TITLE: The Tiger’s Watch
AUTHOR: Julia Ember
SERIES: Ashes of Gold
PUBLISHER: Harmony Ink Press
COVER ARTIST: Meghan Moss
GENRE: Teen Fiction; Fantasy
LENGTH: 180 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 22, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 –e-book / $14.99 paperback
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 by Julie Ember is the first book in the Ashes of Gold series. I really enjoyed this book, and it definitely engaged all of my senses especially my sympathy and tear ducts. As this is a book about teens, I didn’t figure there would be any explicit content, and there wasn’t. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any chemistry between various characters and some light kissing. The book does end on a cliffhanger so if you don’t like to read a book with a cliffhanger ending then I would wait to start this book until the series has concluded because the ending does make you want to start reading the next book immediately. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait too long. Especially after peaking my interest with the sneak peek into the second book in the series.
Tashi’s a gender fluid 16-year-old. Some days they feel more masculine and other days more feminine regardless of the fact that they was born male. The pronouns used for Tashi are they, them, and their. Since this is my first gender fluid character and story, the pronouns took me a little bit of time to get used to. I loved how Tashi used their hair to show their dual nature, and I cried when they shaved it off to better keep their identity secret. Tashi’s been an inhibitor since they was eight years old and chosen by Katala, a rare rose gold tiger. Tashi’s best friend Pharo’s bonded to a wolf that’s just about at the end of his life and it scares Tashi that soon they will be without their best friend and that there isn’t anything they can do to stop the unavoidable. And while it’s cool to be one with your animal, it makes it nearly impossible to form relationships and so Tashi’s never done anything about their attraction or love for Pharo.
I thought the ideas of the inhibitor was unique and exciting but also sad since the human and animal are bonded together and neither can survive without the other. Which means if Katala dies from a wound or old age then Tashi will fall into a coma and slowly pass away.
Xian’s 17 years old and a general in the Myeik army and has a secret item that he’s been searching for that used to be in his family generations ago. He needs it to save his mother’s life and uses the cover of the army to search for it secretly. He knows that it’s related to the inhibitors and so he’s searching for the inhibitors that escaped the attack on the academy. He has a cruel and cold personality that he projects to the outside world, but underneath he has a soft spot that only his trusted servant gets to witness.
When Xian’s army takes the monastery that Tashi and Pharo are hiding in as servants, Tashi ends up getting chosen to replace Xian’s dead personal assistant. This works out great for Tashi who has trained his whole life to be a killer and a spy. But Tashi’s torn between his duty and his heart after witnessing Xian’s soft spot. Will he be able to do what needs to be done to save his peoples’ way of life or will he give into his heart and help find the secret item that Xian needs to save his mother?
I know the answers to these questions, but you will have to read the book to find them out for yourself. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series when it comes out and find out what happens next.
****The ARC was provided by Harmony Ink Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****