitter about their decisions, but like we'll get to that LATER. I just always love sweet-but-yet-badass characters! And also I thought it was epic how the world wasn't opposed to non-binary people. Like people made mistakes when they met Tashi, but Tashi's friends would be like "no, it's they" and that'd be the end of it. It's actually refreshing to have a fantasy world were the prejudices of OUR world aren't there.• SHAPESHIFTERS ARE FRIKKIN AWESOME. They can like bond with a certain animal, and Tashi has a tiger (BOOM, TITLE REFERENCE) and their friend Pharo has a wolf, and someone else has an elephant. And it just made me realise that I would totally bond to a turtle, because I want to live a hundred years and also sleep a lot.• The world was really interesting! Magic and armies and wars and intrigue! I wish it'd been deeper though???• And there is delicious food. Which is what I'm here for. Always.Dumplings wrapped in gooey pastry, and rice noodles as fine as strands of hair...the scents of orange and plum sauces whispered into my nostrils. Salvia pooled in my mouth.Although I lowkey question these noodles?? Give me a bowl of that and I am guaranteed to show you a choking fit. (Also don't take me anyway. Please.)D I S L I K E S• I didn't quite understand the world...or the point of the plot. Like maybe I just missed it?? Or maybe it was so so thinly talked about it just didn't sink in enough? (WHICH COULD BE MY FAULT.) But why were they all fighting? What was the war about? Why was this boy-commander so keen on killing the shapeshifters? And the book was SO SMOL that it really didn't get started before it was over. 200pgs fantasies...?? Like idk I just feel like we're missing something.• In fact the climax was so non-existent I missed it. The book was just -- BOOM -- over and I was sitting there like a dead cod.• Tashi, while awesome, kind of took a dive when Hot Enemy Commander walks into the room. Look, when a dude is murdering your people, you don't fall in love with them, yeah? And yes there's a love triangle. Wherein Tashi genuinely loves one dude (but won't tell him) and just wants to have sex with the other. I didn't bathe in enough coffee to handle this. Not to mention the commander only has to batter his eyelashes and Tashi is all (view spoiler)["sure sir I'll give up the BIGGEST MAGICAL SOURCE IN THE WORLD TO YOU!! I mean why not!! It didn't save my people and only makes our food grow really well which makes us a target!! If we didn't have it we wouldn't be a target!! It's totes cool to starve anyway!!" What. (hide spoiler)] THIS COMMANDER IS A BASTARD AND DELIGHTS IN HURTING PEOPLE AND TASHI IS JUST LIKE "WOW YOU'RE HOT".• Also Tashi is a trained spy but the ONLY reason they get to spy int his book is because they're randomly picked to be the commander's servant. Talk about convenient??• I also can't actually figure out why they WANT to bond with animals. It cuts their lifespan in HALF. Like why would you do that????? Sure they get to have a BFF that's furry and scary, which I admit is a huge draw, and they can see through their eyes when they connect, etc. etc. BUT ME? I WOULD CHOOSE LIFE.ALL IN ALL: Like I said, fantastic premise. It totally excited me and the details in the description made the world POP! Sparse but good description is life, okay. And I definitely wanted to know more which seems like I'm going to need the sequel (i see it's by Pharo's perspective?! AWESOME). The romance just kind of made me run screaming into the hills and I doooon't understand Tashi's actions at the end.However I would like noodles and plum sauce. Feel free to send.
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  • Julia Ember
    February 20, 2016
    I am the author! This is my second novel (that I wrote, but it won't be the second one published!) and the start of a series that is extremely close to my heart. The Tiger's Watch started out as a seed of an idea while I was in a hot air balloon floating over Bagan, Myanmar, at Christmas with my family. It is a much darker type of fantasy than Unicorn Tracks and writing a trilogy has presented completely new challenges. This book is a bit of a feast of queer ... In this book, two of the MCs are I am the author! This is my second novel (that I wrote, but it won't be the second one published!) and the start of a series that is extremely close to my heart. The Tiger's Watch started out as a seed of an idea while I was in a hot air balloon floating over Bagan, Myanmar, at Christmas with my family. It is a much darker type of fantasy than Unicorn Tracks and writing a trilogy has presented completely new challenges. This book is a bit of a feast of queer ... In this book, two of the MCs are bisexual and the third is pansexual. Series pairings include gq/m, m/m as well as f/f in book 2. I've had some questions about Tashi's pronoun use. Tashi is nonbinary. Tashi is really adamant about being seen as a person without any of the expectations of gender. They don't want to feel bound to a series of expectations and want to express themself according to how they feel at the moment. I can't wait to start sharing Tashi and Xian's world with all of you next year!
