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The Divide #1

The Last Watch

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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.

480 pages, Paperback

First published April 20, 2021

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About the author

J.S. Dewes

4 books871 followers
J.S. Dewes is an author, cinematographer, and video editor who has written scripts for award-winning feature films and shorts. By day she writes video games for Humanoid Studios, and spends her free time drawing, scrolling ArtStation, cuddling her two sweet dogs and mercurial cat, and occasionally sleeping.

Her debut novel The Last Watch and its sequel The Exiled Fleet are out now from Tor Books. Her third book Rubicon is coming March 28, 2023.

She can be found on social media @jsdewes or her website jsdewes.com, and more stories set in the Divide universe can be found on her Patreon.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,073 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
687 reviews45.9k followers
January 24, 2023
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review.

2.5/5 stars

The Last Watch was good, but I believe it would work better as a movie than a novel.

The Divide, it’s the edge of the universe, and it’s collapsing. The only ones who can stop this from happening are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and dregs of the military. At the Divide, Adequin Rake is in charge of the Argus, and she has no one besides her soldiers and her possible ace—a genius and exiled prince—in the hole: Cavalon Mercer. The Last Watch is the first book in The Divide series by J.S. Dewes, and it has been garnering a lot of super positive receptions from readers. Honestly, from the premise alone, this sounds like The Night Watch from A Song of Ice and Fire, but in space. And that sounds incredibly intriguing to me. But two aspects prevented me from enjoying it further.

The first issue I had with The Last Watch was characterizations. I personally found the novel to be lacking in this department. I never once felt like I cared for Adequin Rake, Cavalon Mercer, or anybody else. They’re the drivers that steer the vehicles of the story, but they remain strangers to me from beginning to the end. It’s unfortunate, but a slightly more focus on characterizations and motivations in the first half of the novel would’ve boosted my reading experience so much. Seriously, the actions and pacing in the second half were superbly done. It’s a very subjective critic, I know that many readers have voiced that they loved Rake and Cavalon. For me, I wish I felt more invested in the characters for me to genuinely care about the struggles they’re dealing with.

The second issue was that I felt that there needed to be more elaboration on world-building and background. A suspension of disbelief was sorely needed, and this didn’t happen once or twice; it occurred multiple times throughout the entire novel. Many times I actually considered DNFing this book; the pacing was too slow in the first half of the novel, and slow-paced novels are novels that I usually loved, but in this case, there weren’t any characters I felt invested in. Because of this, the reading became a struggle.

As I said in the beginning, I do honestly believe that The Last Watch would work incredibly well as a sci-fi movie, and I hope it gets a movie adaptation one day. There were some truly—technically—magnificent scenes, and it was a shame I couldn’t enjoy them as much as I hoped because I couldn’t care about the characters. Also, please do not take my review for this novel fully to heart; I strongly suggest you give it a try for yourself if you love sci-fi/space opera or story with a band of misfits doing their best to save humanity. Plus, The Last Watch has been gaining a lot of good reviews, and I’m most likely just fell a bit on the unpopular opinion side here. It wasn’t a bad book for me, but it was okay, and it could’ve been more. I am very much a character-driven reader, and The Last Watch, to me, felt entirely plot-driven.

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Ben, Blaise, Devin, Diana, Dylan, Edward, Ellen, Gary, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Lufi, Melinda, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Sarah, Seth, Shaad, Summer, Wendy, Zoe.
Profile Image for Nicole.
749 reviews1,932 followers
September 21, 2021
One of the reasons I wait before writing my reviews (other than free time) is that usually, when a few days pass after reading the book, I can process it better especially the impression the book left on me. Many times I enjoy a book but upon reflection, it either didn’t leave anything with me or I notice some faults I didn’t care about before. I originally rated this book 4 stars but I’m dropping my rating to 3 stars because while reading, this is a sci-fi and I rarely read sci-fi, I assumed I might not be appreciating this because I don’t understand everything that’s going (one of the things I hate about not being a native English speaker is that I don’t know sometimes if the lack of comprehension on certain things is my fault or the author’s).

The book takes place in our universe but over a thousand years in the future and after a thousand years war with aliens (that are supposed to be extinct now), the universe is ruled by a military monarchy. They send outcast soldiers to the edge of the universe to “guard” it from those aliens but they’re basically shunned from their society. It’s like the Night’s Watch in Game of Thrones. Except that these people are the center of the plot.

It’s told from two perspectives, Cavalon, an outcasted royal heir and Adequin, a former Titan (basically she was important in the war with the aliens) who is the head of the ship. The book’s pace is fast and stuff gets more interesting as we progress through this book. I wasn’t that invested in the story at first but I found myself enjoying it more than I expected. The banter between the characters and dialogue was fun and light to read.

Sadly, the characters while “interesting” in theory, didn’t mean much to me. I found it weird how Cav which no real-world xp can pull of so much shit. It’s just convenient for him to be skilled in those areas that are needed… it actually became too much. I think he was my favorite character (and Puck).

Adequin’s character was kind of underwhelming. I wanted to admire and love her characterization but I also couldn’t care. The romance between her and another crew member was meh, I didn’t feel any chemistry and it felt like just another addition to the plot, a way to make humanize Adequin since she’s strict most of the time but it useless.

A lot was going on and I seldom do that but on a specific chapter, I had NO CLUE what they were doing (the technical stuff) so I skipped a few pages because truly, I gave up trying to understand in this book. It was too confusing for me. They use a lot of terms and such that weren’t properly explained and when they were, it was too late since they’re not relevant anymore. Even the whole world-building was confusing to me and I did try to make sense of things (that’s why sci-fi isn’t for me).

Nonetheless, I did enjoy reading this book for the most part and the ending left me interested enough to want to read the sequel because it was well done. To me, this was a plot-driven book and not character-driven although the author tried to make her characters more realistic and give them depth yet I wasn’t attached to them and felt mostly flat to me. I couldn’t stop reading the last part and that’s why I wanted to give this book 4 stars but now.. yeah I didn’t enjoy it enough to rate it 4 stars.

Thanks to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and Netgalley for the arc.

