The Watchers

The Trekana Book 1

Young Adult - Fantasy - General
390 Pages
Reviewed on 01/08/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

The Watchers: The Trekana Book 1 by Jo Sisk-Purvis delves deeply into world-building, introducing readers to an idyllic island paradise where violence and war have been unknown for over 500 years. The inhabitants of this world are either watchers or listeners. Watchers have incredibly powerful eyesight but are deaf, and listeners have exceptional hearing but no eyesight. Others called knowers, who possessed telepathic powers, were wiped out following the Civil War that ushered in the five hundred years of peace; they were too powerful and dangerous to be allowed to exist. Alesea is a gifted young musician about to enter womanhood. When a renegade group of watchers, known as the Paav, invade her peaceful island and kidnap the islanders and her entire family, Alesea realizes two things: first, she is a knower, having powers she was not aware of; and second, she must somehow find a way to cross the seas to the faraway Mata City to rescue her family. Along the way, she will meet helpful allies and many enemies and discover the first flames of youthful love.

Jo Sisk-Purvis weaves a fascinating journey into the fantasy world of The Watchers. As the series opener, it does what it should do; it leaves readers thirsting for more, wanting to know what comes next. I particularly appreciated the moral quandaries the protagonist faced; how to lead a revolution against the evil Paav when your life is dedicated to love, peace, and peaceful cooperation? I thoroughly enjoyed her constant internal conflict, balancing the powers she possesses with the ultimate desire never to harm anyone. Alesea is an appealing character. As a young woman, she not only has to deal with knowledge previously withheld from her but also the first bloom of love and competition for her attention from two men she cares about deeply. The world Sisk-Purvis has created contains many interesting facets, especially the history of the races, and I hope to learn more as the series continues. When I finish a book and instantly want to start the next in the series, I know the author has succeeded; this author has, and I can highly recommend The Watchers.

Cecelia Hopkins

The Watchers by Jo Sisk-Purvis sees ships laden with Watchers pull into the harbor. The Matans take the entire population of Akila away to Paav to be sold as slaves. Only Alesea and local watcher Roni are left behind, wounded, and expected to die. Despite believing Roni betrayed the village, Alesea saves his life. The pair sets out together on a quest to retrieve her brother Konu and other family members. They must maintain their act as an engaged couple and remain undetected in the close confines of a ship. All the while, Alesea is struggling to manage her powers and accept her heritage. A commitment to the principles of the A’lodi obliges her to see the best in everyone.

The Watchers by Jo Sisk-Purvis is a young adult adventure full of danger and intrigue. I shivered with apprehension multiple times throughout the narrative as it seemed Alesea and Roni were sure to be caught by the cruel Paav. Along the journey, I enjoyed learning about Alesea’s parentage and read eagerly to see where her destiny would take her. It was intriguing to see the A’lodi in action, which seemed something like the principles of love. It could even be used to reform and defeat an enemy in a timely fashion! I was excited by the romance between Alesea and one of the crew and felt it was poetic for her first love to end in tears. I was also curious whether the prophecy of the Trekana would influence Alesea’s behavior. I can recommend The Watchers by Jo Sisk-Purvis to lovers of series fantasy.

Kim Anisi

The young adult fantasy adventure The Watchers by Jo Sisk-Purvis is the first book in The Trekana series. Readers are introduced to Alesea, who lives on a beautiful island with special trees. Alesea lives in a world of watchers, listeners, doubles, and knowers, although the latter was supposed to be extinct. They were often feared and hated and nobody expected that a knower would be the one who might just save them. Like her mother, Alesea has a great talent for music and could play an instrument and sing. She did not expect that her whole life would change because someone wanted access to the trees on her island, nor did she expect another talent to overshadow her musical abilities. She found herself in the middle of an adventure she would rather not have experienced.

I found The Watchers by Jo Sisk-Purvis to be an engaging novel. The characters were interesting and it was difficult to predict how the plot would develop. I would have preferred it if the idea of watchers, listeners, doubles, and their origin could have been explained much earlier in the novel, perhaps in some sort of prologue. I enjoyed the plot, the pacing, and the struggles of the characters, from Alesea having to learn how to trust someone she perceived as a traitor to a watcher having to deal with being surrounded by people who were different from him. It’s nice to see smaller plots woven into the bigger picture - it gives the whole story more substance and makes you curious about the outcome.