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  • Silvia ⚓
    July 31, 2017
    BR with Lorenzo il Magnifico and this crossover person between Inej Ghafa and Santa Elena ♡ ___Genderfluid protagonist! In a fantasy novel!!*begins quest to get an ARC*I got the ARC 😎
  • The Bookavid
    June 27, 2016
    GENDERFLUID PROTAGONISTI NEED THIS IN MY LIFE
  • Avery (Book Deviant)
    July 12, 2016
    See more of my reviews on my blog the Book DeviantI would like to thank Julia Ember and Harmony Ink Press for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.Be prepared for this review, because it’s basically just going to be a ton of gushing for the story and Julia.I have to admit that I had high expectations for this one ever since I heard about it, which was around the time that I had read Unicorn Tracks. In absolutely no ways did this one disappoint. In fact, it blew me away See more of my reviews on my blog the Book DeviantI would like to thank Julia Ember and Harmony Ink Press for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.Be prepared for this review, because it’s basically just going to be a ton of gushing for the story and Julia.I have to admit that I had high expectations for this one ever since I heard about it, which was around the time that I had read Unicorn Tracks. In absolutely no ways did this one disappoint. In fact, it blew me away. The Tiger’s Watch was everything I was hoping for, with a genderfluid protagonist, found families, slowburn romance, and badass magic. And that’s not even going into Julia’s writing, which was beautiful.The idea of the inhabitors was really interesting, and I loved everything about them. Julia would add small pieces of lore about the inhabitors or the setting, but they were never info-dumps. She included the information as apart of the story, and not something that needs to explain everything all at once to make sure someone understands the story. Julia is a master at not only crafting a world that seems real, but also characters that will wiggle their way into your heart no matter how despicable they are. I immediately fell in love with Tashi, Pharo, Xian, and even old Ugyen. And don’t even get me started on Katala!The writing was perfect for the story. It was simple and, yet, so so so beautiful. Having read all three of Julia’s books, I love and am amazed at how developed it is.ALSO (I can’t believe I nearly forgot this) I LOVED the talk about consent and ‘ownership’. Tashi was so FIRM about what they needed and wanted, and it was so refreshing and I loved it.I love how Tashi’s genderfluidity was displayed. There were mulitple times when Tashi says that they were in a more feminine mood, and would rather wear a dress, or a masculine mood and liked the square cut of the military uniform. While Tashi was misgendered a few times, they were always defended and the person corrected themself. Julia isn’t genderfluid herself, but I am very impressed and grateful for her recent dedication to non-binary representation.Considering people have said this for another novel with a genderfluid protagonist, I have to say this. Tashi’s genderfluidity had absolutely nothing to do with the plot, and it’s never explained or anything. And I loved it. I reveled in it. Because they aren’t genderfluid to ‘teach’ people about it, no. Tashi is genderfluid because that’s who they are. Someone’s gender doesn’t have to play a role in a novel because it’s different, because we [non-binary people] don’t exist to educate.five stars - Overall?This, in all honesty, is probably my favorite book of Julia’s. Genderfluid protagonist. Big cats. Badass magic. Queer characters. People of color. Questionable choices!!And then there’s also the honesty behind the genderfluidity, the amazing writing, and infuriating (yet lovable) characters.Would I Recommend?Yes. I don’t think I could not recommend this book. Only if you’re uncomfortable with any of the triggers listed below, than I would highly, HIGHLY, recommend this book to anyone and everyone. And everyone’s best friends.Trigger warning for misgendering, violence, moderate gore, abuse, and animals in a war situation.
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  • Laura (bbliophile)
    July 25, 2017
    AMAZING. I loved this book so much I don't even know what to say. My review is going to be a mess, that's for sure.
  • Elise (thebookishactress on wordpress)
    March 11, 2017
    there's a nonbinary protag!! In fantasy!! also look at this COVERdiv17: nonbinary MC
  • Jennymort ☆The Dark Lord, House of Slytheread★
    August 3, 2017
    **in exchange for an honest review**Let us see how this one goes. Though I won't get around to it till probably next week.
  • Morgan Blanch
    December 20, 2016
    Hi guys. This book has a genderfluid protagonist. And it's a fantasy. Okay, that's all. Bye.
  • Mihlean
    July 29, 2017
    I received a digital copy of this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and voluntary reviewRating: 4,5 stars!I'm! Screaming! This was so cool?The world building was impeccable. Julia Ember's writing immediately hooked me from the start. The Tiger's Watch is obviously a fantasy book, which usually requires a helluva world building and info about how this particular world works, what makes it tick. In this book, this is done extremely well despite its shortness. We never get overwhelmed wi I received a digital copy of this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and voluntary reviewRating: 4,5 stars!I'm! Screaming! This was so cool?The world building was impeccable. Julia Ember's writing immediately hooked me from the start. The Tiger's Watch is obviously a fantasy book, which usually requires a helluva world building and info about how this particular world works, what makes it tick. In this book, this is done extremely well despite its shortness. We never get overwhelmed with information but we're never left confused either.The plot is also just so cool? The magic involved, and the whole concept of inhabitors, it was so unique and epic and it was awesomely worked out.And don't even get me started on the characters, holy hell. Each one of them were complex - though not always morally right, you couldn't help but care for them and sympathise - and so well written. On the last note, I want to talk about our protagonist, Tashi. As probably almost everyone already knows, Tashi is a genderfluid character. I'm not, so I can't say if it's an accurate representation but what I do want to say is that I loved how no one saw Tashi differently or anything in a negative way. When Tashi got referred to with the wrong pronouns, there was always someone to correct the person and from then on, that person would actually use the right ones without any explanation needed and I freaking loved that. Most importantly I think, was that Tashi's genderfluidity (is that an actual word?) did NOT change anything in the story. Because yes, the protagonist is non-binary, so what?So yes, The Tiger's Watch is DEFINITELY a book you should read if you love a good fantasy book about magic and animals with great characters and a unique world, and hell yes am I looking forward to the sequel.