Profile Image for Allison.
Author 12 books169 followers
December 17, 2020
A band of scrappy criminal misfits banished to the edge of space, forced to act fast to save the universe from certain destruction? Um yeah, don't mind if I do!

THE LAST WATCH is everything you want in your new favorite sci-fi series, but what sold me most was how deeply I fell in love with every single character. Cavalon Mercer, pure of heart and dumb of ass. Rake, who I'd take eight bullets for. Griffin, bless his large soul. Jack, the emotionally reticent right-hand man of my dreams. Every character is so beautifully and fully human, and I know they'll stay with me for a good long time.

Also the tension in this book is through the roof. It's one of those books where you tell yourself you're going to stop for a while, then you give in and read one more chapter because you can't stop THERE, and then somehow two hours have passed.

This series is going to have a loud and vocal fan base when it releases next year, and I can't wait to get my hands on the next adventure.
Profile Image for Michael Mammay.
Author 8 books412 followers
October 10, 2020
Great new SF. Like Battlestar Galactica meets the Night's Watch from Game of Thrones. Excellent space action, great characters. I read this a while back, when it hadn't been added to goodreads yet. Highly recommended for anyone who likes The Expanse, CJ Cherryh's books, or other semi-realistic space action.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,179 reviews211 followers
December 18, 2021
My own nomination for worst story of the year. Senseless. While my good friend Jeanne is right when she says, "(thanks to "fast" listening capabilities on audiobook)," it can't be quick enough for this dreadful, long and awful #1. Number II? #1 was more than enough torture. If this is humankind's last hope, we're doomed. 0 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Genevieve Gornichec.
Author 7 books1,900 followers
December 4, 2020
"The Night's Watch in space" is a good way to pitch this book, but it also doesn't do THE LAST WATCH justice. Because this is a book that takes place in space, but it's also a book about people, and the relationships between them are the most interesting part. And let me tell you, I am here for character-driven sci-fi.

I was hooked from the very first page by Cavalon's personality alone, but as the book goes on, I ended up feeling for every single character, especially Rake. RAKE!! And Griff! And Jack! And also:

When you have a book populated by outcast soldiers, backstories are important because you wonder from the outset what each of them did to get where they are, stationed in exile on the edge of space. Each character's story is compelling, and the twists thrown in specifically in Rake's and Cav's are especially twist-y and made me hunger for more. I cannot wait for the next installment in this series to read more about these put-upon soldiers in space.
Profile Image for Karli.
3 reviews3 followers
November 8, 2020
Exciting, well-paced, space adventure! Pitched as Battlestar Galactica meets the Night's Watch from A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), which is accurate in all the best ways. I'll take the liberty of adding: with a captain that gives off major Commander Shepard vibes (Mass Effect). I enjoyed the ride and cannot wait to read more (dangit why did I read an ARC? Now I have to wait even longer for the next book, woe unto me!) As an aside I am jealous of J.S. Dewes' skills with dialogue. Thrilled I got a chance to read this book before it was released! Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Mary Robinette Kowal.
Author 238 books4,880 followers
April 23, 2021
What a fun ride! Snarky banter, space battles with physics that makes sense, and appropriate use of tethers -- look. We all have our priorities. -- I enjoyed the heck out of this debut and look forward to seeing what she does next.
Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,501 reviews442 followers
July 15, 2021
Two hundred years after humanity defeated the evil alien Viators after a thousand-years' war, the Viators return. But it's been five years, and the hero of the war, Adequin Rake, is cooling her heels on at the edge of the universe, stuck in a deconstructed battle cruiser at the Divide, watching for the return of her enemies. It's a boring job, but someone has to do it—and it's going the same as usual until a new Sentinel soldier arrives, and the Divide begins to do some wonky shit. Soon everyone's life is in danger, and it's up to Rake—and Cavalon—to save the universe.

Okay. I don't even know to sum up my thoughts on this one.

There was a lot of potential, and the individual parts were all there to make this shine, but in the end it was a bit of a mess. The parts came together eventually, but not enough to salvage the whole. It was just...messy.

As is my review.

It felt like I was reading fanfic written by an enthusiastic writer in their early career. I mean that in the nicest possible way, because I love fanfiction and I love fanfiction writers. The beats were all there—the emotions, the banter, the relationships, the world-building, but everything felt scrambled together and haphazardly rearranged. As such, everything failed to hit right. It felt...off. To the point where I felt I like I read a different book than everyone else.

Particularly the world-building hit not so great. There are a lot of terms thrown about, and normally I'm okay with that early on in the book because I expect details to unravel later, but when the definitions and explanations did come, it was well after the necessary time. There's a lot of unpack in this world—mega corporations, clones, aliens, genetics, physics, the Divide, the military and its relationships with people, being a ship captain (whatever that meant??? It seemed Rake's inabilities were all part of her mind????), a romance, space battles, lots of zipping to and fro from places, time ripples, etc., etc., etc., there was a lot and it felt like things were popped out there without elaboration or explanation or connection, and while I don't like things spoonfed to me, I like a little more connective tissue between the threads, particularly when I can see what the author is trying to do but it's just not entirely coming together.

Additionally, the relationships failed with me. Cavalon is the quirky, smart-but-fuckup prince sent to the Divide to shape the fuck up (but really sent for other reasons). Adequin Rake is the stand-up military hero filled with conviction and boredom and angst over not doing enough as a leader. Their relationship felt forced the entire time (they are not romantic), and the secondary characters all felt like names on a page instead of actual people, including my favorites—Jackin and Puck. I felt nothing for Adequin's relationship with what's-his-face, because it was a haphazard mix of tell vs show, and he was basically a hot, older name on the page instead of a person who felt real.

One of the things I did like is that the book addresses a lot of misconceptions about dying in a vacuum and operating in space. So bonus points for that (although not so sure about the whole concept of a line of parked cruisers at the edge of the universe—that was something that I just couldn't wrap my head around).

I probably would have been able to overlook a lot of the failures in character development and world-building—and even the very uneven pacing of this book—except it was so...so.

Okay, how do I even start this?

Well, the book starts off with Cavalon getting anally probed in a search for contraband. Like, he's literally bending over, making a joke about it, and then oops there're the fingers. He's joking about it to disperse some of his awkwardness and discomfort in the entire situation, but still.

