You are being watched, Nakisa Wilson-Khandar Yaghobieh
Watched is a novel written by Tihema Baker, and tells the story of Rory and Jason, two boys in the foster system who attended St Andre’s school in Wellington at the start of the book, when they discover they have superpowers and how their lives change when they are taken to Castle Infinity, being introduced into the world of the Watchers, a secret organisation of people with superpowers. Split apart during the training programme designed to teach them how to control their powers, the boys slowly grow apart and we see how their new life changes them. Told in the third person, alternating between following Jason’s journey at Castle Infinity and Rory’s, Baker immerses the reader in life at Castle Infinity.
The boys are seen as close friends, almost like brothers, at the start of the book, but grow apart as Rory falls into the wrong crowd and wants to prove that he is better than anyone else. He starts to lose sight of the aim of the Watchers, “to protect the world”, and lets his ego get the better of him.
Whereas Jason excels at Castle Infinity, and starts to become his own person, not relying on Rory to help him through life and not living in anyone’s shadow. He starts to become more of a leader, becoming more confident and sure of himself as he is put to the test throughout the training programme. Being separated from Rory becomes a good thing for Jason, as we start to see him become less dependent on others, and becoming more able to take care of himself.
The first three chapters of the book are set in Wellington and set the scene for the possibility of superpowers and the question of why Jason and Rory have those powers. I found it hard to get into the story until the fourth chapter, when the boys and a large group of teenagers from around the world find themselves at Castle Infinity. In Castle Infinity, which is like a world different to our own, new rules and guidelines and the mixture of powers and conflicts made me curious as to what was going to happen in the storyline, which characters you could trust to be the good guys, and what consequences Rory and Jason would face as their personalities changed and started to oppose each other.
The ending left me wanting more. It leaves so many questions unanswered, and new revelations made in the final few pages leave room for so many more possibilities and future storylines. I was also left wondering what was going to happen for some of the main characters and the relationships they had formed through the book.
Watched is full of characters whose moral judgements you are constantly questioning, a world you are continuously trying to understand, and plot twists that will leave you with a million more unanswered questions than you already had in your head. Baker writes convincingly, keeping the reader hooked until the very end, and even after, wondering what will become of the characters we have grown to love and hate in the world of Watchers. Despite the beginning being a bit dull and hard to get into, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this a book, which I recommend to anyone, even if you aren’t a huge fan of sci-fi, as the storyline leaves you wanting to find out what will happen next.
Nakisa Wilson-Khandar Yaghobieh is 16 and from Auckland.