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  • Louise
    July 19, 2017
    The Tiger's Watch is another great novella from Julia Ember. I've loved all of her stories -- there's always something new and original. The plot and premise of The Tiger's Watch is really different and the isolated monastery setting really adds something to the story. My absolute favourite thing was the characters. Pharo is brave and kind and I completely saw why Tashi loved him. Xian was more complicated. He's charming but unpredictable, vicious and vulnerable. He's not as obvious a love-inter The Tiger's Watch is another great novella from Julia Ember. I've loved all of her stories -- there's always something new and original. The plot and premise of The Tiger's Watch is really different and the isolated monastery setting really adds something to the story. My absolute favourite thing was the characters. Pharo is brave and kind and I completely saw why Tashi loved him. Xian was more complicated. He's charming but unpredictable, vicious and vulnerable. He's not as obvious a love-interest but the love-hate chemistry between him and Tashi was really interesting.I loved Tashi as a character. They're trying to do the right thing, but they're definitely not perfect. I loved that there's an acceptance that not all protagonists, or characters, need to be 'strong' to be well-rounded. Tashi realises that Katala chose to bond with them not because they have some secret inner strength or ability, but because they're weak. Katala's strength and nerve balance Tashi out, letting them develop their own type of strength. I also really enjoyed that, in the end, there were pros and cons to Tashi's decision. Although their choice was partially motivated by helping all inhabitors, it was also a largely selfish choice and I liked that this didn't paint them as some kind of villain. Note: Tashi is genderqueer and the rep seemed really good. It wasn't treated as something that unusual and once Tashi's preferred pronouns were brought up, all the characters used them properly.Another great and original story from Ember, with an ending that makes me hungry for the sequel.
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  • Olivia
    June 19, 2017
    Julia Ember did it again. This book, though short, was absolutely amazing. I loved the world, the magic, the characters, everything. The idea of inhabitors was unlike anything I'd read before, and I loved Katala with all my heart. I was hooked from the first page all the way through to the end. Tashi, Pharo, and Xian were complex, distinct characters, and I liked them all. I don't ship Tashi without anyone though, at least not at the moment. And that ending!! Omg!! I need the sequel now!! 😍Note: Julia Ember did it again. This book, though short, was absolutely amazing. I loved the world, the magic, the characters, everything. The idea of inhabitors was unlike anything I'd read before, and I loved Katala with all my heart. I was hooked from the first page all the way through to the end. Tashi, Pharo, and Xian were complex, distinct characters, and I liked them all. I don't ship Tashi without anyone though, at least not at the moment. And that ending!! Omg!! I need the sequel now!! 😍Note: Tashi, the main character, is genderfluid. The rep seemed good, but as I don't identify as genderfluid I can't be sure. The other characters used their preferred pronouns, even when they didn't like them. I was glad to see that. Otherwise, I'll try to link reviews by genderfluid people as I find them.Note: Toward the end of the book, there's a scene where they're kissed without consent. It doesn't go beyond that and it's corrected, but I thought I'd bring that up.Thank you to Julia and her publisher for sending me an e-ARC!! This doesn't affect my opinion. This releases on August 22, and I highly recommend you check it out when the time comes. ✨I'M IN THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS!! 🎉(Sorry, this is the first time this has happened and Julia is one of my favorite authors so I'm really excited, haha.)