The tone is jovial but the subject matter is—well. It's a man getting anally probed. It's a prison rape joke, perpetuated with the guard/prisoner dynamic. It's played off as all well and standard, but again, there's the joke aspect underlying what happened. I just—it hit me wrong. I might be misreading it, but again, if it had been approached a little better instead of this weird tonally funny vibe, I might have been okay? But it just felt like the entire situation was approached as a joke, and I wondered why the hell this was literally the first scene in the book—or hell, why it was included at all. It added nothing to Cavalon's character, nothing to the story line, it sure as fuck wasn't funny (prison rape jokes never are, and neither are military processing "examination" jokes) or handled well.

Plus, there's another scene were Adequin and Cavalon are trying to make a repair outside the station because only those two can do it, and they tell a story to get Cavalon's mind off the dangers of space walking and being outside in a vacuum. Adequin's story is how she joined the military as a sixteen year old (and lied about her age to the recruiter), and Cavalon jokes about her seducing the recruiter/the recruiter taking advantage of this young "seductress."

Jokes about statutory rape are never cool, and it really grates when folks joke about recruiters taking advantage of poolees (or the idea of the jailbait seductress taking advantage of the poor, older man who is actually in the position of power in this situation), because these are both very serious issues, and are things that run rampant in the military today. Granted, it turns out (much later) that Adequin's recruiter actually had integrity and put a quick stop to her flirting, but it was still written in a way that diminished the very real impact of that action.

Recruiters having sex with their poolees is a fucking punchline, and it's an awful stereotype women in the military endure. Seeing it here—with an underaged kid flirting with a recruiter to get what she wants—set up as a joke/trivial story and kinda played off as not a big deal (it was addressed later, to an extent, but the damage was done, and they didn't really address the underaged aspect or the power differentials), was really annoying.

Anywho, so while the pacing is uneven, the character development is kinda all over the place, and the world-building is messy, I really just had a hard time with the tone of this. And especially with those two scenes (there were a couple others that felt the same to me, but I didn't include them).

I feel that it tried to do too much and didn't provide enough connective tissue to hold everything together, and that it really needed some sensitivity readers to handle the subjects that might not seem sensitive or touchy, but totally were.

So long story short—it was messy.

I can 100% see the appeal—plucky cast of outcasts banding together to save the universe in space—and I even kept reading to see if it would get better and hit the pitches it was swinging at, but the execution was just a big no for me. There were a lot of balls being thrown (to continue my shitty baseball analogy) but not hits.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,071 reviews2,631 followers
April 26, 2021
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/04/26/...

Well, color me pleasantly surprised! I’m usually super skeptical with any book whose blurb invokes comparisons to The Expanse because, man, that’s one tough promise. Still, I must doff my hat to J.S. Dewes, because I have a feeling The Last Watch is about to become my next big sci-fi obsession.

To set the scene, imagine the dark and lonely reaches at the edge of the universe, beyond which simply nothing exists. This is the Divide. Here is where the Argus keeps its watch, the space station home to a ragtag crew of misfits known as the Sentinels. They are considered the dregs of society—criminals, exiles, court-martialed military personnel and ex-soldiers—all of them have nowhere else to go. However, at the Divide, they have a very important role and purpose. Their job is to patrol edges of space, maintaining the warning and defense systems in place to protect against any unknown threats. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when humanity was nearly wiped out by an alien species called the Viators, and only after multiple wars and untold number of deaths did they finally manage to drive the invaders out. Although that had been many years ago, the Sentinels aren’t about to take any chances, always remaining vigilant and on alert.

But now comes a danger no one was expecting. The Divide is starting to collapse, threatening to destroy everyone and everything with it. The commander of the Argus, a Titan veteran of Viator war named Adequin Rake, is suddenly faced with some difficult choices. With the lives of more than two thousand Sentinels now resting in her hands, their survival will depend on her next steps. First, they must find a way to stop the collapse, but with communications down and their resources stretched to the limits, the Argus finds itself isolated and cut off from all help. Left with no other recourse, Rake turns to the wise-cracking and irreverent Cavalon Mercer, an exiled prince from the Allied Monarchies of the Core. Cavalon had been sent to the Divide for apparently pissing off his family, though he alone knows the real reason. Still, while he may be a rogue and an asshole of the highest order, his upbringing and education had supplied him with a wealth of knowledge in a variety of different fields—knowledge that Rake hopes may help her get the Argus and the universe out of their current jam.

The initial setup felt a bit slow, especially those sections immediately following the opening chapters in which we first meet Cavalon, whose blithe attitude helped establish a snappy tone for the book. But once things switch to focus on Adequin Rake, the pacing takes a steep nosedive as the narrative turns to giving readers a detailed rundown of the world-building and story background. Needless to say, there’s a lot to take in, even if all the information is necessary. Then of course, we have Rake, whose personality is very different from that of Cavalon’s. As a leader, she runs a tight ship and does not tolerate any incompetence or disrespect. At the same time, she’s also compassionate and thoughtful, dedicated to her duties which includes maintaining the wellbeing of her space station and crew. Some might even say she cares too much. Regardless, this need to explain the history of the setting along with detailed backstories for all our disparate characters ultimately led to an unevenly paced introduction, and consequently a slower ramp-up.

Having said that though, I would be hard pressed to level any other criticism at The Last Watch, because simply put, the rest of the book was as close to perfection as you can get. The action? Awesome. The character development? Magnificent. As I mentioned, Rake and Cavalon may be polar opposites, but when forced to work together to stop the collapse, the efficient synergies they created were undeniable. Then there was the supporting cast. Dewes impressed me with the amount of thought and attention she must have put into creating each character, because from sidekicks to love interests, every single one of them was a well-rounded, memorable and important member of the team. Of this ensemble, I especially enjoyed Mesa, a genetically engineered human-alien hybrid known as a Savant, and Griffith, because I loved watching this tough old soldier turn all sweet and tender when he was with Rake. Honestly, though—Cavalon, Rake, Griffin, Mesa, Jackin, Puck, Emery—I could easily rave on for pages about each of them. These are people you want to root for and cheer them on when they succeed, or break down into blubbering, crying ball of tears when they go down. They feel like your friends and family.

