Book Review: The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes

Adequin Rake, former Titan, is now the no-nonsense commander of the SCS Argus. Her ship is crewed by Sentinels, military criminals stationed at the edge of the universe to guard against the (presumed nonexistent) Viator threat. Scrupulous and highly respected by her subordinates, Rake is increasingly aware of just how little interest the Legion has in protecting the Sentinels.

Cavalon Mercer, heir to his family’s throne, has been exiled because of his violent rejection of his grandfather’s nefarious plot. Directionless, snarky, and troubled, he has been shipped off to live out his years where he can no longer interfere. Here at the Divide, he finally finds himself with a chance to put his education to good use and cut the shit.

A series of events that should be impossible – time ripples, gravitational pulses, and something sparking in the void – leads to the realization that the universe is collapsing in on itself. Stranded with no comms, Rake and her crew are the only ones left who can stop it. But what do these soldiers, the dregs of the military, know about gravitational tempology?

The Last Watch strikes the perfect balance between character-driven and plot-driven storytelling. Over the course of the novel, we come to know and love the crew of the SGL, including:

  • Jackin North, Rake’s brilliant second-in-command, whose prestigious career is mired in secrecy – why was the Chief Navigations Officer of the First sent to the Divide?
  • Griffith Bach, one of the most lauded spec ops soldiers of his time, and also affectionate enough to break your heart;
  • Amaeus Puck, Cavalon’s easy-going and whip-smart C.O. who has a talent for hacking;
  • Emery Flos, a spunky teen pickpocket with an inexplicable lifetime supply of chewing gum;
  • and Mesa Darox, an ethereal Savant – one of  the two human-Viator genetic crossovers – with an encyclopedic mind and a passion for research.

All the while, mystery after mystery unfolds: How can the Divide truly recede? What really happened in the Viator Resurgence War? What are the Drudgers – the more brutish human-Viator crossover – building in secret? What transgression is Rake desperately trying to compensate for? And why has Legion command abandoned the Sentinels?

Whether you’re looking for some science-y sci-fi, compelling and well-rounded characters, or just a few space battles, this is the book for you. With a first entry as awesome as this one, I’m already anticipating that this will be a new favorite series.

Raise your hand if you’re pre-ordering the sequel before the first book is even released. 🙋🏻‍♀️

You can pre-order both books through my links for, which supports independent bookstores! The Last Watch and The Exiled Fleet

If you’re in the US, you can also find your local indie here.

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