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

Rating: 9.5/10

Synopsis

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, commanding the Argus, has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted.

They’re humanity’s only chance. 

Review

Thank you so much to TOR books for the review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I haven’t read much Sci Fi lately, but when I read the synopsis for The Last Watch I was immediately intrigued and knew I had to pick it up. Essentially, the universe is collapsing and the dregs of the military who are stationed near the Divide, the end of the universe, have to figure out a way to save their own lives and to prevent the extinction of mankind. I mean, how much more high stakes can you get than the threat of the entire universe just ceasing to exist?

Dewes’ storytelling is effortless, flowing smoothly from page to page. It had such a natural feel to it. I really loved how well balanced this story felt. We follow a group of military soldiers, but it never felt like your typical Military Sci Fi that is loaded with action. We do get some action, but what really drives this novel is its fantastic cast of characters, the mysteries and worldbuilding surrounding the Divide, and of course the imminent threat of utter destruction due to the collapse of the universe. I also really liked how the science and technology were complex and interesting without getting bogged down with unnecessary details. All of these things were focused on in roughly equal measure and it worked so well with the story that was told.

I want to focus in on the collapse of the Universe and how that was such a genius device to use in this story. I wouldn’t call this book fast paced, but it was never less than immersive and engaging. Every single moment’s importance, every decision made was heightened in its intensity by the constant threat of The Divide. I wish that more books had this type of threat that casts a shadow over the protagonists at every single turn. Incredibly well done!

There are two POVs throughout The Last Watch. We follow Cavalon Mercer, a sarcastic, witty, sometimes self destructive civilian turned soldier who just happens to be the disgraced heir to a royal house and Adequin Rake, a famous hero of the last war that was fought against the Viators and Cavalon’s new commanding officer. These two characters played so well off each other and there was so much growth between the two of them. I would characterize their relationship as a little brother and big sister. Cavalon helping the oft dour and too serious Rake to lighten up and Rake helping Cavalon to grow up. I really enjoyed seeing how their relationship progressed throughout the story.

There are quite a few side characters that were interesting to follow as well. Jackin, Emery, and Griffith to name the top 3 that I enjoyed. I liked Emery especially because she reminded me a lot of Kaylee Frye from the Firefly tv series. All of these characters mattered and had an important role to play and I hope to see more of them as the story goes on.

The Last Watch is a riveting, tension filled Sci Fi adventure that will appeal to fans of Hard Sci Fi as well as those who are into lighter Sci Fi. Its characters are compelling, the narrative perfectly paced, and the world wonderfully realized. Read this book!

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