So, I’d be careful before you go picking this up, because you will get hooked! Seriously, I needed the sequel, like yesterday. Luckily, the next book, The Exiled Fleet, is already slated for release this summer, just months away but which is still going to feel like a long time to wait. I anticipate an even more explosive and high-powered book, now that we’d be able to jump right into the action. Looking forward to it with unbounded excitement!
Profile Image for La Crosse County Library.
571 reviews158 followers
January 5, 2022
Review originally published July 2021

Two staff members wrote reviews for this title. Enjoy!

Cora's review of The Last Watch :

Boy is The Last Watch great science fiction!

I found myself having a hard time putting the book down. While I will concede that the characters do follow commonly established tropes, I found that they were all enjoyable, and the crew played off each other very well. (My favorite dynamic was between Commander Adequin Rake and the wisecracking genius and princeling Cavalon Mercer. I think Cavalon shaped up well though by the end of the story.)

I think the biggest reason I got sucked into this book was the underdog narrative surrounding the Sentinels, who have been underfunded and understaffed by the Legion, even as they become the only ones that can stop the Divide--aka the edge of the universe--from collapsing inwards towards civilization and dooming them all. A ridiculously tall order for a bunch of misfits who clearly don't have the budget or the patience for this.

[In that sense, I did get a Game of Thrones vibe with the Night Watch being a similar punishment for criminals and a convenient dumping ground for discarded political rivals. And the fact that they were woefully unprepared for the threat posed by the Night King and his minions, the major external threat to their society.]

By far, Adequin Rake was my favorite character, having to wrangle the misfits under her command to do what they can to survive, let alone figure out how to repair the enemy "beacons" key to their survival--dark matter generators keeping the universe from collapsing in on itself built by the ridiculously technologically advanced Viators, a hostile alien species with whom humanity had a war that almost made humanity go the way of the dinosaurs. She's scrappy and resourceful and knows how to kick butt when she needs to make a point. I loved that there wasn't a big deal made about her gender; she was a leader, and that was that.

So, by all rights, none of them should have survived when pitted against physical alien enemies let alone and wrangling with the very forces that hold the universe together. Spoiler alert: they do survive! Although, it's a very bumpy ride and there were many, many close calls that kept me on the edge of my seat. (Of course, I'm not going to spoil any more of the story, because The Last Watch is an experience!)

I highly recommend this to any sci-fi buffs out there. As soon as I heard there was a second book coming out, I immediately jumped on reserving a copy from my library. This is a series that I am eagerly following, and can't wait to see what happens next!

Brandon's review of The Last Watch :

The book is sold as a Game of Thrones and The Expanse mix, but honestly it is not like that all. I would say a mixture of Blindsight by Peter Watts and an amalgamation of other sci-fi books across the genre with a hint of the Black Company mixed in. The characters were very trope-like in design, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying them.

The plot of this book started adding tangents and setting up numerous plotlines that doesn’t seem like they will be resolved in only a book or two in the future. The Last Watch drops you right into the thick of it with little backstory at first until it is gradually revealed piece by piece by different characters.

Thankfully, there is not a large cast of characters and even less POVs to read about which made it easier to follow plot points brought up by backstories (quite a bit of these). The two main characters it follows are an exiled sardonic prince who is the grandson of a diabolical ruler, and the commander of the watch who used to be the hero of all humanity until she too got exiled into this band of criminals.

The plot meanders a little at first by introducing characters and their motivations before taking off later. When the story takes off it creates a sense of urgency, which I liked, that hung over the heads of our protagonists creating a harrowing timeline to finish their mission.

The Last Watch has it all from aliens, timey-wimey shenanigans with time, galactic politics, genetic modification, powers, rag tag band of ex-soldier criminals, storied pasts, and of course the end of the universe. Not only is there the end of the universe hanging over them that they are trying to prevent, but any help they might receive might not come since it appears as if they are abandoned by the rest of humanity.

The band of miscreants must come together with all they have to try to save all life as they know it even if the rest of humanity doesn’t know what is happening. It can be overwhelming with so many plot lines that are set up, but even though it feels cluttered, I am excited to read more in this universe. I quite liked the usage of different POVs in this book unlike in other books I’ve read because the characters did feel different from one another, and it was interesting to experience the same events taking place from each of their unique perspectives. All in all, this was a fun read for me that embraced the tropes to set up a series that I will pay attention to in the future.

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Profile Image for H.M. Long.
Author 7 books777 followers
October 25, 2020
As soon as I read the description for this book, it became one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. Thankfully I didn't have to wait until release! I received an advanced copy and it did not disappoint.

The Last Watch starts gently, sketching out life on the edge of the universe for a cast of scrappy rejects and fallen heroes. Then everything, essentially, explodes (or more accurately, implodes), and you're riveted to the edge of your seat for the next 400 pages of heart-pounding, Drudger-stabbing, time-skewing, how-can-they-possibly-get-out-of-this-one goodness.

Overall, The Last Watch is a fast-paced sci-fi debut that takes the hallmarks of the genre and injects them with a fresh voice, intriguing technology, and a loyal cast that left me with all the warm fuzzies. I can't wait to get my hands on book two!
Profile Image for Anissa.
880 reviews268 followers
May 24, 2021
I didn't get The Expanse (because bantery found family in space & also serious peril, I guess?) or GOT (yes, I know they're on the Watch but still, no) vibes but this did feel a bit like the BSG reboot's beginnings (I'll explain later). What's important is, I liked it.

This was a page-turner (more the second half) and I was surprised at the page count when I checked. The ending isn't really one so I'm interested in the second book. I was so intent on reading that I read the last line and loved it so much I highlight it and went to the next page thinking there was more and found myself in the Acknowledgements. I was so confused I backtracked to make sure I hadn't skipped a chapter. Then, disappointed because this installment was over.

