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"The Shadow Watch (The Watcher Epic Book 1)" by S.A. Klopfenstein

Author: S.A. Klopfenstein

Narrator: Stacey Krejci

Length: 12 hours 25 minutes

Publisher: S.A. Klopfenstein⎮2020

Genre: Fantasy; Young Adult

Series: The Watcher Epic, Book 1

Release date: Jan. 22, 2020

Winner of the 2017 Ink and Insights contest.

In a world where sorcerers are hunted to extinction...

One girl defies a cruel empire.

Slave girl Tori Burodai never wanted to be the Gallows Girl. She never wanted to be looked to as a savior or a revolutionary. But then again, she never knew she was one of the last living Watchers.

Long ago, the sacred order of sorcerers was a force for justice in the world. Now, their magic survives only in myth.

That is, until Tori reveals incredible magic power in a desperate attempt to save the boy she loves from a cruel fate.

This act of sorcerous rebellion changes Tori’s future forever. Her defiance sparks the makings of a magic revolution that promises to restore the world to its former glory, under the guidance of a new army of sorcerers, the Shadow Watch.

But the ruler of Tori’s world has his own dark plans for magic, and he will stop at nothing to end this revolution and bend the Watchers to his will.

Even if it means pitting brother against brother. Friend against friend. And Tori against the boy she loves.

All must choose. But no matter the choice. The world will never be the same. For there can be no magic without monsters.

If you love exhilarating worlds, epic revolutions, and morally complex characters, then you will instantly love this sweeping teen fantasy series that readers/listeners are comparing to Mistborn and Throne of Glass.

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by S.A. Klopfenstein. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

At first, this felt a little "Hunger Games" but as the story progressed, it developed a unique life of its own. I found myself both intrigued and curious about the world and motivations of the characters. There were a few things that kept this from being a 5 star review, but the overall experience was positive.

While Mr. Klonfenstein got a number of things right in this story (blossoming love, interesting characters, forbidden magic tearing a world apart), I found myself wishing his writing of said things had been more compelling. His world is unique, and we’re introduced to some interesting characters (I liked Tori from the jump), but it took FOREVER for anything to happen. Characters dithered and exposition dragged on with little impact for a good chunk of the first half, but ultimately the build-up is worth it. We’re left with enough questions to make book 2 a temptation.

The narrator is what kept me engaged in the story when the plot slowed down or nothing really seemed to be happening. Mr. Krejci was a fine choice here. He differentiated characters without being overly dramatic or sounding forced, and both his tone and pace were appropriate for the story. Some male narrators struggle to conviningly and immersively perform female characters, but that was not the case here at all. If the author plans to turn the rest of the series into audiobooks, I hope he sticks with this narrator!

Bottom line: Overall, this was a good listen once the action picked up. If you like a good, unique fantasy and don’t mind having to wait a bit for it to get going, I’d recommend “Shadow Watch”.

S.A. Klopfenstein grew up on a steady dose of Tolkien and Star Wars. As a child, he wrote his first story about a sleepwalking killer who was executed by lethal injection. He lives in the American West with his wife and their dog, Iorek Byrnison. He can be found exploring the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, or daring the halls of the high school where he teaches English and mythology.

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Lola Grant
Lola Grant
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