Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.
Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.
When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.
I’ve wanted to read Julia Ember’s books for a while now.( I still haven’t found the time for The Seafarer’s Kiss ) and then I got accepted for The Tiger’s Watch on NetGalley. I guess it was fate. The book had the perfect length for my flight home from Gran Canaria and I wouldn’t have been able to stop anyway.
The Tiger’s Watch has everything you could want in a book: Great characters, wonderfully described settings, magic.
I’m normally a bit wary when reading about animal bonds, since I read some weird ones before, but the idea of inhabitors was so intriguingly implemented that I accepted it easily. We learn bits and pieces on the lore and how these bonds between humans and animals are formed without it being an overload of info dumped onto the reader. The characters are fully fledged and well-rounded. There is no one I truly disliked, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the dynamics and relationships are going to develop later on.
So many different sexualities and gender identities are portrayed in this book. I’m very glad that they are all being accepted without the need of any explanation whatsoever. It’s my first time reading a book with a genderfluid protagonist and while it is a huge part of Tashi, it is never used as a plot device. We get glimpses of how they are feeling and whenever they are being misgendered, someone points it out and the people are quick to correct themselves and use the correct pronouns.
I can wholeheartedly recommend The Tiger’s Watch and I can’t wait for book two to come out next year. As soon as I get my hands on my physical copy, I’ll probably reread it again. The Tiger’s Watch comes out on August 22nd, so you’d better grab yourself a copy!