The way it reminded me of BSG's beginnings is that here too, humanity had a foe, there was an epic war and that foe pretty much pulled up stakes and hasn't been seen or heard from since... until now maybe. I liked that and it made me interested to know more. The ship here is a whole lot downgraded from the Galactica. They don't have jump capability and are way short on sustainability supplies but the feeling of being an out-moded ship is conveyed. There's quite a bit of in-world terminology but as explained I was able to visualize what was being conveyed. My favourite thing was that the characters have tattoo-like imprints that can morph and move to strengthen or protect parts of their bodies when engaged in fights (there are a good many instances & opportunities) or working/hauling things. Very cool. The characters were mostly fine and even for one of the mains that I didn't really like, I appreciated his abilities and he was an integral part to helping the team. This moved so fast that there wasn't a whole lot in the deep characterization area but the characters were mostly enjoyable and interesting.

So, I'm looking forward to the next installment and also, this is something that I'd watch an adaptation of.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
January 24, 2022
I'm really surprised how this turned out.

The opening to this rather traditional space opera, with its huge premise of a never-ending war with aliens, trapped on the wavefront of our own collapsing universe, with wonky time-space effects, a military installation that feels more like a prison than anything else, gave it a strong opening. I didn't even mind how the snarky Gary Stu character dominated the first few pages because he quickly became a lot more rounded and we were given a nice selection of other interesting characters to sink our teeth into.

Indeed, I had the feeling like I was reading a substantially different version of Old Man's War but with the same nitty-gritty feel, and that's a great thing.

From there, I enjoyed the great action, the worldbuilding mysteries that were uncovered, the character developments and tragedies, and, eventually, the totally delicious BDOs and the big-scale view of this entire conflict.

This is some really good SF and I hope it gets super popular because I'm gonna want to see a ton more of this.
Profile Image for Jen.
1,783 reviews59 followers
October 26, 2020
Science Fiction is one of my favorite genres, and J.S. Dewes' debut novel The Last Watch was a compelling adventure in space. The absorbing plot and engaging characters kept me enthralled.

The Sentinels stationed on the Argus are a mixed bag that have some problematic reason for their posting: hacking, disobeying an order, lack of respect for officers, etc. Adequin Rake, the Commander of the Argus, is a Titan--one of the elite soldiers during the last war. Titans are legendary heroes and Quin is one of the best known...so why has she been relegated to the edge of the Divide?

The first chapter begins with a "spread your legs" scene as a new recruit goes through the physical examination of entering his new post. Cav Mercer is relieved that his reason for being banished to the Argus has been redacted; he'd rather no one know his identity and lineage. Brilliant, with a list of advanced degrees, Cav is also a smartass. A failing he needs to overcome if he is going to survive as a new recruit with no military background.

The Last Watch is a smart military space opera with a gripping plot and characters you can't help but root for as they attempt to stave off the collapsing of the universe.

Read in Oct.; blog post scheduled for March 1, 2020.

Military Science Fiction, Space Opera April 20. Print length: 480 pages.
Profile Image for Eric.
179 reviews32 followers
January 14, 2021

J.S. Dewes impressive debut, The Last Watch, had me staying up late wanting to read just one more page from beginning to end. The Last Watch feature big ideas, kick-ass characters, and an environmental collapse; you have to try to not be interested in this book. Highly recommended!

Disclaimer: I received an eARC from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Any opinion that follows is mine and mine alone.

Review: The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes

Our universe is expanding, and there exist three possible states of universal growth. The first, and most likely, is that the universe will continue to expand forever to its heat death. The second is that whatever force is causing the universe to expand will reach equilibrium with gravity, and the universe will reach a stable size. The final is that gravity will eventually overpower the expansion force, and the universe will begin to contract. This is known as the big crunch. In The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes, the universe has reached equilibrium and is neither expanding nor contracting. This gives the universe an edge, an end point, and who better to stick there than the misfit soldiers and the occasional misbehaving prince. Soon, that lovely edge begins to move inward, destroying anything and everything in it’s path, including the ship set to guard the edge against humanity’s ancient foe, the Viator. Can Commander Adequin Rake protect her crew from the universe itself?

The Last Watch starts off with the intake processing of Cavalon Mercer, who, though not a soldier, got himself stationed at the edge of the universe. Cavalon gets thrust into an important role quickly because of his studies. As an idle royal, Cavalon spent his time pursuing advanced degrees, which sounds heavenly to me. He soon meets Excubitor Adequin Rake, commander of the Argus, hero of humanity, and legendary Titan. For her sins, she got promoted to babysit misfits at the edge of the universe after the war with the deadly Viator ended. The Argus is ancient and falling apart. It’s also humanity’s first line of defense if the Viator return. In reality, it’s a place to stash the soldiers that the military doesn’t want. Cavalon nuked his grandfather’s genetic labs, which was enough to get exiled from the family and sent to the Divide. As the edge of the universe begins to collapse, Rake has to deal with losing the people under her command without help from the inner systems. Along the way, she also has to tame the petulant Cavalon in order to use his knowledge and talents to save as many as possible.

As soon as I read about this book on Edelweiss, I knew I wanted it. Once I saw that beautiful cover, my interest grew. The Last Watch blew away all my expectations. I don’t often enjoy natural disaster novels, but I loved The Last Watch. This novel is built on BIG ideas, but the focus remains on the characters and their decisions. Cavalon starts out a jerk who thinks the world is against him, and what he needs is Rake. She challenges him to be better and gives him structure. Since he hasn’t been through the same basic training as the other soldiers, his inexperience in space and high pressure situations degrade his expertise. Rake, burdened by her own secrets, acts more as a babysitter for the misfits on the Argus than a commander, and this suits her just fine. As the collapse begins, she tries to push off her leadership duties as soldiers under her command lose their lives. I loved both of these characters journeys towards being better people. Cavalon struggles to learn how to perform and live up to expectations from someone he respects, and Rake must adjust her leadership style to save her people.

The Viator

Humanity’s enemy doesn’t show up much in the novel, and when they did, it had all the more impact. Instead, we get to see the two species that were the Viator geneticists attempt to cross themselves with humans. The Savants got intellect, grace, and an appearance that is alien yet not frightening. The Drudgers, however, look more like Viators than humans, and they were created to be front line warriors. They’re large, strong, and nearly impervious.

That said, when we do see the Drudgers, they’re not quite as frightening as they’re supposed to be. The humans deal with them relatively easy yet not without taking damage. I hope we get to see more of them in the next books; I want to see more of why they’re so feared.


