Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Watcher of the Dead (Sword of Shadows, #4)” as Want to Read:
Watcher of the Dead (Sword of Shadows, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Watcher of the Dead (Sword of Shadows #4)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  2,212 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
In the frigid wasteland of the north, Raif Sevrance, Watcher of the Dead, has endured many trials to lay claim to the renowned sword known as Loss. But the price of wielding the legendary weapon is high, and Raif is unsure if he is willing to pay it. Ash Marsh, Daughter of the Sull, still struggles to come to terms with her heritage, and the knowledge that the Watcher, arm ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published April 15th 2010 by Orbit (first published 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Watcher of the Dead, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Sci The 5th was supposed to be released last year but it was pushed back for some reason. The tweet from Tor on the subject: …moreThe 5th was supposed to be released last year but it was pushed back for some reason. The tweet from Tor on the subject:
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Eye of the World by Robert JordanAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman
Fantasy Books Written for Adults
177th out of 759 books — 1,224 voters
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinA Storm of Swords by George R.R. MartinA Clash of Kings by George R.R. MartinThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienA Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
Medieval Fantasy Books
398th out of 413 books — 808 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kiel Van Horn
Oct 14, 2011 Kiel Van Horn rated it it was amazing
It definitely annoys me that J.V. Jones doesn't have a larger catalogue of books to read. She's superb. I think her writing ability and storytelling style compare to that of George R. R. Martin; she's that good. It's also sad that her output seems to be slowing down with these last few books. I'm always extremely impressed with the amount of research that goes into her books. She doesn't do the obnoxious Crichton breakdown of sources, but I wouldn't be surprised if hers would compare in
Thomas Edmund
Aug 20, 2010 Thomas Edmund rated it liked it
The highly anticipated first book in this series in which the title does not contain the word ice, follows the events of Sword from Red Ice in much the same manner.

I love this series but I’m afraid that it has fallen into the trap so many other ‘epic’ fantasy authors have in thinking that introducing us to a myriad of characters, a vast amount of landscape and injecting a heavy dose of politics is the way to go.

Watcher of the Dead is better than Sword from Red Ice, but is still bogged down in tr
May 16, 2013 Phleghm rated it liked it
Reduced length was good, doing something on Raif as a character also (as much as I appreciate whining, there is a limit), some things actually happen, and the new ranger side of things is interesting.

But overall.. Not a satisfying read. It leaves you hungry. Doesn't feed us like it is supposed to. The part with the Ash at the end made me wtf. I dunno. JV Jones definitely has potential and I will probably read whatever she comes up next, but I sincerely hope it wont be such a drag. That it become
Elizabeth Baxter
Aug 29, 2011 Elizabeth Baxter rated it it was amazing
JV Jones is one of those writers who gets better with every book. Her earlier series were good but didn’t leave a lasting impression. The Sword of Shadows series is different, and Watcher of the Dead, the fourth book, particularly so. From the moment I picked it up, I struggled to put it down. And it’s all because of the awesome characters. Within the series there is an overarching plot about the Endlords escaping their prison in the Blind and destroying the world. But within this, each of the d ...more
Xara Niouraki
Aug 11, 2014 Xara Niouraki rated it it was amazing
I just love this series. It's one excellent book after another. I love all the characters and all the storylines. Jones has become one of my favourite authors. Her writing is really good and the world is very interesting. Details and events stick to your memory. Although I waited before I read Watcher of the Dead (because the next book isn't published yet), I didn't forget anything and that doesn't happen to me often. The only bad thing is that now I have to wait. I hope the next book comes out ...more
Angus Mcfarlane
Sep 10, 2016 Angus Mcfarlane rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, reviewed
A fourth and then a fifth book in what I'd hoped to be a trilogy, but the story telling remains thoroughly enjoyable with little xxx (some but not much) which is not, as far as I can tell, significant. The genuine difficulty I had, and yes I could have chased this one down sooner after publication, was forgetting the detail from previous books, reducing the depth of the characters and making some of the plot intricacies confusing. I continue to be compelled to read these books, although the char ...more
Mar 18, 2015 Steven rated it really liked it
Shelves: hardcopies
I started this about a year or so after finishing the 3rd part. I really like writing style of JV Jones and it was nice to get a " story so far " synopsis. Instantly got back into the story and the characters. There are some major developments with some the characters.
Raif's storyline takes a new and even more difficult direction.
Vaylo Bludd is at odds with his son and the leadership of his clan.
I also liked getting more details of Angus Loks past and they way his character develops thought thi
May 15, 2014 Graham rated it really liked it
Another enjoyable book in a captivating series. I really like the characters. The story seems to have lost a little cohesion in this book in terms of tying in the strife in the clan-holds and the widening in the rift back to the change in Surlords at Spire Vanis. Also, what is going to happen to Angus Lok to bring him back into the main thread of the story?