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  • Melissa Souza
    August 2, 2017
    **Thank you to Harmony Ink Press and Netgalley for sending me an ARC in return for an honest review.2.5 to 3 stars!!!When I had first read the synopsis for this book, I was pretty excited. The concept of the novel really hooked me. However, I'm quite disappointed because the story hasn't really lived up to my expectations. All in all, this book was a rather average read for me with a few key highlights.Firstly, I'd like to applaud the author for creating a genderfluid protagonist. I liked how th **Thank you to Harmony Ink Press and Netgalley for sending me an ARC in return for an honest review.2.5 to 3 stars!!!When I had first read the synopsis for this book, I was pretty excited. The concept of the novel really hooked me. However, I'm quite disappointed because the story hasn't really lived up to my expectations. All in all, this book was a rather average read for me with a few key highlights.Firstly, I'd like to applaud the author for creating a genderfluid protagonist. I liked how the sexual conflict with regards to Tashi's identity was portrayed and how the minor characters easily came to their defense. It was also refreshing to encounter a plot where characters are so accepting of diversity. Unfortunately, that's where it ended for me. In terms of decisions made by the character, I was utterly confused. This was especially in the case of Xian for whom Tashi has feelings for. I was really befuddled with how the MC dealt with someone who is very cold and has hidden motives. As a result, we see the MC making some rather grave mistakes. Decisions which clearly would not have happened had the author made the MC was more fierce and level headed but I didn't get that.Secondly, I enjoyed the idea of characters connected with animals. I thought the magic system in place was very interesting. But there wasn't much information given as to why it existed in the first place. There is no context of history. This makes for very poor plot development. This coupled with a lack of worldbuilding made the story lack richness. For example, the author has set the story in a world ravaged by war, but as a reader, we have no clue as to the reason behind it. This was very disappointing. The book does contain vivid descriptions of how the characters use the animals but it felt very disconnected.Thirdly, the story has some romance thrown it. It's more of a love-triangle. I did like the relationship between Pharo and Tashi. I found the slow burn romance to be engaging and very realistic. On the other hand, Xian as a love interest was cringe-worthy. I was not getting any feels there. It was not at all relatable and I didn't understand why it was introduced in the first place. I guess it was for convenience and plot progression.Overall, as I said the book is very average. I was expecting so much more. I was so excited to read a story based on an Ancient China or that's the feeling I got from the blurb. I don't think I would be reading the sequel as there are a lot of gaps in the plot. The characters also need to be flushed out more. The book had the potential to be great, but it flatlined for me.
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  • Hannah Welch
    August 18, 2016
    AHHHHHH OMG. This book has everything I've ever wanted in life. A genderfluid protagonist. They as a third-person non-gendered pronoun. M/M and F/F pairings, too. Thank you, Ms. Ember. I have been waiting for a book of this caliber to come along for so long!
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  • CR Daylex
    June 26, 2017
    I loved Julia Ember's other books, so when I was offered an advanced review copy of this by the publisher I was so happy! I loved Tashi so much. They were this precious little pacifist forced into being a spy&assassin, connected magically to this wild killer tiger, when all they wanted was to be left alone to build a life with their best friend who they loved. The magic bond between Tashi and Katala was unlike any magical animal book I've ever read. You couldn't exactly call this is a shifte I loved Julia Ember's other books, so when I was offered an advanced review copy of this by the publisher I was so happy! I loved Tashi so much. They were this precious little pacifist forced into being a spy&assassin, connected magically to this wild killer tiger, when all they wanted was to be left alone to build a life with their best friend who they loved. The magic bond between Tashi and Katala was unlike any magical animal book I've ever read. You couldn't exactly call this is a shifter novel because Katala is awake&conscious when Tashi inhabits her body. Usually when this happens the animal is totally passive, but not in this case. In this book, the tiger totally has her own ideas about what they should be doing and kind of drags Tashi along for the ride, not quite kicking and screaming, but pretty much.I am enby so I am always looking for books featuring enby characters. This book is definitely that. The focus of the novel isn't on Tashi's gender but I thought what was on the page was handled well. I especially appreciate that when Tashi has flashbacks to their own childhood or sees a child who reminds them of themself the child is never misgendered. You'd be surprised how many books by cis authors where this happens, that the main character has all these flashbacks of people misgendering their younger self or even misgendering themselves in their thoughts, so I really appreciated that this was handled differently in this book. At the beginning of the book, there is a jerk character who wants Tashi to hide their gender, but everyone else is basically like 'no' ... so that gets addressed. After reading a Neill Gaiman book last where the nb characters were referred to as 'it' I found this depiction refreshing.
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  • Lea (drumsofautumn)
    July 27, 2017
    Review to come!
  • Nina Rossing
    July 27, 2017
    Vivid descriptions and a world painted in rich, delicious detail. Action-filled plot where loyalty, deceit, adrenaline, and emotions are at the core.Ends with a great build-up to the sequel :)
  • Kourtni Roucoulet
    July 31, 2017
    This took me awhile to get into, but I loved it once I actually did get into it. If you like fantasy and/or looking for a genderfluid protagonist, I would absolutely recommend this. Full review to come.Thank you to the publisher and author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Pat Esden
    June 23, 2017
    The Tiger’s Watch was a fantastic, tense read. From the first pages until the last, I was submerged in this novel’s exciting and dark world of intrigue, danger, magic, and romance. I don’t want to spoil the story, but I will say I especially loved the parts where Tashi connected with the tiger—really cool and fun (a bit bloody at times too). Also, a big plus with this novel is the way the author addresses gender and sexuality. It allows the setting and story to feel mythic and at the same time b The Tiger’s Watch was a fantastic, tense read. From the first pages until the last, I was submerged in this novel’s exciting and dark world of intrigue, danger, magic, and romance. I don’t want to spoil the story, but I will say I especially loved the parts where Tashi connected with the tiger—really cool and fun (a bit bloody at times too). Also, a big plus with this novel is the way the author addresses gender and sexuality. It allows the setting and story to feel mythic and at the same time be relatable to a contemporary reader. I can’t wait until the next novel in this fantastic series comes out!
