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?
Hi and welcome to my review of The Watchers!
I can’t tell you how happy I am to have stumbled across The Watchers on Twitter! I fell in love with the cover, the premise drew me in further and a hop and a skip and a click later I found I had requested it on NetGalley. I was in that awkward phase when you’ve just finished the book you were reading and you have no clue what to read next while your whole TBR is glaring at you menacingly so when I got approved, I dove right in.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t make it easy for this book to grab me. I started it when I was really too tired to read, and then I fell ill and I had to make my paracetamol-addled brain comply with my reading needs. Still, grab me it did. The Watchers made me want to stay awake when all my body wanted to do was sleep, and trust me when I say that is no mean feat.
Set for the larger part in a remote ancient woodland, the atmosphere in The Watchers couldn’t be more chilling. Every night the light goes on, every night the door locks, every night the watchers come. They shriek, they screech, they scratch the door and rattle the windows. Who are they and will there be an escape for the four people caught in a coop that is both a safe haven and a prison?
As soon as I discovered that A.M. Shine is Irish, I had certain expectations, or rather hopes perhaps, for The Watchers. Ireland is so rich in folklore and fae lore, that I really hoped The Watchers would have a folkloric element. I was not disappointed, the folklore is there, adding to the chilling atmosphere.
With its Bird Box kinda vibe, The Watchers is a truly impressive horror debut that might remind me of existing stories but is still wholly its own tale. I enjoy a good slasher as much as the next gal but I do love it when an author doesn’t need to spill a drop of blood to scare the bejesus out of his readers.
The Watchers is a positively terrifying story, subtle yet dark and disturbing and truly unnerving. I can’t wait for whatever A.M. Shine comes up with next.
The Watchers will be available in eBook and hardcover on 14 October, add this one to your Halloween shopping lists, guys! The paperback will follow in May 2022.
Massive thanks to Aries Fiction (Head of Zeus) and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.