The politics of the Divide aren’t front and center, but if you pay attention, the hints are quite interesting. Cavalon is a prince, who notes that his grandfather is the power behind the throne. I’m interested in seeing more of how the politics work. Cavalon’s grandfather leans heavily toward the fascistic side of the political spectrum. Is this just his world? Or are the many worlds of humanity ruled by monarchs? In this high tech age, has humanity reduced itself to feudalism?

Space Well Done

Dewes nailed the mechanics of space and how novices would react to being surrounded by it. There’s a scene where Rake and Cavalon have to go outside a ship to fix it. Rake is a veteran of space operations, but Cavalon has never been outside a ship in the hard vacuum. The stark difference between how they move and how they react rang true to me. For example, Cavalon drops a screw and reaches down to pick it up. But in space, you don’t drop anything as there’s no gravity. The screw will stay where you release it (assuming you’re not moving), but Cavalon reacts as he would in full gravity by bending over to pick up the screw. This is a terrible idea, and he upsets the balance of forces, requiring a rescue. I won’t say more, but I loved this minor scene.

As an aerospace engineer, reading about space involves a lot of suspension of disbelief in SF novels. Modern SF novels have much better depictions of space, but I can’t remember reading a description of space that made me as claustrophobic as Dewes wrote in the above scene. I loved it. The vastness of space is difficult to imagine because so much of our experience involves gravity. Dewes does a great, great job describing what I believe what working in space is like.

The Environment at the Edge of the Universe

The Last Watch features the collapse of the environment in a much more literal way than what we are facing with climate change. But the humans in the story react similarly. When they learn what is happening, they deny it. This creates a delay, and lives are lost because of the delay. This perfectly encapsulates how many people treat climate change. They won’t acknowledge the truth until they have no choice. I think this is well done and not – repeat, not – didactic.

One of the coolest features in the book takes place near the edge of the universe. The high amount of gravity along the divide creates ripples in time. They’re cool and weird. It was a wonderful addition to an odd concept of the edge of the universe.


J.S. Dewes’s The Last Watch is a fantastic debut novel. Big ideas, great characters, and universal collapse make for a fun, fast read. I’m ready for the sequel, and I’m confident that Dewes has a great story to tell. I had high expectations for The Last Watch; it was my most anticipated debut novel for the year. This disaster novel delivered on…well, everything. I can’t wait to see where the Divide series takes me.

The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes is available from Tor Books on April 20th, 2021.

9 out of 10!
Profile Image for Traveling Cloak.
282 reviews40 followers
March 1, 2021
The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes is as spectacular a science fiction story as one is going to find. From a plot that is full of drama to amazing characters that are relatable and interesting, all over a backdrop of a futuristic space setting, The Last Watch is nearly flawless.

You want suspense? Let’s start with this: THE FREAKING UNIVERSE IS COLLAPSING! Does it get any more dramatic than that? My heart starts beating fast just thinking about, imagining the edge of the Universe rapidly closing in on itself, threatening to annihilate everything inside its walls. Now imagine you are on a spaceship and part of a crew whose only job it is to keep track of that border and ensure everything is going fine. YOU HAD ONE JOB, and it is going so poorly the whole of the world is doomed.

Maybe. Maybe not. But the crew of the spaceship Argus is facing long odds on this one, and they will soon find out that saving the Universe is not a simple task. That brings me to my first talking point: how great the plot is. In their efforts to stop the apocalypse from coming to fruition, this group is pushed to the brink. They are met with conflict after conflict. Things get so tough at times that not having anyone explode is considered a good day.

"Adequin shook her head, but decided to let it be. It was over now, and no one had exploded."

Those are pretty low standards, but if one has experienced everything the crew of the Argus has one takes any positives one can find. Silver linings are few and far between, so they have to accept them as they come. At times, it feels as though their backs are against the wall, and they are willing to try anything to get results – even utilizing unknown alien technology.

"Mesa stormed across the room and pulled him away with a sharp, annoyed grimace. ‘Please do not put your appendages into things when you do not know what they do.'"

All of this to say the plot is so full of suspense the story is overflowing with drama, and I could not put it down. I had to keep reading, tension-filled page after tension-filled page.

In addition to a great plot, The Last Watch sports a fabulous character set, beginning with the main protagonist of the story, Captain Arlequin Rake. Rake is not only an extraordinary lead character, but a tremendous female lead that pushes back against the tropes. She is neither forced to have “manly” traits nor assume the role of an over-bearing woman, as is often the case with female leads. She is smart, witty, and compassionate – all traits of a great leader. And that is exactly what Rake does throughout this book: lead. She makes hard decision after hard decision, never demanding respect but always getting it because her people believe in her. In the end, I believed in her, too.

"‘Gentle’, Adequin warned. ‘Don’t get him all freaked out. Tell him a story or something. Keeps him focused.’"

Rake is not the only excellent character, though. The rest of the crew is pretty great, as well. I will not name them all, but I will say how impressed I am with Dewes’ ability to write such a diverse cast of characters so well and make every single one of them relatable. Through their actions and dialogue, the reader really gets to know them quite well. I have to say, I was rooting for them to pull it off, and not just because I was rooting for a happy ending. I wanted it to be this crew that made it happen (as if there was going to be anyone else, anyway) because I cared about them and wanted their hard work and tribulations to pay off.

I found the setting to be incredible, too: far far in the future, at the edge of the universe. The whole thing is very well thought-out with space stations, aliens, clones, and even some capitalist imperialism (because some things never change). It made for quite an immersive atmosphere.

The only thing I question is how easy the author took it on the crew during some of the fight scenes. It seemed like too often they would walk into a room and it would be like, “20 of them. 2 of us.” Next thing I knew all 20 enemies were dispatched without a sweat. I think some of those scenes should have been harder on them, but I also wonder if Dewes decided that since the crew almost died every other page that this might be a situation where it made sense to go easy on them. I cannot blame the author for that.

