Page Count 240
Publication date October 2021
Publisher Aries; Head of Zeus
You can’t see them. But they can see you.This forest isn’t charted on any map. Every car breaks down at its treeline. Mina’s is no different. Left stranded, she is forced into the dark woodland only to find a woman shouting, urging Mina to run to a concrete bunker. As the door slams behind her, the building is besieged by screams.
Mina finds herself in a room with a wall of glass, and an electric light that activates at nightfall, when the Watchers come above ground. These creatures emerge to observe their captive humans and terrible things happen to anyone who doesn’t reach the bunker in time.
Afraid and trapped among strangers, Mina is desperate for answers. Who are the Watchers and why are these creatures keeping them imprisoned, keen to watch their every move?
I’d first planned on saving this ARC to read on my weekend away at a secluded cabin in the woods, but anticipation got the better of me.
Well thank GOD for that! Honestly, I think I’d have been too scared to step outside if i had read it at the cabin.
I love when a horror story holds back on reasoning. We don’t know WHO the Watchers are or even WHAT they are nevermind WHY the house exists or who carved the golden rule of survival into it’s wall… STAY IN THE LIGHT.
Survival horror is a weakness of mine, especially in woodland settings. Alongside the constant fears of starvation, dehydration and injury, The Watchers has added pulse pounding tension in a daily deadline; the race against the sun to get back into the ‘coop’ before the light turns on and the characters are locked out to face whatever horror is heard screaming into the night.
It was only when I paused for a moment to grab a cuppa that I noticed my chest was tight, A.M Shine writes an incredible atmosphere.
The Watchers is written in third as character chapters for each of the captives, Mina, Madeline, Ciara and Daniel as well as a prologue for John’s escape attempt which sets up the story.
Though the novel is short, the nature of the situation lends plenty of scope for character development and Shine makes the most of this. I felt my attitudes constantly changing towards each of them save for Mina the main character.
When the Watchers were explained it all made so much sense, very cleverly done. There was a revelation that took a long time coming, something easily worked out by the reader but Mina took far too long to realise it, I was screaming at her internally!
I really enjoyed the sinister ending to The Watchers and it’s exploration of what it means to be human. A fantastic debut novel, I’ll be looking out for A M Shine in future.