This story has some issues, the biggest of which is no indication in the blurb that this is not a full story. It’s story length, but only part one with a cliffhanger ending rather than concluding one arc with another, larger one, still in play. I’m saying this up front, because many people have issues with that, though the second part is available, so you can just get both. However, I don’t review stories where I didn’t find some value, and The Watcher of the Night Sky certainly passed that standard. I was engaged by the story so the lack of an interim resolution bugged me, but not enough to spoil the whole.
The novel is a bit like a fairytale writ large. The tale is a traditional one of a person happy in their current existence and making plans to keep things that way. Then, she makes one foolish move (one Abigail didn’t even know to be foolish) in a weak moment, and adventure tumbles into her lap.
The large cast appears much like the dwarves showed up on Bilbo’s doorstep, each of them matching some caricature whether the fat Scotsman, the tuneless bard, or an actual, axe-carrying dwarf. While I found some of the behavior and characterization off-putting at times, the story doesn’t stop there. We learn much more about them, a lot of it good. Also, though they are originally described in a stereotypical manner, the characteristics they demonstrate do not continue those patterns.
The last is where the book won me over. Sure, the surface interactions were amusing and the mini adventures entertaining, but how the characters developed and showed their true natures, at least for those who did, captured my attention. The stakes are higher than you might expect, and the story takes a serious turn to the dark side. I think there’s a lot to enjoy, and while I’d have preferred a different breakpoint at the end, I’m happy to have spent time in this odd company.
P.S. I received this ARC through NetGalley in return for an honest review.