Book Review: The Watcher’s Son (Dale Bruyer Book 3) by J.L. Aarne

Dale and James have wronged a lot of people, but now one of them is back for revenge, and since he can't get to James, he's going after Dale and the people Dale cares about. But he's using a strange kind of magic that Dale has never encountered, and if he can't figure out how to counter it, he may have to give up and give the man what he wants.

Book Review: The Watcher's Son (Dale Bruyer Book 3) by J.L. Aarne | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy, lgbtqia, m/m
Title: The Watcher's Son
Book Number: Book 3
Pages: 285
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


In my review of Book 1, I talked about one particular incident that was mentioned in a flashback because, well, it was pretty terrible. And that incident was pretty much what this book was about. Or rather, it was about the child affected in that incident wanting revenge. And I liked that, that instead of just being brushed aside as backstory, the incident was brought forward and that there were consequences for it. And also, because I already knew the story and felt for the child who became the villain in this book, I could understand where he was coming from; while I didn’t agree with his actions, I did feel that he had been wronged.

Another thing I mentioned in my review of Book 1 was that I wasn’t sure how I felt about James (the MC’s—Dale’s—partner), not as a character, but rather as a person. He came off as being not a good person, someone who could be cold and do terrible things without remorse, and that was brought up in this book too. I particularly loved this quote from Dale’s POV about James and the time he spent in Hell:

The suspicion that [James] had been changed for the worst by the experience had been slow growing, but [Dale] saw more and more evidence of it all the time.

That wasn’t even the scariest part though—the really scary part was, Dale had to wonder if Hell had changed [James] much at all.

I love when later books in series end up acknowledging things I had already been thinking in the previous books.

Then there was the fight between Dale and James. It was serious and intense, much more so than most fights between couples in books. And again, I could see both sides. I didn’t agree with James’s actions at all, but I also felt like maybe it wasn’t right for Dale to have control over him.

I really felt for Dale though because he just had people angry at him on all sides—the villain taking revenge on him even though Dale wasn’t even the one who killed his father, James blowing up at him over the spell thing, Coyote threatening him because of how Dale and James put Daphne in danger. I could feel everything spiraling down around him, pressing in on him. Things got quite dark. But the sadistic part of me that likes to suffer through characters loved it because it was the kind of feeling that really sucked me into the story.

But ah, something happier now, Lloyd was back! He’s such a wonderful friend to Dale. I want a friend like Lloyd. Everyone should have a friend like Lloyd.

Last but not least was the Coyote-Daphne relationship. I’m glad their relationship is getting some attention in the series because they’re so cute together, and they’re likeable characters, and I do care about them and their relationship.

I still had a few little issues though, pretty much the same issues I’ve had in all the books: the head hopping/omniscience thing that happens on occasion and too much villain backstory. It’s great that the villains do have motives and backstories, that they had lives before becoming a villain, but I feel like those sections don’t always add to the story (e.g. how the villain met their significant other), and usually I just want to get back to Dale’s POV already.

But even though I do sometimes get frustrated by certain things in these books, the characters are so well-written, and that’s the most important thing. I’m invested in them. Even James, despite his actions. And I thought this book was even better than the others because of the struggles and intensity and unpredictability. I’m definitely interested in what might happen next!


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16 thoughts on “Book Review: The Watcher’s Son (Dale Bruyer Book 3) by J.L. Aarne

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  1. Greg

    Yeah I can deal with relatively minor things if I mostly like the book, or if overall it just really appeals to me. And nice to read about someone who has been legitimately wronged! Even if you don’t agree with what they did, I love it when villains are nuanced and/ or have a real motivation for what they’re doing. Especially if they were impacted as a kid. Dale sounds compelling and the fact that James- who apparently actually did the bad thing?- is not exactly a good person makes it even MORE interesting.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Same, sometimes I can still love a book when the good outweighs the issues I have. This is def a diff kind of series. You don’t see many books where the love interest/partner is… like this lol. It IS interesting. And I loved how it brought back that guy as a villain! Because I did honestly feel he’d been wronged, even when I read about the incident in the first book.

  2. Danya @ Fine Print

    Wow, an urban fantasy where horrible, traumatic events have real consequences? Colour me shocked and pleasantly surprised. Haha. There’s nothing more frustrating to me than when an author brushes traumatic events aside in future books, so I’m glad to hear that Aarne handles it well here!

  3. AngelErin

    I’m glad you liked this one and great review! I haven’t read any of this series yet, but it sounds interesting. Oh, and for the most part I can deal with a few issues in a book if the most important things are still done really well. But also I suppose it would have to depend on what the issue is. There are a few issues I can’t get over no matter what.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! It’s a series that’s kind of different from the norm that’s often in UF. Oh that’s true, it does depend on the issue sometimes. But for the most, I can still enjoy a book too as long as the rest is good!

  4. Olivia Roach

    Yes, I can definitely overlook some issues if the main themes are done well and there are important themes explained well. I also really like the sound of the backstory being picked up and developed here, especially as it was something that stood out to you in the other book as maybe needing more space in the story.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I loved that that backstory was brought up for this book because it really was something I kept thinking about. But I guess that was the author’s plan all along!

  5. Lola

    That sounds interesting how this book deal with an incident in the past that was already mentioned in book 1and how even tough you didn’t agree with the actions of the villain he was wronged and you could understand where he’s coming from. It does seem like Dale had a lot going against him in this book. That’s great the characters are so well written in this series.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I loved that the incident was brought up again, and it’s always great when you can actually understand the villain. And I love how well written the characters are!

  6. Daniela Ark

    Glad to hear you are enjoying this series. Have you noticed I’m slooooowly making my way to the fantasy world?? 🙂 I’ll be reading all these urban fantasies soon! 🙂

  7. Bookworm Brandee

    I think you and are really are similar in our reading styles…if the characters are really well drawn and the author can manage to squeeze out some gut-wrenching emotion, we’re sold! Ha! I also like how something from earlier installments was addressed in this one – something you’d been ruminating on. I’ll have to give this series a look sometime. You know, after I’ve read some of the others you’ve put on my TBR…or during my Kristen’s Recs Month. Whichever comes first! LOL

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ahaha, yes, developed characters and gut-wrenching motion is our jam 😉 I loved how the incident from the backstory was brought back. Your list of Kristen recs is so long it’s going to crush you soon, and I don’t want to be responsible for an injured Brandee! 😛

  8. Cee Arr

    I don’t know why, but I love that cover with every inch of my bookworm-ish heart! XD I’m usually not one for covers, but I’d frame that and put it on my wall 🙂 (Maybe it’s the crows. I love crows. So much.)