I guess these questions will be answered in the next book which I assume will tie off the series. Interesting to see that this book was publi
Aug 03, 2012 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: The continuing story of the rise of the 'dark/end lords' and the preparations being made for the 'final battle'. The story continues not much has substantially changed by the end of the book. It's starting to get a bit boring.

Things I liked:

Some of the characters are still pretty interesting e.g. Riana, Vallo (dog lord).

The author seems remembers to add details about hunting and survival that I think adds to the atmosphere of the setting.

Kid characters have a distinct voice.

Jul 27, 2015 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2012-rev
This series is complex, with lots of moving parts. Normally I re-read early books before reading the latest in a series, and I strongly recommend doing that here. I wasn't able to, and the provided "What has gone before" summary was limited (and seemed to lose steam half-way through its few pages). You can jump straight in, but it takes a while to remember and re-orient.

Watcher of the Dead is a straightforward continuation of the series. We learn more about our hero Raif, and, separately, his en
Mark L
Sep 15, 2013 Mark L rated it really liked it
I waited with bated breathe for this book as I was less than satisfied with A Sword From Red Ice. On the whole I was happier with the plot movement; my favourites were the POV of Raif and Effie. A bit of resoultion and change occurred.

The reader can sense the hand of the Phage aligning the clans in the North. The multiple POV's make this all clear if they serve no other purpose.

I hope the next book sees a fitting culmination of the series; the author became somewhat bogged down given the scale
Nov 04, 2014 Nem rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Montano
Jun 04, 2011 Steven Montano rated it really liked it
A big improvement over "A Sword from Red Ice". Jones is finally moving things into place to finish out this excellent series. Unfortunately, she's fallen into the traditional trap of the epic fantasy author: there are simply too many characters, too many storylines, and far too much meandering to keep the series as engaging as it was back in Books 1 and (especially) 2.

I'd almost recommend reading just those chapters pertaining to the once main character, Raif Severance, as his storyline is exce
Oct 14, 2013 Todd rated it really liked it
First I felt she dragged out Raifs personal developmento too much. I dont mind dark and sad plots. But I enjoyed identity struggling whiny Raif rather than the tortured soul she seems to be directed him towards. I really dislike Ash as a character and her plot is bland. But I enjoy the phage introduction and the clan politics. Angus Lok has a.unclear plot development. But I must say.something happens. either better written or better edited and it is shorter. Almost too short. There just is ...more
Apr 28, 2010 Paparas rated it really liked it
J.V. is getting better and better with every book. Her command of the written word is still evolving: she has clearly progressed beyond the mainstream fantasy crowd, however one can feel her over-reaching in a couple of instances. This volume had a simpler, cleaner storyline than the previous installments. A bit on the short side, given the 2,5 year wait and the current standards of epic fantasy book lengths. Still, it is a masterful piece of storytelling. The now familiar characters remain comp ...more
Apr 18, 2016 Patrick rated it liked it
3.4 / 5 ?
7.3 / 10 ?

Certainly my favorite installment of the series so far...
I have read them all one after another, so they are kind of blurring together aside from a sense that they were improving in their writing gradually,
and that this 4th book has some things happen that, let's just say, the reader has probably been waiting to happen throughout the entire series, but might have been giving up hope of at such a late point (4.5 books in!?!)
Check plus on building up suspense & whatnot... ev
Feb 05, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it
The author's writing is absolutely beautiful, and really brings the reader into the story. Unfortunately Jones does have a tendency to move the plot along very slowly, so fans of the series will most likely enjoy this book but may, like me, be ready for the plot to move a bit faster.
Jun 30, 2010 Nate rated it liked it
Could have been a great book... If anything happened in it. Let's see... Raif gets tortured some more, continuing his general slide into a depressingly black state, Ash gets mentioned twice in the whole book... Annnnnd a whole lot of nothing happens.

This series is starting to drag.
Margaret Kosakiewicz
Aug 12, 2014 Margaret Kosakiewicz rated it really liked it
My only complaint is that Ms. Jones doesn't write more and faster. This book is a pleasure to read. It flows effortlessly and is actually a very quick read. The writer takes her time developing each character and either does a lot of research or has an excellent research assistant. She knows what she is writing about. There is nothing in this book or series that I have found not believable.

It is actually my 2nd time reading this book as I am at in that non-enviable position of not being able to
James Hartley
Jan 23, 2016 James Hartley rated it liked it
Frustrating. The writing is good, and it is easy to read, but this is the fourth book, and like the third, nothing much happens. It just seems to drag on and on and on, with little to progress the story. I am not sure if the author is struggling for inspiration/direction, or dragging it out for more cash, but it seems to be a common theme from a lot of authors these days.
That isn't to say you shouldn't read this book, in fact as a series I have enjoyed it. But I am at the point where losing int
Feb 06, 2016 Dark-Draco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-series
What a shame that it's taken until the fourth book for me to really get into this series and it looks like the author hasn't written any more yet. Having finally accepted that there are going to be a lot of characters and a lot of short chapters that don't necessarily move the plot along, I found I could relax into the story and enjoy the reading.

