Blog Book Tour | “Watcher” (Book One: The Watcher Series) by AJ Eversley Jorie re-attempts to insert herself into a Dystopian world.

Posted Wednesday, 6 September, 2017 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the Watcher series hosted by iRead Book Tours. I have been trying to find a way to make enroads into Dystopian Lit for a number of years, specifically every year I’ve participated in Sci Fi November, whilst outside of the annual event as well. If anything, I have found my attempts of finding Dystopian stories I can sink my teeth into and appreciate to be a bit hit/miss or false starts. When I read about this series – I thought, it’s labelled a ‘clean YA Dystopian series’ and therefore decided to ‘try once more’ and see if I can alight into a world penned in this genre. I received a complimentary copy of WATCHER direct from the author AJ Eversley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Blog Book Tour | “Watcher” (Book One: The Watcher Series) by AJ Eversley Jorie re-attempts to insert herself into a Dystopian world.Watcher
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

I knew I was not alone. They would never leave until every last one of us was gone." Sawyer Russo has sworn to protect humanity, and as a Watcher she’s done just that. But the Bots and Carbons that took her city are evolving, and they start picking the Watchers off one by one. One last rescue mission will change everything. When someone betrays them, the line between friend and foe is no longer easily drawn. Sawyer made a vow, and she will fulfill it, even if it means ending the person who deceived them, no matter who it might be. It all comes down to one choice... Who can she save? And who does she have to let go?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

ISBN: 9781544240282

on March 2017

Pages: 294

The Watcher Series:

Watcher by AJ EversleyCarbon by AJ Eversley

Converse via: #WatcherSeries, #Dystopian + #CleanReads + #YALit

About AJ Eversley

AJ Eversley

AJ Eversley is the author of the WATCHER series. A true north Canadian girl, AJ currently lives in Central Alberta with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found binge watching Harry Potter, quoting various movies in every day conversation, and eating copious amounts of candy.

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My Review of watcher:

The opening line of this novel reminded me instantly of how intense I felt the apprehension of the opening for the film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within – of how there is this overwhelming sense a certain layer of finality is about to enter into your life, affecting how you deal with your present, clouding your future and perhaps, reflect on your past in a way which you cannot even conceptionalise at the moment because your fully involved in what ‘needs done’ vs what you know is pressing a weight against your soul.

Sawyer is so readily available in the narrative, she reaches out at you – giving you pause for her situation, which you feel is your situation – as it is almost as if there is a teleport in place, aligning you directly into the air and space she’s breathing inside – the descriptions are taut with dramatic effect, but have space for you to insert your own thoughts on what is being described. This novel has breathing space and depth all intermingling with your imagination to give you credence of scope to understand how this world where Sawyer is living isn’t a world you want to visit it’s barely a world you survive as most surely perish.

There is a confidence in the tech being used, too. Not simply added for elemental components – you can tell Eversley put thought into what kind of gear and tech she wanted to include but also, how this would interact with her character(s) whilst how it hinted at the evolution of the world itself – but also, perhaps a hidden harbinger on how this world fell on it’s knees, too. A carry-over from our own reality, perhaps? Where technology and innovation are on the fore-steps of progress but also equally debated for crossing lines we humans ought not to cross to begin with whilst continuing to forge new technologies without much remorse after the debates die down.

As Eversley starts to reveal what separates the Watchers from the Carbons – you start to see how humanity and tech are inter-threaded into the series. The Watchers are the remaining humans and the Carbons are carbon copies of who the humans used to be – or to put it a different way, they are this world’s Borg. She’s even brought up the curious topic of microchips and how this affects everything about our humanity and/or the rise of machines who are centrally controlled through a microsized automated hive. You can sense this, as for all the effort the Watchers put into re-claiming their city, the Bots (the worse of the two entities their hunting) protect the Carbons as if by osmosis in being aware of the Carbons being the prey for the Watchers. It’s a tight chess match where each position is constantly moving and constantly being marked by each enemy in arms – rotating a dance of check and check mate. You have to give credit to the Watchers – for all the odds stacked on their shoulders, they continue to forge ahead – they live by their wits, they dare to accomplish the impossible and what fuells their drive is the memories they have of who they were before this war started. If only they could hold onto those memories before the present chaos overtook them completely and was the only thing they could handle remembering for the tenuous balance they kept could be upturnt at any second.

As we meet Kenzie – the man with a hardened conscience, full of grief for the boy he once was and at odds about the man he had become chose duty over courage. He was living a life he was forced into but even in this small introduction, we can flesh out a small note about how he was once given a hidden clue about his existence and of what was most important – if only the boy had attached more weight to the parting words he had been given, perhaps things could have been different – but that’s asking too much of a child. Torn away from everything comfortable and safe – of having to rely on himself to survive and to find a way to thrive an environment which felt not only alien but unhuman. Even in small passages you can see the war inside a person’s psychological state such as you can with Kenzie.

The way in which Eversley crafted Sawyer to have an attitude of ‘get done what needs done’ attitude sparked memories of watching Starship Troopers (who were up against an enemy which graphically was written too far over the top for me personally) – she didn’t care about the small details, the wounds from her encounters with the Bots or Carbon or even the malfunctioning tech (never given forethought to this being a hint towards a mutation in a Carbon or an adaptive function to outwit the Watchers; as you would as your reading her story) – she’s single focused, blindsided by her own passion and perhaps closed to other possibilities. Time will tell.

