Curator's Pick: Keeper of the Watch
I approached reading Keeper of the Watch with some apprehension; I seem to have read all too many fantasy-based books that just don’t manage to communicate their ideas very clearly. A lot of their sci-fi and fantasy elements aren’t fully explained, which makes it difficult to fully immerse yourself in the story. I have to say though, that I was pleasantly surprised with Keeper of the Watch.
From the moment that I started reading, I wanted to know more. Kristen L. Jackson does a fantastic job of merging realism with fantasy, and even as we learn about different dimensions and the idea of blood flowing from human body to mechanical watch, nothing seems out of place. As protagonist Chase Walker experiences these things, we do too, which allows Jackson to explain everything in a clear, but not overbearing manner.
One of the most impressive things about this book is how quickly Jackson speeds her readers through various events. Rarely sacrificing detail, she provides a fast-paced feel that matches the tension and drama interwoven in the narrative. It really is rare to find a book that simultaneously features in-depth character development and endless action, yet Keeper of the Watch has it all.
As for the characters, Chase Walker is easy to relate to. He is the clear protagonist, beginning as the nonchalant teenager and ending as the fully-fledged dimension jumper. Alyx, meanwhile, provides an interesting change of perspective. She brings experience to the narrative, guiding Chase, but also growing increasingly impatient with him. Their relationship slows down the pace of the novel and stops it from moving on too quickly.
Chase and Alyx provide an important contrast to each other, and also reveal an important point: this novel is as much about adulthood as it is about magic and alternative dimensions. Chase deals with some very real issues as he is growing up and trying to decide who he wants to be. This is a challenging time for any young adult, but Chase also has to deal with people breaking into his home and a mysterious girl dragging him away to her camp in the woods.
It’s a great book: not too long, but nevertheless filled with content. The characters are satisfying, and the plot is particularly gripping. My only question now is: what will happen in the sequel?