The Watcher


Worth reading 😎

One teenage girl could turn the tide in an unending war against monsters on a realm she just discovered, in this lively fantasy-YA romp.

Sloane is trying her best to get through life as an almost-18-year-old when she does something that most teenagers would die for; she falls asleep in her bed and wakes up far, far away. Stumbling through a dark forest in her pajamas, Sloane wanders into a base camp where she learns that she’s no longer in Colorado and she’s got a lot more to worry about than her homework assignments. This is a realm of unending darkness at battle with otherworldly monsters, and somehow she feels like she might fit right in. When Sloane discovers a trail of family relics left behind by the father she never knew, she makes the decision to fight for answers. But even for this movie-obsessed teenager, the journey ahead is more than any fantasy film could have prepared her for.

In the style of “Alanna: The First Adventure” by Tamora Pierce or “Dorothy Must Die” By Danielle Paige, “The Watcher” takes a normal girl and thrusts her into a world of magic, monsters and mayhem. Despite her contemporaries literally throwing her around in times of danger to keep her safe, Sloane is a compelling and complicated hero who consistently makes interesting choices to propel the story forward and keep the reader entertained. Sloane is, like many of us, just looking for her place in the world (whichever world that might be).

This story often chooses to over-simplify big decisions, like whether Sloane is going to leave everything she knows behind to risk her life for a world she just discovered. Some of the depth that could be created and explored, for the characters and the worldbuilding, is sidestepped when Sloane does things like accepting her newfound realm-traveling as though it was foresightedness. Taken in stride, this story is ultimately an entertaining, fast fantasy read that will engage readers from beginning to end. 

For the fans of Fantasy Young Adult adventures, this story will hit all the right places. While the dialogue tends to lean on the expository side and the world-building does a little too much telling, the plot is snappy and the characters are charming. What this story lacks in polish, it more than makes up for in heart. Easily read in one sitting, the first book of the Night Realm Series does a lot to set up Sloane’s world of Nightlins, Realms, and Watchers; it will be exciting to see how that work pays off in the upcoming books.

Reviewed by

I am a book (and bread) lover based in NYC. I studied Monster Culture in undergrad, concentrating in Gender Performance across Monster Narratives. I love all things horror, science fiction, diverse and compelling. I'm passionate about reading weird, unexpected and emotional stories across platforms.


About the author

K.R. Bowman has always enjoyed dreaming up stories since she was a child. After ten years of self-doubt, she finally decided to hit publish on 'The Watcher.' Most days you can find her going on adventures, drinking wine, cuddling animals, or eating sweets. Majority of the time, she daydreams. view profile

Published on January 31, 2021

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Fantasy

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