Ok, comp titles. They can be tricky things, I think. I understand why they are used in publishing, and I know the practice is not going anywhere.
I also follow tons of authors on Twitter, and I’m given to understand that comp titles are…not always an author’s favorite thing, either. Having their work compared to some other book or TV show…I imagine that’s a complicated feeling.
All of this to say that THE LAST WATCH features one of the oddest comp titles I’ve seen on its back cover:
“The Expanse meets Game of Thrones”
To start with, The Expanse was always tagged with “Game of Thrones in space,” so that adds an extra layer of weirdness to things. But yeah…I was about 100+ pages into THE LAST WATCH and just scratching my head, like…who could be finding this similar to Game of Thrones? I heard from some folks that the GoT comparison was perhaps referring to the Night’s Watch specifically, and well…ok. That tracks a bit.
But if you are looking for a sprawling space opera with many different POVs, and Machiavellian political scheming…THE LAST WATCH is not that book.
What it is is an incredibly tense, inventive, thrilling space opera, with an extremely tight focus on two POV characters. I really enjoyed THE LAST WATCH a lot! This is the debut novel by J. S. Dewes and has all the makings of a really fantastic space opera series!
Adequin Rake is the Commander of a ship called the Argus. She’s a Titan, and a legendary soldier. But like anyone assigned to the Argus, Rake had something of a fall from grace. It’s sort of the dregs of the military & assorted misfits assigned to this post.
What they do out there in space is pretty fucking wild. They guard the Divide, which is kinda like the edge of the known universe. They maintain buoys across a perimeter that serves as an alert system against alien invasions. Things at the Divide can be…challenging.
And screwy. From a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey perspective. That’s all I want to say about that.
Rake is a really cool character, and someone I took to straight away. There was something really unique about the way Dewes wrote Rake. While her reputation precedes her, she earns the respect of this crew (which could be unmanageable in other hands) by being fair & complimentary. So as opposed to an overly cynical commander screaming in everyone’s face, Rake keeps a pretty level head & brings a lot of heart into the position.
Rake’s latest challenge is a new crew member named Cavalon Mercer. He’s a snarky exiled prince, but his exhaustively thorough education means he could be a great asset to Rake. And when shit starts to go wrong at the Divide, she needs all the help she can get.
This book is INTENSE! And honestly a little terrifying in ways. The way Dewes describes the utter blackness of the Divide is just chilling…like this book will really make you feel how oppressive the vastness of space is, and just how much nothing there is along the Divide.
Yeah, this was rad as hell. I’m looking forward to THE EXILED FLEET this summer! It’s awesome how close together the first two books will be released, because THE LAST WATCH leaves you craving more!
Huge thanks to Tor Books for the copy!!