For all the reasons mentioned, The Last Watch is my favorite science fiction read of the year, so far. I found it to be so enthralling that I never wanted it to end. I highly recommend it for fans of the genre. Pick it up; you will not be disappointed. The good news is that there is not a long wait for book 2 in the series, The Exiled Fleet, as it is set to publish in August 2021. I already have it high up on my watch list, and you should, too.
Profile Image for T.A. Chan.
Author 1 book7 followers
April 23, 2021

Void. Where do I even begin? How do I adequately confess my utter adoration for this book?? Well, I think I did most of my ranting about how fucking amazing this book is in my first review so I think this one I will focus more on *why* this is def one of my fave all-time reads in a more composed manner.

1) ACCESSIBLE SCIENCE FICTION that feels very grounded and realistic in physics/science. I think one of my biggest turn-offs with a lot of adult SF book is how *dense* it can be with all the tech-talk (and for what it's worth, I've been swimming in engineering mumbo-jumbo for the past 5 years in uni). I think this is why THE EXPANSE makes such an apt comp to THE LAST WATCH--the shit feels supppper realistic + grounded on facts...but it's never slow paced, never boring--the integration of the "science" info feels super natural and never slows down the pacing.

2) THE CHARACTERS - Cav, Rake, Griff, Puck, Mesa, Jackin, Emmy (I know not her real name but that's what I like to call her in my head lol)...this ride or die crew stole my heart from the get go. I will happily ride the Divide for an eternity with them. Each character felt so real and leapt off the page, each of them with their own unique backstory...<3

3) THE ACTION!!! So I'm one of those readers who get bored pretty quickly if there aren't enough explosions happening. (An average rate of one explosion per three chapters seems to be my happy zone). So many fantastic action sequence (hey Netflix or Universal or Some Film Company--wanna pick this up?) that I can just picture so vividly in mind! And of course, all of this is balanced neatly with the character moments. It's just...*chef's kiss*

IN CONCLUSION: THE LAST WATCH is seriously such a perfect gateway book to science fiction, IMO. It was this book that convinced me to give other Adult SF a try after avoiding them for so long. Anyway, I'll be waiting at the edge of my seat waiting for the sequel to drop!


YA'LL this book is


Profile Image for Lizy.
833 reviews21 followers
January 20, 2021
Thanks so much to Tor Books / Netgalley for getting me an early copy of this book.

I wrote a full review that you can read here

The universe is collapsing, and it's up to a ragtag group of exiled war heroes, a POW survivor, a pick pocket, and an exiled prince to stop it. Using alien technology they barely understand, they're humanity's only chance to stop the very forces of the universe from implosion. This layman's terms hard scifi deals with a little bit of everything: nuclear fission, dark energy, space-time continuums, even how to jury rig warp cores and build stars. It's NOVA meets The Wall from Game of Thrones, and it's easily one of the best debuts of 2021.
Profile Image for Noah Lemelson.
Author 6 books36 followers
January 5, 2021
Really quite excellent! I’m a massive sci-fi fan, buts it's often the case that many decent sci-fi stories have either an interesting idea, or actually well written plot with engaging characters (See Ringworld for a fascinating idea told with cardboard cut-outs). The Last Watch manages to nail both, with memorable characters, a tight plot with epic yet believable stakes, and a conflict that is genuinely unique and inventive. Also manages to balance grim subject matter with a real sense of humor and amusing banter.

Definitely a recommend for people interesting in the more action-packed or adventure-heavy sci-fi, but still want to mull over the intricacies of those complex speculative scenarios that make the genre great. I’ve seen some other review mention Mass Effect and Battlestar Galactica, and yeah, I think if those appeal to you you’ll love The Last Watch, yet despite having some familiar elements it really is its own unique setting and manages to avoid any sense of being derivative. There were a lot of moments where I thought I knew where things were going, only to be surprised and delighted. A great edition to the genre. Easy 5/5
102 reviews1 follower
January 14, 2021
A totally engrossing and exciting book. The story starts fast and never lets go! So many different things are happening at once, twisting and turning as it goes and yet this book barely scratches the surface of where this can go. The characters and world building are complex and compelling. Even the universe seems to have a mind of its own. I can't wait to follow along at warp speed to see where we end up. Fabulous!
Profile Image for Claire Holroyde.
Author 2 books133 followers
November 20, 2020
All who enjoy science fiction space operas need to add THE LAST WATCH by J.S. Dewes to their tbr list come April 2021. It’s fabulous.

The setting is a colonized universe many, many millennia into the future. A governing body known as the System Collective, composed of an Allied Monarchy and a military called the Legion, rules with an iron grip. Soldiers are banished to the starless boundary of the known universe as a disciplinary measure. There they become Sentinels guarding the furthest reaches of space from an advanced alien race thought to be extinct. At least that is the given reason; really they are exiled to be erased.

One of these outposts is a ship named the Argus. Its crew of two hundred is tight-knit and bored, having little to do but hold a grudge. They don’t take kindly to a new, wise-cracking recruit with a redacted record and Imprint tattoos that hint at royal blood. Coinciding with this strange arrival is the discovery that the boundary of space is no longer static but collapsing at increasing velocity and the Sentinels have been abandoned to fend for themselves.

I was drawn in almost immediately—right after the body cavity search that comes with processing our mysterious new recruit. Dewes was trained in film with experience as a script writer, which helps explain why her staging is flawless. The science is also technically strong, but it doesn’t stall or overwhelm the plot, which can happen in the genre. As the first of THE DIVIDE SERIES, the world-building and character backstory are rich and Dewes is deft in recounting history while staying in the present of a high-stakes adventure. And by high stakes, I mean the ultimate stakes of total annihilation. I grew annoyed by all the real-life distractions that pulled me away from saving the universe. The end comes with a righteous, rallying cry leading to a mission of epic proportions. I’m already on the lookout for the sequel.

