Roswell High: The Watcher Book 4 Review

Welcome back to Roswell High! It has been eighteen years since the Pocket Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) series Roswell High (1998-200) written by Melinda Metz saw print and since then produced a ten book series and just a few installments inspired the TV series Roswell (1999-2002). While I loved the show, and thought it was awesome, it barely scratched the surface of what the books delivered. Through this series of reviews I plan to not just review the books themselves but at the same time explore the TV series in comparison, so maybe someone (Kat/Comic Uno) who is a fan of the TV show may pick up the series. Life Will Never Be The Same…. This tagline for this book is spot on, this book shakes things up big time!

“Life Will Never Be The Same…. 


Max is dying. No one wants to believe it, but he knows it’s true. And as the end grows closer, he can only think of one thing: Who will protect Liz if he’s not there?  


Liz can’t stand watching Max suffer. She’s determined to find some way–any way–to save him. But the only way to help Max is to risk her own life. Is she willing to die for the one she loves?”

Story:
The story picks up shortly after Roswell High: The Seeker left off. Maria and Michael are recovering and Max is experiencing some strange symptoms. All of his senses seem to go into periods of overload, where a whisper is too much for him, causing extreme pain. After falling off of a ladder during a spell at the museum Max tells Ray what’s been happening to him. Ray tells Max that he is going through the Akino.

Ray tells Max that their people share a Collective Consciousness where everyone who has ever lived has shared all of their thoughts and memories. The Akino is a right of passage where once someone reaches a certain age, they must join the Collective Consciousness. They must do this or they will die. Max is relieved that this is something normal and asks Ray how does he join the Collective Consciousness. Ray informs him that the distance is too great and they would need the Communication Crystals from their ship. Ray tells Max that if he doesn’t form that connection he will die. Max never decides not to tell anyone else the news, or let them know that anything is wrong with him.

Meanwhile Maria is left conflicted over her feelings for Michael. She tells Liz that she thinks she loves Michael, but she is afraid that he doesn’t feel the same way about her, and if she tells him he may not be a part of her life anymore. During a sleepover at Max & Isabel’s, Isabel takes Liz and Maria into the Dreamscape for some Dreamwalking. Liz sees her mom’s still having nightmares about her sister Rosa. Maria and the girls goes into Michael’s dream and is shocked to see that he was dreaming that he had his arm around Isabel.

After the dream Isabel starts to think about Michael differently. She starts to remember how she had a huge crush on Michael when she was twelve. While Isabel is question this, her and Alex grow closer. Alex brings Isabel home to meet his parents and his older brothers Jesse, and Harry who were home visiting while his other brother Robert was still away. Isabel puts up with a lot of teasing from Stacey and her friends for dating Alex.

After another sensory overload Liz forces Max to tell her the truth. Max tell Liz what Ray told him about the Akino. Liz convinces Max to tell the others and figures out a plan to help Max. Liz tells everyone that if they united perhaps they could give Max the power boost he needed to reach out and connect to the Collective Consciousness. The group does and Max seems to make contact and is bombarded by images, but a feedback occurs forcing him to break the link and knocking all six teens out. Luck for them Ray stops by and heals them all. He tells Max that it was dangerous to attempt that without the Communication Crystals.

Ray and the teens decide they have to find the ship by using the clues from Maria’s visions from The Seeker. Michael doesn’t think they have time and decides to use the Stone of Midnight to find the ship so he can save Max and Isabel from dying from the Akino, even it it means he could die. Maria figures out his plan and follows him to the cave where the ring is being kept, and convinces him not to do it with a declaration of love.

Everyone goes through with the plan to search for the ship following Maria’s visions. Michael feels the emotions of another alien in the desert, but no idea what it means. With time running out and them not coming any closer than the chicken rock, the group decide to do something drastic. They decide that Michael and Isabel will alter all of their appearances to match the guard from the visions and send them each to a different bar in town, hoping someone recognizes him.  
The plan works when Valenti takes Liz to the Project Clean Slate Base. Inside Liz is taken to an empty room and is told they are testing something for the guard to tell them everything he sees and experiences. Liz tells them what she sees and as she describes it she realizes she is describing what Max and Michael told them about how Ray shared memories with them using some sort of psychic holograms. Liz panics when she realizes the second set of holograms are coming from her the day she was shot and cries out in pain saying the test is hurting the guard before whatever is happening sees Max jumping over the counter and healing her.

Max lays closer to death so the group decide that Michael will change his appearance to match Valenti and Ray and Isabel will alter their appearance to infiltrate the base. Once in they head to the ship and are about to enter it when they are overwhelmed by the pain Max is experiencing and revert to their true appearances for a moment, but it is long enough for a guard to notice and sound the alarm. Knowing Max’s life hangs in the balance Isabel runs through the ship and grabs the Communication Crystals taking out a guard like Nikolas taught her. Valenti finds out and heads to the base where he kills Ray just as Isabel escapes leaving Michael behind. Isabel races home and places the Communication Crystals in Max’s hands, but did she do it in time.

