Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.
This review was originally posted on amazon on March 13, 2013:
Death Watch is the first book of Ari Berk's series centered around Silas Umber and the town of Lichport. The book begins with the unexplained disappearance of Silas's father, Amos.
Let me begin by saying that I loved this book. It is dark, and gothic, and beautifully written. Silas is an endearing character - and there are far too few male protagonists in YA, which is an added bonus. Death Watch is refreshing in part because it is more or less romance free.
The writing is gorgeous. Ari Berk's descriptions are beautiful and evocative. The town of Lichport, with it's generations of ghosts and it's slowly decaying buildings, straddles the line between real and imagined. There is a slowly unfolding mystery to solve.
At the beginning of the book, Silas believes that his father is a mortician. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that there was more to Amos as there is more to Silas, and much more to Lichport. There is a tenderness to the relationship between Amos and Silas, and that tenderness continues even after Amos disappears from Si's life.
The one criticism that I have of this book is that the pacing is a bit slow. It is measured, but it also drags at times. I think that the book could've been tightened a bit, and would have been stronger if it had been 50 pages shorter. Nonetheless, in conclusion, I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy gothic YA and ghost stories.