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  • Lucy-May
    June 13, 2017
    I read The Tiger's Watch in one sitting & now I'm sad that I'm going to have to wait months for The Shadow Wolf! This book was an easy read, but was still full of mystery & adventure. As an animal lover I love the idea of Tashi & her connection with Katala - I would LOVE to be bonded to a fox or wolf!! I feel like this book is definitely a steady build up to some huge tension & action in the rest of the series; it definitely feels like I've only read the start of Tashi's story, & I read The Tiger's Watch in one sitting & now I'm sad that I'm going to have to wait months for The Shadow Wolf! This book was an easy read, but was still full of mystery & adventure. As an animal lover I love the idea of Tashi & her connection with Katala - I would LOVE to be bonded to a fox or wolf!! I feel like this book is definitely a steady build up to some huge tension & action in the rest of the series; it definitely feels like I've only read the start of Tashi's story, & that there's a lot more to come. I'm excited to learn more about the characters in the series & how their relationships will pan out. I feel like there may end up being a bit of a love triangle & I'm really hoping that it's not going to be written in a predictable or mushy way. I also think that this world has a lot more to it than we've been shown so far & I look forward to delving deeper into it! I absolutely adore the cover for this book & I will 100% be buying a physical copy when it's released!Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review!You can find my extended review here: https://writingwolves.wordpress.com/2...
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  • Sparky
    July 31, 2017
    “While the capitol burned in a smoky hailstorm of tar and arrows, we escaped by elephant to the Chirang monastery.”So between the summary and the gorgeous cover, I had super high expectations for this book. And, even though I did really enjoy some parts of it, others left things to be desired. Maybe it’s partially because I’m used to reading books that are at least 300 pages and this doesn’t even reach 200, but I feel that a lot of different parts of the book could have been developed a lot bett “While the capitol burned in a smoky hailstorm of tar and arrows, we escaped by elephant to the Chirang monastery.”So between the summary and the gorgeous cover, I had super high expectations for this book. And, even though I did really enjoy some parts of it, others left things to be desired. Maybe it’s partially because I’m used to reading books that are at least 300 pages and this doesn’t even reach 200, but I feel that a lot of different parts of the book could have been developed a lot better. But I’d definitely recommend it to people, especially those looking for a quick read. Also, I want that cover as a poster.PROS:-Tashi. Oh my gosh, Tashi. Can I just say I absolutely love them? They aren’t the typical protagonist, really. (view spoiler)[While they are in a very minor way a Chosen One, this isn’t really something that is a big deal and isn’t even really addressed until near the end. (hide spoiler)] But man, they are super well rounded and have a ton of flaws. They’re very weak and have a lot of issues with their self-confidence, but at the same time they were capable of standing up for themselves. I adore how much they push back against being seen as property or anything like that. Also, their bond with Katala is the relationship that I got the most out of, rather than their relationships with Xian or Pharo. (view spoiler)[It’s revealed near the end of the book that Katala chose Tashi because they were weak and she wanted to protect them and help them become stronger, which I just love. (hide spoiler)]-Tashi’s gender. It isn’t made to be a big deal, which is a great way to deal with it in my opinion. Once told that they go by gender neutral pronouns, every single other character refers to them that way with no real hesitance. No one insists on referring to them as a boy instead. Tashi sometimes feels more feminine and other times more masculine, and I think this is dealt with really well, just by mentioning things like how one day they don’t really care for the masculine fitted shirt and on another day they definitely prefer it. (view spoiler)[ Also, it’s revealed pretty early in the story that Tashi came out as genderqueer when they were eight and most people accepted it pretty quickly. And Pharo helped them with those who didn’t accept them right away. (hide spoiler)] And no one ever said “but you have to be a boy or a girl” or anything like that. So I really liked that, and I feel that anyone who wonders about genderqueer people could get an insight into what it is like for some through Tashi. The fact that Tashi is genderqueer has basically no bearing on the plot and is just a part of who they are and isn’t really explained, just portrayed, which is fantastic.-The writing. Or at least parts of it. I especially loved descriptions that served more to set a mood or tone for the scene, such as the first line of the book. Or basically any time that Tashi went into Katala’s body. Those were great and sometimes felt kinda poetic.-The premise and world have a ton of promise. Seriously, go and read that summary again and tell me it doesn’t sound amazing. However, there were also some problems here, which brings me to…CONS:-You get dropped right in. This isn’t something that’s automatically a bad thing, and in many books is actually a positive, however I can’t say that is the case here. In fact, it feels like the first hundred pages or so were edited out. It took about half the book for me to get oriented in the world, and even then there were tons of things that I just didn’t understand. I feel like a lot of those issues could have been solved by starting at the academy, whether before the siege or during it, in order to build things up a bit more and allow readers to understand what the heck is going on a bit better. Or at least what the heck the purpose of inhabitors are and why they even exist, because I seriously don’t really get that. Or how 90% of this world works.