In a moment of heroic sacrifice, where Sawyer has to take out one of her own if only to save him from the fate of becoming a Carbon (even here I reminded myself of overtures of the Borg) – Kenzie had an overview of the situation – where you saw two differing perspectives on the same scene and you wondered – which version of the truth is the one which is right? Are the Watchers being misled about why the Carbons are here or are the Carbons in turn influencing Kenzie to carry out their own agenda? Are the Carbons and Bots even the ones who are behind everything that is going on in this war? These are a few of the questions you ask yourself as you read – even though the action sequences and Sawyer’s introspective musings give you enough to chew on as you progress through the novel.

When the plan is finally revealled by a captured Carbon you breathe relief in realising you understood the plot but what is chilling is how the news is delivered to Sawyer and her crew: in such haunting simplicity, the Carbon who gave them the disclosure did not even realise the effect of her words, she was not identifying things from their perspective, only from her own (again, Borg!) and as such, she could not even know how startling horrid her news devastated them!

Where things get more interesting is what draws Kenzie to Sawyer like a moth to a flame. In one instance towards the latter quarter (or so) of the story, I started to see an insert of familiarity and in some ways a welcome explanation for a film I never could fully understand (the Matrix). Despite all the references I’ve been making – they are only minor references in both concept, idea or execution. As for me, I appreciate Eversley style and approach in telling this story far more than I appreciated the other films. In regards to the Borg, however, those were some of my favourite Next Generation episodes because it was exploring a non-traditional enemy similar to AI which was self-governing and self-evolving without human interference. My favourite episode of course was about Hugh – where Picard helped one Borg name himself and see things from ‘outside’ the collective; thereby giving him a slice of humanity he never felt he could feel. In many ways, I think Kenzie is Hugh in this story – he was set on a course he did not choose for reasons he did not fully accept as being right but followed through because it was his path to walk. It’s a complicated arc of story – of making choices in blinks of time, effecting lives outside your own and trying to sort your way through a quagmire of a future which works against every innate instinct of humanity.

On the writing style of AJ eversley:

One thing I appreciate most about how Eversley has approached writing this novel is how she fuses bits and bobbles of what you can conceptionalise against what could be a living reality not too far forward into the future. It’s a unique balance – to insert readers into a world with a Dystopian bent and a world which brings up hard philosophical questions about humanity, the pursuit of living authentically and the greater purpose behind life itself or even the art of survival if things go dangerously wrong.

Eversley has tapped into a niche of Dystopian where you can play with the genre – you can add not only depth of the world through the layers in which we entreat inside it’s boundaries but by how this world is stitched together – from the origins of their beliefs (hinted at) to the constructs of how they believe their rights as sentient beings should be maintained (similar to us) whilst enlarging the scope to have a dual presence of foe against foe – each fighting for the right to be the champion and each not honestly seeing how they could bridge their differences (if that’s even a plausible possibility) as war takes it’s toll. It’s not just the losses of life – it’s the wear and tear on the psyche and on morale of those who are fighting everyday to live one more day towards the ‘end goal’. For the Carbons and the Watchers, they are each moving towards a collision of sorts – at least, from what I can gather – if this debut is the introduction into the Watchers as a collective, than the second novel in the series surely picks up the momentum begun here through the point-of-view of the Carbons; to give a buoyancy between good and evil or what is perceived as good vs evil. It could all be an experiment gone wrong – or rather, an experiment which outgrew it’s purpose and turnt into something else completely.

If anything, there is so much your thinking about – trying to root out Eversley’s motivating inspiration and uncovering what is driving the story forward whilst trying to respect the world and pull back it’s layers to see what is really being set for you to see.

One blessing for me – is how Eversley pulls back the gore and keeps this novel clean. I am thankful to find a novel adverted as a Clean YA read and keeps it’s promise, even if I feel this is more Upper YA than Traditional YA (for younger young adult readers). It roots itself firmly in the genre but hold’s back from delving too far into areas I’d rather than traverse. It has a sophisticated plot but moreso, it exposes well-known literally themes and tries to re-inspire the reader to think about the concepts in a new way of thought.

reading habit:

I’m in an Alternative Rock kind of mood lately which is why this fused the atmosphere behind my readings of WATCHER. The fact my mind was distracted as I read the novel already, the music helped bring me back to the pages and to attach to the story was it evolved. Songs like “Only Human” by Rag ‘n Bone Man, “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, “All the Small Things” by Blink-182 and others in this similar genre fit the character and story so very well! Due to all the lightning storms plaguing me this Summer, I quite literally championed reading this in the knick of my deadline to review – reading it overnight and making sure my review posted in the morning!

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This blog tour is courtesy of: iRead Book Tours

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Reader Interactive Question:

I look forward to hearing your reactions if you’ve read this novel too

and/or if your curiosity had become piqued to read it after reading my own ruminations!

Definitely suggest other Dystopian titles you think I’d enjoy which are outside the box a bit and are not the ones which are suggested over and over as most of those I have taken a pass on reading. Unless you feel there is one I overlooked? I am eager for your recommendations!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Watcher” and “Carbon”, book synopsis, author photograph of AJ Eversley, author biography, and the tour badge were all provided by iRead Book Tours and used with permission. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna  and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 6 September, 2017 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Dystopian, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Parapsychological Gifts, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

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One response to “Blog Book Tour | “Watcher” (Book One: The Watcher Series) by AJ Eversley Jorie re-attempts to insert herself into a Dystopian world.

  1. Thanks so much for the indepth review. You asked all the questions I wanted the reader to have, and even some I didn’t think would be asked until later in the series. The hints of “who’s right and who’s wrong?” Are on point and hopefully by the end of the series the reader will be able to make that decision themselves… ;)

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