Review: The Last Watch (The Divide #1) by J. S. Dewes

Rating: 9.5/10


The Expanse meets Game of Thrones in J. S. Dewes’s fast-paced, sci-fi adventure The Last Watch, where a handful of soldiers stand between humanity and annihilation.

The Divide.

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 commands the Argus. She has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted. Her ace in the hole could be Cavalon Mercer–genius, asshole, and exiled prince who nuked his grandfather’s genetic facility for “reasons.”

She knows they’re humanity’s last chance.


Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Last Watch (The Divide #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

The Last Watch is my pick for science fiction debut of the year. Dewes has written a masterwork space opera that needs to be on bookshelves world-wide. Epic, character-driven sci-fi goodness that is the cure for your Expanse hangover.

The Last Watch is the Night’s Watch in space, but no Wildlings or White Walkers were harmed in the writing of this book. Instead, we have a collapsing universe, an alien species, and a group of Sentinals attempting to prevent the former from sidling away from the edge they are sworn to protect. Thing is, in order to do this efficiently, they need pieces of the puzzle that aren’t accessible – you know, LIKE WORKING COMMS…

In the words of the almighty Charlie Brown “Good grief!”

Dewes begins the story by dropping us onto the spaceship Argus (where about a 1/4 of the plot takes place) and introduces the reader to Cavalon Mercer and the captain, Arlequin Rae. Two completely different personalities, both aboard for polar opposite reasons, yet forced to work with one another to prevent this collapse. I enjoyed reading the story from both perspectives (especially with the dual-narration from Andrew Eiden and Nicol Zanzarella) because I wanted to get a true sense for who they were and what they did to be put in such a situation; but as you slowly understand the intentions and motivations for each, you become more and more engrained in the story and become champions for both no matter their past.

The story itself is on a massive scale but feels very intimate as we progress through the character arcs. Clearly we are talking about the edge of the universe (you know, the massive thing that surrounds our world that we know so much/so little about) but Dewes brings it into focus by giving you a group of characters to care about. You want to see them succeed and you don’t want to see them die and OMG GET THEM SOME HELP. We are also helped along by a fast-paced narrative with some interesting twists that will have you flipping pages at a rapid rate.

There is science aplenty, some romance, handfuls of angry aliens, you know about the devastating impact of a collapsing universe, and all of the spacey goodness that comes with a solid space opera. What you really need to come for are the characters. Like, seriously. They are written SO well that I wish some other authors could take some notes. This one will tick the boxes for space opera and military science fictions fans alike.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Hit it right on the head, David. I second your nomination for SciFi debut. Amazing book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arina says:

    Awesome review, David. Damn, this seems to check my every box!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David W says:

      It’s so good!


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