-The language. Most of the time, I really loved the way that this book was written. I felt that even though I understood very little of how everything worked, I could still get sucked into the world. However, occasionally some things would completely break my suspension of disbelief and it would take almost an entire chapter to get my head back into things. Most of the time, the thing that did it was the cursing. I’m not the type of person who typically has a problem with cursing, but in this case it just did not blend with the world I was picturing. Especially when the first time it happened, a character was saying “Oh for fuck’s sake” which just feels waaaaaaay to modern and disjointed with the rest of the book. It only happened a few times, thankfully, but still. This book could have accomplished the exact same thing without any cursing, so why have it at all? It’s not like the only time it’s used is because of extreme emotions or anything like that. So just why?-The romance(s). I felt no chemistry between either of the two love interests and Tashi. In fact, I felt more chemistry between Tashi and Katala. (view spoiler)[Xian never really struck me as someone who Tashi had any reason to be attracted to, especially given the fact that his country just took over and basically destroyed theirs. Pharo was nice, but, throughout the entire book, I got more of a platonic vibe from their relationship than anything romantic or sexual. Also, back to what I said about things breaking my suspension of disbelief, but that sex scene felt super out of place. (hide spoiler)]-I didn’t care about most of the characters. Really, besides Tashi and Katala, I couldn’t care less about anyone in this book. Pharo? Nope. Xian? Heck no. Ugyen? I’m not even sure if I remembered his name correctly that’s how little I care about him. And it’s kinda sad, cos I feel like this problem is one that could have been solved easily if the book was longer by about 100 pages so that the author had more time to develop characters and show rather than tell us about them.-The world building. There are so many intriguing concepts that get brought up, but none of them get developed. At all. I have no idea what this world is really like, how things really work, or anything like that. Again, another 100 pages could have allowed for this to be developed a lot more.-The climax. Was there even a climax? I’m seriously not sure. I never felt like there was. There was one moment that might have been it, but it didn’t feel like a climax. I just felt no tension or emotional release or anything like that. So…?Like I said, this is a book I did enjoy, despite all of the problems I had with it. While I will be continuing the series, I do hope that the author manages to improve on some of the things I had issues with. Or just made her books a bit longer to give her the chance to improve on those things. (view spoiler)[“The connection was weak, but somewhere, deep inside my gut, I felt Katala’s roar.” (hide spoiler)]I would like to thank Julia Ember and Harmony Ink Press for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Andrew
    November 13, 2016
    That cover though O.OI need this so much-
  • Emma
    July 26, 2017
    First of all, I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I'd been looking forward to it for quite a while – I mean, a fantasy YA novella with a genderfluid protagonist! What a great combination of things! And yet, by the time I was halfway through, I was convinced that giving it 3 stars would be exceedingly generous, and that I wouldn't be continuing the series. At t First of all, I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I'd been looking forward to it for quite a while – I mean, a fantasy YA novella with a genderfluid protagonist! What a great combination of things! And yet, by the time I was halfway through, I was convinced that giving it 3 stars would be exceedingly generous, and that I wouldn't be continuing the series. At that point, everything about the story was falling flat for me: the characters felt two-dimensional; the supposed "love interest" was downright unpleasant and Tashi's feelings for him seemed completely absurd; despite the intriguing concept there seemed to be gaping holes in the worldbuilding; the plot lacked drive, and even the writing style seemed awfully clunky in places.Happily, things improved significantly in the second half of the book. The pace picked up, the plot got more interesting, the writing style started to sound a bit more natural, and crucially, the apparent holes in the worldbuilding were mostly revealed to simply be gaps in the protagonist's knowledge, and as more pieces of the puzzle fell into place, and the background of the inhabitors was revealed, I was drawn further and further into the story. By the end, I was very curious about what might happen next, and the 3 stars I'm giving the book feel fully deserved.However, I would still say that most of the characters in this book felt quite two-dimensional, due to that age-old problem of "telling vs showing". While there were two moments when I did feel like I'd been given a massive insight into Tashi's character – one at the very start of the novel, and one at the very end, curiously enough – for the most part, it felt like Ember was more interested in telling readers about the characters, rather than showing us what they're like, which is one of the surest ways of getting me to knock a star or two off my rating. Tashi did get a fair bit of character development, but all the other characters still felt fairly paper-thin at the end of the novel, so that's definitely something that I'd like to see the author work on.Finally, I'd just like to mention the fact that it was really refreshing to read a fantasy book with a genderfluid protagonist, and I thought that it was brought into the story very naturally – by which I mean that it was never shunted to the side, nor focused on obsessively. Being genderfluid is a part of Tashi, and influences their life in a very real way, but their personality is never reduced to that single facet. I'm so glad that this kind of representation is finally starting to become a bit more common across all genres of literature, even if we still have a long way to go!In short, I would say that this was a fun read, and I'd like to delve deeper into the magic system of this world, but the characterisation really leaves a lot to be desired.
