It’s the edge of the universe.
Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it.
The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military.
At the Divide, Adequin Rake, commanding the Argus, has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted.
They’re humanity’s only chance.
The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes is as spectacular a science fiction story as one is going to find. From a plot that is full of drama to amazing characters that are relatable and interesting, all over a backdrop of a futuristic space setting, The Last Watch is nearly flawless.
You want suspense? Let’s start with this: THE FREAKING UNIVERSE IS COLLAPSING! Does it get any more dramatic than that? My heart starts beating fast just thinking about, imagining the edge of the Universe rapidly closing in on itself, threatening to annihilate everything inside its walls. Now imagine you are on a spaceship and part of a crew whose only job it is to keep track of that border and ensure everything is going fine. YOU HAD ONE JOB, and it is going so poorly the whole of the world is doomed.
Maybe. Maybe not. But the crew of the spaceship Argus is facing long odds on this one, and they will soon find out that saving the Universe is not a simple task. That brings me to my first talking point: how great the plot is. In their efforts to stop the apocalypse from coming to fruition, this group is pushed to the brink. They are met with conflict after conflict. Things get so tough at times that not having anyone explode is considered a good day.
Adequin shook her head, but decided to let it be. It was over now, and no one had exploded.
Those are pretty low standards, but if one has experienced everything the crew of the Argus has one takes any positives one can find. Silver linings are few and far between, so they have to accept them as they come. At times, it feels as though their backs are against the wall, and they are willing to try anything to get results – even utilizing unknown alien technology.
Mesa stormed across the room and pulled him away with a sharp, annoyed grimace. ‘Please do not put your appendages into things when you do not know what they do.’
All of this to say the plot is so full of suspense the story is overflowing with drama, and I could not put it down. I had to keep reading, tension-filled page after tension-filled page.
In addition to a great plot, The Last Watch sports a fabulous character set, beginning with the main protagonist of the story, Captain Arlequin Rake. Rake is not only an extraordinary lead character, but a tremendous female lead that pushes back against the tropes. She is neither forced to have “manly” traits nor assume the role of an over-bearing woman, as is often the case with female leads. She is smart, witty, and compassionate – all traits of a great leader. And that is exactly what Rake does throughout this book: lead. She makes hard decision after hard decision, never demanding respect but always getting it because her people believe in her. In the end, I believed in her, too.
‘Gentle’, Adequin warned. ‘Don’t get him all freaked out. Tell him a story or something. Keeps him focused.’
Rake is not the only excellent character, though. The rest of the crew is pretty great, as well. I will not name them all, but I will say how impressed I am with Dewes’ ability to write such a diverse cast of characters so well and make every single one of them relatable. Through their actions and dialogue, the reader really gets to know them quite well. I have to say, I was rooting for them to pull it off, and not just because I was rooting for a happy ending. I wanted it to be this crew that made it happen (as if there was going to be anyone else, anyway) because I cared about them and wanted their hard work and tribulations to pay off.
I found the setting to be incredible, too: far far in the future, at the edge of the universe. The whole thing is very well thought-out with space stations, aliens, clones, and even some capitalist imperialism (because some things never change). It made for quite an immersive atmosphere.
The only thing I question is how easy the author took it on the crew during some of the fight scenes. It seemed like too often they would walk into a room and it would be like, “20 of them. 2 of us.” Next thing I knew all 20 enemies were dispatched without a sweat. I think some of those scenes should have been harder on them, but I also wonder if Dewes decided that since the crew almost died every other page that this might be a situation where it made sense to go easy on them. I cannot blame the author for that.
For all the reasons mentioned, The Last Watch is my favorite science fiction read of the year, so far. I found it to be so enthralling that I never wanted it to end. I highly recommend it for fans of the genre. Pick it up; you will not be disappointed. The good news is that there is not a long wait for book 2 in the series, The Exiled Fleet, as it is set to publish in August 2021. I already have it high up on my watch list, and you should, too.