Science fiction and fantasy
Along The Watchtower
by David Litwack
The fantasy world adopts the speech patterns and styles of a lot of epic fantasy, but not in a mocking way. I felt this side of the story was quite unimaginative, and was actually the weaker half of the narrative. It's a fairly stock world, and because it echoes the real world there's less mystery about what will happen in it.
The story's main strengths are in the portrayal of Freddie's slow and difficult rehabilitation. He's consumed with guilt about the loss of his squad members, and he also has a troubled past with a lot of family tragedy. His memory is imperfect, so as he fights to heal his leg he's got other issues to work through as well. To begin with he can't even go into a room without checking it for insurgents, for instance. Then there's the question of what happened to the rest of his family.
The realistic side of Along The Watchtower is its best aspect. It's a believable portrait of grief, despair, and recovery. It's quite a slow-building story that gives readers plenty of time to get to know the main characters. I found these very likeable, and I was rooting for Freddie throughout. The plot is somewhat obvious, and I would have liked more things to have happened. However, the story has some satisfying moments of sweetness and poignancy.
26th July 2013
If you like this, try:A Sorcerers Treason (Isavalta Trilogy) by Sarah Zettel
An outcast lighthouse keeper takes on a new role in a different world in Sarah Zettel's first fantasy novel.
Review © Ros Jackson