This Advanced Reader Copy was graciously provided by the author in an ARC swap. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for Erin Brown.
14 reviews
January 24, 2021
I recently discovered my love for the Science Fiction/Space Opera genre, and this book was everything I could have hoped for. It kept me completely engrossed, and wanting more at every turn. I absolutely LOVED the characters! I am looking forward to when more in the series is available! Definitely worth the read, highly recommend!
Profile Image for Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews).
1,700 reviews873 followers
April 3, 2021
An excellent debut and one that left me already excited for the sequel. Creative, imaginative scifi plot built around a group of misfit soldiers MacGyvering their way to saving the universe. Totally fun and immensely readable. For fans of the Expanse and/or Scalzi's Interdependency series.
Profile Image for M.J. Kuhn.
Author 2 books366 followers
December 1, 2020
I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this book and you guys DO NOT want to miss it! I had an eARC, which meant I just walked around my house balancing my laptop on my palms for three days because I could not stop reading it.

Where do I even begin? The characters were so incredibly real in this story. I found myself relating deeply to both the screw-up-royal-turned-soldier, Cavalon, and the badass-war-hero-with-a-dark-secret Adequin Rake. The societal structure set forth by THE LAST WATCH is compelling and militaristic, and completely believable for humanity, had it faced what humanity has faced by page one of the story.

I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't say much about the plot, but let's just say it kept me on the edge of my seat. The most intense, page-turning ticking-clock scenario I think I've ever seen in a book, honestly. Also, I have literally already preordered the sequel haha, and am already COUNTING THE DAYS until August.

I read a lot of SFF, but as a non-sciencey person myself, I tend to lean more toward fantasy because occasionally I find SF novels get bogged down in technicalities I just straight up don't understand. That was not the case with this story. Don't get me wrong - this book was SMART. Dewes clearly did her freaking homework as far as the basis of the science stuff in here. But the super techy stuff was written in such an accessible way that at no point did I get dragged down by details and pulled out of the story.

Anyways, to sum up, 10/10, this book will rock your freaking Imprints off.
Profile Image for Sonja Arlow.
1,094 reviews7 followers
July 11, 2021
This was readable but with a strong deja vu feel to it. I found nothing in the pages that stood out as very unique.

The overarching story is interesting enough.

A band of criminals and misfits are posted at the edge of nowhere to monitor the Divide. A dominant alien species was wiped out years ago but just in case the sludge of society is sent to keep watch. And then something happens that seems worse than even aliens. The edge of the universe seems to be collapsing.

My biggest gripe is with the Divide, and specifically its speed in which it is contracting. It seems to move at whatever speed the plot needs it to - sometimes thousands of kilometers an hour, other times slow enough for characters to literally run away from it.

Some action scenes were also not explained quite well enough for me to “see” it while reading.
Even though I wasn’t completely blown away I am giving it 3 stars as I found the characters entertaining enough to warrant the rating.

Not sure if I will continue with the series.

Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,206 reviews3,190 followers
May 26, 2021
3.5 Stars
This was an engaging space opera that delivers an exciting plot and some enjoyable characters. I definitely saw the comparisons to the Nights Watch (from A Song of Ice & Fire) along with similarities to Mass Effect. At the same time, the plot completely stood on its own. I don't read a lot of action driven science fiction, but this one was exciting and easy to follow. I am very interested in reading the next book in the series.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Profile Image for Elena Linville.
Author 1 book62 followers
April 1, 2021
Stars: 5 out of 5

I think I found my new favorite scifi series, and I have been looking for one for a long time.

This book has it all, at least in my opinion - great worldbuilding, multifaceted characters, high stakes, and non-stop action.

Worldbuilding: I love when the author progressively introduces me to their world and does it right. You won't find any infodumps here. You won't have characters rehashing events or concepts that they SHOULD already know just for the sake of telling the reader what's going on. No, sir, no ma'am. We get thrown off the deep end along with Cav, one of our protagonists, who was just sent to the Divide, or the butt of nowhere to serve along with the Sentinels, another bunch of criminals and misfits that the rest of the world would rather forget. It is stressful and confusing at first, but the puzzle of this world gets assembled one little piece at a time, and I found myself fascinated by it. I really want to know more about this world and the aliens and what lies beyond the Divide, if there is anything.

Characters: Cav is a genius in some things, and a complete idiot in others, like human interaction and keeping his mouth shut. He was a spoiled prince who just wanted to stick one to his uncle and rebel against his control... and never thought all the consequences through. That's one of his biggest weaknesses - he doesn't respect authority and he doesn't think about consequences. But he isn't a complete moron either. He learns, he adapts, and he definitely becomes a better human being by the end of the story. I was really rooting for him throughout the book.

But my biggest favorite is Adequin. She is such a wonderfully complex and flawed character. She tries her best to keep her derelict ship from falling apart and her crew of misfits from killing each other and themselves. She thinks that she isn't cut for command, because she was just a pilot, but when shit hits the fan and thousands of lives depend on her, she picks up the mantle and does the impossible to keep as many of these people safe as she can.

There are a lot of other supporting characters that stand out, and you can't help but like them for their quirks and flaws that make them so alive, it's refreshing. Unfortunately, not all of them will make it to the last page of this book, and I admit that I felt the death of some of them rather deeply.

So we have an interesting world and great characters, which would already rate a book very high in my opinion, but add to that a great story, and you have me hooked. I know book one has barely come out, but I am so ready for the next one!

PS: I received an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for FanFiAddict.
548 reviews143 followers
March 15, 2021
Rating: 9.5/10

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.
Profile Image for Myriam.
360 reviews50 followers
May 18, 2021
Marketing, man. It will get you every damn time. I'm not stupid so I didn't *really* expect this to be a cross between The Expanse and GOT. I *was* expecting this to at least match these in tone if not in quality.

I was disappointed on all counts. The ragtag band of soldiers I was expecting turns out to be a random cast of side characters without much depth or edges. The male main character reads like he wandered in from the latest YA release and got lost and the wannabe badass commander Adequin Rake is a Strong Female Character.

The worldbuilding is *this* close to being at least interesting but unfortunately the author got lost and kept focusing on the wrong things to explain so I ended up mostly confused and annoyed by it. Also the pseudo latin influence got old really fast. I kept stumbling over the rank signifiers because a coherent picture of the military structure refused to form.

Speaking of military structure. The whole conceit of stranding these people out there with barely any resources and no reliable way to contact anyone got strained so hard it snapped five minutes and my suspension of disbelief never recovered. The Night's Watch this is decidedly NOT and I honestly feel offended on behalf of the Night Brothers...

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