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  • Yaiza
    July 28, 2017
    ME HA ENCANTADO mandad ayuda 😱😱😱 Tiene personajes super complejos y el worldbuilding es muy guay, además que nunca había leido un libro donde la magia se basase en la conexión de la persona con un animal. El argumento tiene algunos momentos que son un poco confusos pero la narración es perfecta y te engancha desde el principio.
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  • Hiba Sajid
    July 30, 2017
    "The animal sees something in you that draws them, but as you bond,the thing that makes you successful as a pair may be something else entirely. Balance. At all times balance within yourself. Do not focus in on that one trait." I am having very hard time gathering my feelings for this book. You see, it has every thing that I like about a Young adult fantasy book : interesting plot, great setting, complex characters. But then there were so many things missing that stopped me from enjoying the "The animal sees something in you that draws them, but as you bond,the thing that makes you successful as a pair may be something else entirely. Balance. At all times balance within yourself. Do not focus in on that one trait." I am having very hard time gathering my feelings for this book. You see, it has every thing that I like about a Young adult fantasy book : interesting plot, great setting, complex characters. But then there were so many things missing that stopped me from enjoying the book to the fullest. I really wished that it was a full length novel instead of a novella because there were so many interesting things that were left unexplored and underdeveloped.God, where do I start? Okay let's talk about the world building first. According to the writer, the setting of the story is inspired by Bhutan-a small country situated in the heart of Himalayan mountains. The story took place in Thim, which is a beautiful country with lush green scenery and sparse population. I absolutely loved the concept of inhibitors. The inhibitors were soldiers who spies and hunts, bonded with an animal and if the human or the animal they are bonded with dies, the other succumbs into deep sleep never to be woken again. I loved how bond and love between animal and human was potrayed. The animals were not described as slaves of inhibitors but rather seperate beings that were meant to be respected and loved. But I wanted to know more about the process of how these soldiers become inhibitors? There were few mention of spells and inhibitors meeting the animals but other than that there was nothing else. Towards the end of the book, many other apparent holes in world building were simply revealed to be protaganist's lack of knowledge. Pretty conveniant though. Other than the magic system, we didn't get to know anything about Thim. For example, who were their rulers? What happened to them? Who was leading the armies of Thim against Myeik? Most of the story took place in a monastery but we didn't get to know anything about their religion at all.Now the plot. The country of Thim was invaded by Myeiks and the capital had fallen. Tashi,along with their friend Pharo, flees to a monastery to hide and both disguised as novice monks. When invaders turned the monastery into a hospital, Tashi was chosen by Xian,the commander of Myeik, as his servant. So Tashi got a golden opportunity to spy on Xian and (suprise suprise) soon discovered that there is more depth to him then his ruthless facade. Well tbh he is a bigger asshole and nothing else. For a book that promised invaders,war and soldiers that controls animals, you'd imagine lots of action and fighting scenes. Unfortunately, there were none of them in The tiger's watch. Honestly, the plot was barely there in the first half of the book. It was just Tashi oggling Xian and trying to figure out their feelings.The story picked up during the second half as more secrets were revealed and Tashi discovered that the fate of Thim might rest on their shoulders. Tashi was supposed to make some hard decisions. I felt that second half of the book was extremely emotional because Tashi was forced to face some harsh truths.Characters : I liked Tashi most of the time. They were kind,sweet but still badass in a way that they were ready to face some harsh truth that others blindly ignored. Sure they were not exactly the bravest and the strongest, but I think that is what made their personality interesting. Tashi was an inhibitor and they were bonded to magnificant orange tiger named Katala. Also,I loved how their gender was handled. Tashi was gender-fluid and was very confident in their gender. I liked how the world Ember created was clean of prejudices like that of our world. If someone mistook Tashi for a boy then they would politely tell them 'it's they' and everyone would be cool with it. Simple.But Tashi made some extremely stupid decisions too. For one, their attraction toward the commander was almost laughable seriously. It doesn't even made any sense. I mean one moment they'd be like commander is a son of a bitch and another moment: oh I want them. Also,the decisions they made towards the end of the book really made me want to bang my head against a wall. I kind of understand why they made those decisions but I felt as if the author didn't spent enough time convincing the reader why they made those decisions.Romance: There is a love triangle but it is not annoying and doesn't take the whole story. Tashi is actually in love with Pharo who is kind, sweet and happens to be Tashi's best friend. As for the second love interest,the commander, Xian, he is every bit voilent and malicious and Tashi only feels lust for him. And honestly, I didn't understand why Tashi felt even lust for them. I liked the relationship between Pharo and Tashi, it was very interesting and I was rooting for them. But Tashi's infatuation with Xian was completely random and unnecessary.So in conclusion, I'd say that it is an interesting book with a fantastic premise and if you can ignore all the problems mentioned above, you can enjoy this book more than me. I'll still pick up the next book because I'm interested where the story goes and also it has a different protaganist. I really hope Tashi fix up all their mistakes in the next book please.*fingers crossed****I recieved an arc from the publisher via netgalley in exchange of an honest review.***
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  • Meredith
    November 4, 2016
    GENDERFLUID MAIN CHARACTER IN A FANTASY BOOK WITH AN INTIMATE BOND WITH AN ANIMAL. IT'S LIKE THIS BOOK WAS MADE FOR ME. EXCUSE ME WHILE I SCREAM INTO THE ABYSS.
