Cover Image: Watchers

Watchers

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Member Reviews

I received Watchers from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I discovered Watchers from another Instagrammer’s feed. I read the very positive review and saw it had trans rep and knew I wanted to read it. I am so thankful this book was brought to my attention because it is amazing.

Watchers is a near-future science fiction novel that is extremely realistic. The government has all but fallen apart and the US isn’t doing all that great. There are cameras everywhere, especially in drones that are piloted by watchers, who find people breaking the law and then fine them. The behavior is as problematic as it sounds.

Yet, the main story features Sasha and Daniel and a love story set in a reality tv show that kills you when you are voted off. Sasha is young and alone. Daniel is hiding from his connection to his father and the daughter he once had. Thrust together they form a connection that is realistic and complex.

The narration of the story is told through a streamer who provides finds and pieces together video to tell the story. It can make for a very interesting narration style, that is different but works. The streamer has their own plot line, my least favorite of the story. But it helps provide the context for the narration.

I really enjoyed this book, and will happily add it to my shelves when it is released. I also cannot wait to read the next book in the series.
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I received a digital review copy of this book for free from Kate Madden and NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily as a courtesy.

1984 meets Hunger Games?!?!?! That's the hook that caught my eye and I'm glad it did. Although, my brain instantly thought of a weird TV combination of Black Mirror meets Big Brother. Either way, it was right up my alley and I loved the wild ride it took me on! 

In this near-future speculative sci-fi thriller, Kate Madden jumps out of the gate with an eerily realistic future where Watchers, the national privatized police force, hold all the power. Most people can't hold (or get) a job and many are going hungry. Desperation forces some to take their chances on a "killer" reality show, The Elimination Games and opens the door for the more corrupt bounty hunters to find contestants for the show in a myriad of unsavory ways. What happens to our MCs Sasha and Daniel next is not for the faint of heart! 

Featuring a strong female protagonist and a trans deuteragonist, this story takes you on an adventure you will never forget! I would recommend this to anyone (16+) who enjoys thrilling near-future speculative dystopian sci-fi, especially if you are looking for trans/queer rep.
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This book was better than I expected after reading the reviews. 

While the the author barely provided any backstory about the characters and only hinted at big events in their past lives, they still felt three-dimensional and I cared for them. 

It was annoying that Daniel's backstory was always hinted at, but never really explained, at least not an integral part of it (what he was doing at the senate when the massacre happened. It was said that he was a survivor of it, but when it's talked about, there's no mention of him, only of his father). 
The trans rep in this was alright, but it will likely be very triggering for other trans people as there is much talk of gender dysphoria (past and present), being forced into a gender role and transphobia including deadnaming. 
Neither main characters are transphobic though. 
I liked that while being a trans man was an important part of Daniel's character and it came up often (due to dysphoria), it was not the only aspect of his character and none of the characters in the book defined him by it. 

Sasha was interesting as well, her poverty and resulting homelessness a reflection of what's to come (and let's be honest, is already happening) for our society as well if we don't do something about it right now. In general the book was very reflective of our society, giving a very dystopian but realistic view of the future.

Regarding Elvis and her live-streams: it took me a while to register the time jumps, but I liked the concept of someone showing more than what was on the reality TV-show and trying to expose them. What I did not like was when it got personal and the author tried to form yet another plot string with Elvis as the main character. It felt completely out of place, was not well done as the chapters were too short andd there was no emotional connection to Elvis at all abd seemed like a spur of the moment, half-baked storyline.

The romance in this book was soft and it was hard to distinguish which actions were for the fake dating aspect and which ones were genuine. I'm not sure if tge characters actually have any romantic feelings for each other or if they just craved cobtact and someone to hold onto during what they were going through.

The plot was exciting, but had a few inconsistencies and plot holes. In general the world and the backstory of the characters should habe been explained more to avoid any confusion. 
I also feel like the author was trying to do too much at ones, which resulted in many plotlines falling short. Some of them, such as the Elvis one or the cannibalism one should have been cut in my opinion. 
I liked the premise of being forced on a reality show that's a bit like Big Brothet, but kills the contestants that are eliminated (only rumors of course). It was exciting to read and I wish the book had focused a little more on that. 

The ending ultimately fell short as well as there were too many plotlines to tie together, which did not work at all. It did however end on a cliffhanger that makes me want to keep reading, so I hope there will be a sequel.
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An interesting dystopian/big brother tale with a weird tangy flavour.

I liked the uniqueness of this story. It seems there's a lot more to tell which perhaps hasn't been delivered yet, but it is book 1.

The primary characters of Sasha and Daniel are strong and have more opportunities to develop. They're survivors. I'm keen to learn more about Elvis as well.
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Overall rating: 1/5
Characters: 1/5
Setting: 2/5
Writing: 1/5
Plot and themes: 1/5
Engagement: 1/5

The idea of this book was interesting but it felt very undercooked in its execution, almost as if it were an outline of a story which needed a padding out of all the details for the first draft.

Halfway through the book I still knew nothing about the main characters. There was minimal backstory about Daniel with only the most recent and public events included with nothing about Sasha. Without knowing anything about these characters I was not invested in their journey at all.

This story lacks any details, no descriptions of the characters, no descriptions of the setting and very little explanation about how this world works. Add to this the constant time jumping and a speed through of what should have been climatic events, I had no interest in what was going on.

There was an attempt to establish a connection between the two main characters but even this fell flat, feeling forced and unbelievable. 

There was no opportunity for an emotional attachment to any of the characters therefore the suspenseful moments had no effect.

I’m sorry to say that this book was not one that I enjoyed.
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This book was…fine? Not bad, but it felt almost unfinished. Like a really fleshed out outline, but needs some additional finesse. Set in the near future where democracy is gone in the US and all there is now is Watchers that are like bounty hunters that use the cameras that are everywhere to catch crime. But then we also follow characters that are put into a reality tv show that may or may not kill the contestants that are voted out. There are interesting characters, I’ll say that. I just need more out of my books.
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I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.

Let me start by saying that I felt this book leaned more toward fantasy than science fiction. In a way, the drones give the book a science fiction component but that is the extent of the technology in the plot thus far. The plot arc, however, leans more toward dystopian fantasy. In more contemporary terms, this book resembles a mix of the "Survivor" tv show and Hunger Games.

There are slow parts in the book, but I believe that is due to the amount of time it took for the character- and world-building. I think if readers are patient, they'll discover a new, totalitarian world that is more insidious than meets the eye. 

The issue I had was that I didn't find Sasha all that interesting. Sasha grew up in the foster system, she's kind-hearted, and she doesn't seem to have the burning desire to be a forward-thinking leader and rebel. However, I found the secondary protagonist far more interesting. Their background isn't fully fleshed out, but there is a lot of potential in their story that would make the second book in the series interesting.

I did enjoy the world-building and the plot itself. The world-building helped me to immerse myself in the plot and it made me want to learn more about the insidious political games that are being played behind the deplorable game show. I'd be willing to read the second book in the trilogy to learn more about the game show's seedy underbelly.
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I received  a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.   Thank you NetGalley.

This book was good.   I can't say I was overly effected / touched by the book, but it was a decent read.  
There were a few slow / boring chapters,..  but i'd be willing to check out other books by the author.
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