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And the Roswell High Saga Continues....

Roswell High Book Four: The Watcher by Melinda Metz

In the past, when Max, Liz, Michael, Maria, Isabel, and Alex faced a conflict together, it was external. First, it was Liz getting shot and Valenti's investigation into possible aliens in Roswell. Then, Nikolas came to town, bringing with him his own danger and yet another threat from the Sheriff. Third came Maria's psychic abilities and the alien bounty hunters who were drawn to her because of her use of the powerful, alien ring. But in The Watcher Metz has the six friends confront an internal conflict - one that proves, despite their powers, the aliens are just as vulnerable as the humans, one that they don't have control over. Max is sick. He begins his akino - an alien rite of passage during which he should be able to connect to his people's collective consciousness. Usually, this is a joyous, landmark occasion, only Max is earthbound, and the only way he can survive the changes occurring within his body is to locate and use crystals last seen on the alien's missing ship, a ship very much in the hands of Valenti and Project Clean Slate. With months, weeks, maybe even just days left, Max quickly deteriorates, and, although the whole group bands together, their efforts might just be in vain.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of The Watcher is the fact that, of all the books in the Roswell High Series thus far, this novel presents the aliens at their most human. It's an interesting juxtaposition, too, in light of the fact that, as the series progresses, the aliens learn more and more about themselves and their history. Their powers are expanding, but, in The Watcher, their powers - at least for Max - become irrelevant in the face of illness. His experiences while going through his akino prove that, physiologically different or not, emotionally Max is just like any other teenager his age. Faced with what is potentially a terminal illness, he fears death, worries about those he will leave behind, and strives to do whatever he can to protect those he loves and, in turn, protect himself as well. Once more, despite the fact that the series is firmly rooted in science fiction... or maybe because of it, Metz proves that, underneath all the powers, and crystals, and spaceships, the extraterrestrials in her books are just as human as her readers, keeping the novels accessible for all. An added bonus to The Watcher is the fact that, for the first time since the debut novel, The Outsider, Metz focuses the story on Max and Liz as a couple: the emotional lynchpin of the group and the heart of the entire series. Plus, just like with the other books, The Watcher, too, ends with a cliffhanger, roping readers back in for the fifth installment in the series: The Intruder.

4 out of 5 Stars

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