  • Jessica
    February 20, 2016
    Love ♡ Review to come closer to release date.
  • Liana
    July 27, 2017
    Actual rating: 3.5 stars Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable s Actual rating: 3.5 stars Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi. The Tiger’s Watch is a very unique and very interesting book. I have to begin by mentioning the thing that first drew me into the book: It has a genderfluid protagonist. This is, sadly, my first time encountering a genderfluid protagonist in a book; and I was ecstatic when I found out. I loved how the author handled Tashi’s gender identity; how accepting everyone was of it, and how quick they were to correct other characters that used the wrong pronouns. That’s fantasy done right: choosing what is and what is accepted in your world and acting accordingly.On top of that I felt like Tashi was a very realistic character. Sure, they were not very original – personality wise. They were not the bravest, nor the strongest, they were a bit of the underdog/the chosen one. Nothing that we haven’t seen before in YA fantasy, but it didn’t really bother me, because I could understand Tashi. Their decisions, their thoughts, their fears, their feelings, they all made sense and resonated with me. Did I disagree with some of their decisions? Sure, but I could still see where they were coming from.I also enjoyed the magical elements of the book, but I wish they were explored a bit more. In fact, a lot more. Perhaps it is because the book is only 180 pages long, but I felt like the world and the magic system were a bit underdeveloped. I would like some additional history on the regions, some extra pieces of information, just so that I can see the entire picture and better understand the characters, their motives, and allegiances. Also, there was a love triangle, one that I found completely unnecessary, but -thankfully- the storyline didn’t focus too much on that.Overall, The Tiger’s Watch is a fairly enjoyable, albeit short, book and I can’t wait to read its sequel! **An ARC was provided via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review**
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  • Emily
    July 23, 2017
    *I was sent an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*I was really excited for this book, so when I saw that it was available for request on NetGalley, I jumped a the chance to get an ARC of it!All in all this book did not disappoint me or let me down! I loved Tasha as a main character, and I really enjoyed how when got to see someone who isn’t as physically strong and brutal in the main role of a fantasy novel. Tashi was a very refreshing character who’s point of *I was sent an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*I was really excited for this book, so when I saw that it was available for request on NetGalley, I jumped a the chance to get an ARC of it!All in all this book did not disappoint me or let me down! I loved Tasha as a main character, and I really enjoyed how when got to see someone who isn’t as physically strong and brutal in the main role of a fantasy novel. Tashi was a very refreshing character who’s point of view I loved reading from, and I can’t wait to read more of their journey in the net book!I did feel like there were a few points in the plot that I had to push myself through, though there were only a few times this happened, and the plot often picked up right after.I also enjoyed the bond between Tashi and Katala, and how well the two complemented each other. The backstory of how Katala came to choose Tashi and the scenes between them and Katala were some of my favourite moments of the book.There’s also what looks to be the beginning of a love triangle in this novel/series, which I have to admit, I’m not really a fan of. I think that one off the love interests is pushing the envelope of ‘dark and broody’ and is more ‘kind of sadistic and will do whatever to get what they want’ which are traits that appear in books, but I didn’t really see this character–at least in my opinion–doing anything to redeem themselves. The other love interest however, is caring, on the good side, and just generally cares for the well being of Tashi.Maybe i’m just biased and I just want Tashi to end up happy (and preferably with my fave love interest) but oh well:)I really enjoyed this book, and I cannot wait for you all to get a chance to read it when it comes out! I hope you all enjoyed this review:) Stay safe and have an amazing day!
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  • Cherise (mermaidschasing)
    July 29, 2017
    The plot of this book is beautiful. There wasn’t a slow moment in the whole book. You know someone is wrapped up in a story that the sun sets and they don’t notice their reading in the dark until someone points it out to them. Which happened to me with the last half of the book. I was just completely wrapped up in this story. I honestly can’t wait for the second book and need to know what happens. I’ve read good books this year, but not one that wraps me up so completely as this book had without The plot of this book is beautiful. There wasn’t a slow moment in the whole book. You know someone is wrapped up in a story that the sun sets and they don’t notice their reading in the dark until someone points it out to them. Which happened to me with the last half of the book. I was just completely wrapped up in this story. I honestly can’t wait for the second book and need to know what happens. I’ve read good books this year, but not one that wraps me up so completely as this book had without me feeling bored at least in one or two parts of it.The writing itself was well done. I saw everything clearly in my mind and it was simply beautifully done. The only thing I had a small problem with was the fact a queer character died to advance the plot and the character of Tashi. I don’t know if it can be considered a ‘bury your gays’ situation because its complicated from the start because as soon as we start the book we know this character will die. All of the inhabitors know they will die young. It’s part of the balance I mentioned before.(Full Review on My Blog)
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