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Book Review: "The Watchers" by A.M Shine

5/5 - an atmospheric masterclass.

By Annie KapurPublished 2 years ago • 3 min read

This is A.M Shine's debut novel that I actually found by sheer accident whilst I was browsing for a new horror novel to read on my Kindle. I kept coming across it after that accident and a few days later, I decided to get it. It then sat on my virtual shelf for a while and then, when I first opened it up, I saw the word prologue. A prologue in a book to some publishers is a very outdated concept but the one thing I thought was 'damn, this is going to be good...' And, I was right, the prologue was bloody amazing. So, let's get into the review of the book entitled The Watchers by A.M Shine.

The first thing I would like to say is that I have seen many people complain about the fact that there is lots of 'bloated prose' in this book and that it could have been a lot shorter. You know how I feel? That they are completely wrong. This book has a ton of atmosphere and is always setting the scene with intensity and the image of the woods. I love the fact that it is established from the very beginning that there is no instance of the woods appearing on any map anywhere. The atmosphere is dark, somewhat creepy and mostly intense, teeming with strangeness. The setting is always changing ever so slightly to make room for even more of the unknown and, as the characters make their way through it (mainly Mina), there is something deeply disturbing about the situation that they are in.

The narrative flicking around like it does only intensifies the horror notion of the book. It intrigues the reader, draws them in and then, in the last quarter of the book - beats them up and socks them around. I thought that this was a brilliant idea and really reminded me of all those Irish Folklore stories I read for my undergraduate dissertation back in the day. I thought that this was probably the hardest part for the writer as well and in order to make it believable, everything needed to relate back in tone, style and set, to that prologue before the actual story happens. It was an absolute success and done just brilliantly.

When it comes to how the story comes together, I thought it was very clever and yet, completely familiar. When I read a book like this, I like something familiar to happen as I have seen in various tropes, with something unfamiliar in the twist of the text. Though I'm not going to reveal exactly what that is, when the book comes towards its final chapters, it does the ending perfectly and manages to bring every piece of the story into just the right place so that the reader can understand the exact resolution an conclusion to the narrative. A.M Shine manages to grab hold of every open end and begin trailing them together so that each connects to another - making the conclusion seem perfectly planned from the very beginning.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. You know how I feel about deeply atmospheric books and well, there is something deeply atmospheric about this. It had been shown to me a lot and finally, I gave in and I'm so happy that I did. Ultimately, I ended up really enjoying these deeply eerie descriptions of the woods at night and the strangeness of the woods during the day. I am very much looking forward to the rest of what A.M Shine has to offer in this genre and the rest of their career.


About the Creator

Annie Kapur

175K+ Reads on Vocal

Film and Writing (M.A)

My New Twitter: @AnnieWithBooks

📍Birmingham, UK

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