There's a few anachronisms that leapt out and spoilt the rhythm, the worst being something being described as sounding like a shot! Of an arrow? I don'
Zapravo 3,5 zvezdica.
Stretch's Books
So, I finally got around to finishing "Watcher of the Dead", J.V. Jones' fourth entry into the "Sword of Shadows" series. Considering the amount of time she is taking to release book five, I feel like I'm well ahead of schedule. I actually delayed reading this one in hopes of not having to wait too long to get book five in hand. That, however, is neither here nor there.

"Watcher of the Dead" is a great read. J.V. Jones is as good a fantasy writer as anyone out there today. "Watcher" has some te
Jul 04, 2010 William rated it really liked it
So far this has been a reasonably good series, with an interesting world and plot and some good characterisation. I had felt that the third book in the series was a bit slow-paced, with not a huge amount of importance happening in its 700+ pages. Book 4 does improve the pacing, although it can still be criticised a bit for lack of plot progression - most characters in the book have their story arc advance another step and there are some reasonable interim conclusions to their storylines in this ...more
Gabriel Perron
Another great book in the sword of shadows series. It is highly recommended to start from book one, the characters will grow on you. There is something about the main character raif that reminds me of myself, but there is also a lot of other great characters that I enjoy hearing about such as Vaylo and Angus and even Asharia. I am definitely going to re order this book since I currently only own the original hard copy.
Katheryn Bailey
Jun 29, 2014 Katheryn Bailey rated it it was amazing
This whole series is worth reading, but this last one was darker than the others. I am looking forward to the next book but wish that the author would not take so long to write it...
Abikoye Olufemi
Mar 12, 2014 Abikoye Olufemi rated it really liked it
Shortest Book. Better than Book 3. Was more to the point. bits that have been dropped in previous book were caught up. Was a Breeze. Expect More. Hope Book 5 is direct as this but longer.
Sarah Shelton
Jul 08, 2011 Sarah Shelton rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, fantasy
I told myself, "Self, don't pick this one up yet. She's going to yank you around some more and not tie a damn thing up again. So wait until the next book comes out so you're not left pissed and antsy again." And I was right. Enough already. Move Raif and Ash's plot forward. I get that he had to utterly break and become Watcher of the Dead, but that could have been done a couple hundred pages ago. Too many characters. I can't stop reading because I want to know what happens to Raif and Ash, and t ...more
Julie Scott
Feb 06, 2012 Julie Scott rated it really liked it
This is book four in a well-written epic fantasy series. The world is detailed and interesting, but there is almost a bit much going on. Each book has 6 or more different points of view and as some characters are inevitably more interesting than others I found myself rushing some sections to get back the characters I enjoyed most. Also the actions of some characters didn't ring true for me, particularly Angus Lok choosing not to look for his daughter. I am glad that the female characters are fin ...more
Todd Newton
Jun 21, 2010 Todd Newton rated it it was amazing
J.V. Jones is a brilliant author and masterful storyteller. This fourth volume in the Sword of Shadows series continues a story arc that, originally, I thought was going to be contained in 3 books. This continues to be the only mild complaint I have, and it's not even really a complaint -- I want more of the story, but I also want to read the climax of the series.

My favorite parts of this installment were the chapters with Raina Blackhail, my favorite character in the series by far, particularly
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Ash March's choice of men 4 38 Nov 29, 2013 03:08AM  
Next book in the Sword of Shaddows 2 31 Mar 25, 2013 11:30AM  
  • Traitors' Gate (Crossroads, #3)
  • The Born Queen (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #4)
  • The Grand Crusade (The DragonCrown War Cycle, #3)
  • The Dusk Watchman (Twilight Reign, #5)
  • Children of the Serpent Gate (Tears of Artamon, #3)
  • Blood of the Mantis (Shadows of the Apt, #3)
  • An Autumn War (Long Price Quartet, #3)
  • Nightchild (Chronicles of the Raven, #3)
  • Sea of Sorrows (The Sun Sword, #4)
  • Ravenheart (The Rigante, #3)
  • Caine Black Knife (The Acts of Caine, #3)
  • The Rats and the Ruling Sea (The Chathrand Voyage, #2)
  • The Fox (Inda, #2)
  • Bauchelain and Korbal Broach (The Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, #1-3)
Julie Victoria Jones was born in Liverpool, England. She has been writing for seven years, and is currently working on her sixth novel, which will be titled A Fortress of Grey Ice. She lives in San Diego, California.

All three books in The Book Of Words Trilogy are #1 national bestsellers, and have been bought for publication in England, Poland, Russia, Germany, France and Holland. Her fifth book,
More about J.V. Jones...

Other Books in the Series

Sword of Shadows (5 books)
  • A Cavern of Black Ice (Sword of Shadows, #1)
  • A Fortress of Grey Ice (Sword of Shadows, #2)
  • A Sword from Red Ice (Sword of Shadows, #3)
  • Endlords (Sword of Shadows, #5)

Share This Book