Key Points:

  • A possible love square is formed between Maria, Michael Isabel, and Alex.
  • Elsevan DuPris continues to creep out the teens by popping up and asking them questions.
  • Max enters the Akino, and is the first alien on Earth to do so.
  • The Akino is killing Max.
  • The Collective Consciousness is introduced.
  • The group sets out to find the Project Clean Slate base.
  • Michael feels the presence of another alien in the desert.
  • Ray Isabel & Ray infiltrate the base.
  • Isabel recovers the Communication Crystals.
  • Ray is killed by Valenti.
  • Isabel escapes the base.
  • Michael is left behind in the base.
  • Max appears to die moments before Isabel arrives with the Communication Crystals leaving Max’s fate up in the air.

Powers Introduced:
  • Akino – While not technically a power it is something that is unique to the aliens. The Akino is a right of passage where someone from the alien species enters the age of maturity and must join their planet’s Collective Consciousness.
  • Collective Consciousness – A mental bond that unites the aliens entire species. The bond allows every member to share in the collective memories and emotions of the entire species that ever existed. Every member of the species must join it when they enter the age of maturity or they will die.
  • Communication Crystals – A set of three crystals that all the aliens to contact their home planet psychically and the Collective Consciousness from great distances.

Pre-Established Powers:
  • Molecular Manipulation – All of the aliens have the ability to move molecules. They can nudge molecules together or further apart. They cannot change a substance into something else; they can only manipulate the existing molecules. This was how Max healed Liz after she was shot. In the show Max is seen to have the most control over this power.
  • Connection – All of the aliens have the ability to form a connection to each other and to humans. By touching another person, they can ‘join’ with the other person. Once the connection is made, the two share the same sensations, memories, and feelings, even though they both remain in their own bodies. It is also possible to expand this to an entire group of people allowing them to form a connection with each other. While in this  group connection everyone takes from each other and experience things unique to them, as a group. This power is also used when healing. On the show this power was also used mainly by Max and only in a one on one basis. They also did their version of the group connection from the pod cave in season one, episode ten – The Balance, where River Dog helped them use the
  • Healing – By forming a connection and using their molecular manipulation powers all of the aliens can heal. In the show Max is seen to have the most control over this power.
  • Empathy – All of the aliens have the ability to feel the emotions of other aliens. This ability is strong among each other. They can choose to tune these feelings out, but they always have this connection with each other. This power extends from their power to form connections.After the group connection both the aliens and humans share this bond, where previously it was just shared among themselves. This power was never really explored on the show.
  • Auras – All of the aliens can see auras. Auras are the manifestation of energy that every individual emits. Each person’s aura is completely different and has a unique color. This energy surrounds a person in a soft glowing light. As a person’s emotions change, their auras change as well. Dark colors streaking a person’s aura might indicate fear or unhappiness. Lighter colors might indicate joy or pleasure. When an aura turns completely black, that usually means the person has died. This power is most often seen through Max’s eyes as he uses it to read people and was how Michael knew that Max and Isabel were like him when Max gave a teacher a stone that he said reminded him of her aura. The aura colors are: Max – emerald green, Isabel – royal purple, Michael – brick red, Liz – amber, Maria – ocean blue, Alex – bright orange, Nikolas – gold, and Ray – creamy white. The show never used this power, which
  • Dreamwalking – All of the aliens have the power to dreamwalk. The aliens only need two hours of sleep a night and so they often dreamwalk to pass the time. To enter the dreamscape they close their eyes, and enter a dreamlike state–that state when you are half-alseep and half-awake. Each person has a unique dream orb on this plane, each one emitting a unique melody. The aliens have the ability to call the orb to them by humming their individual melodies. From there they can choose to watch the dream through the orbs like a crystal ball or choose to enter the dream by humming louder turning the orb into a portal to the dream. If they enter the dream, they can communicate with the person and manipulate the structure of the dream. On the show this power was seen being used by Isabel, and was accessed different where Isabel had to touch a picture of the person whose dream she wanted to enter before drifting off and entering it. The show did not use the orbs, the melodies or the dream plane, which like the auras was most likely due to budgetary reasons..
  • Stunning – All of the aliens possess the ability to knock someone out. This power is an extension of their Connection and Molecular Manipulation powers. The aliens have to touch someone’s head (front or back) form the connection and  squeeze a vein in their brain causing the person to pass out. They have to be careful and precise or they could cause a blood clot, or more damage that could lead to the person’s death. This power was not used on the TV Show.
  • Memory Wipe – All of the aliens possess the ability to wipe someone’s memories, or at least short term memories. This is achieved by enveloping a person in a white light. This power takes a lot out of the aliens, draining them, leaving them weakened. Only Ray Iburg has demonstrated this power. This power was used on the TV series, but in a different way. On the TV show they gave Tess the power of Mind Warping, which could be used to cause people to see illusions, plant false memories, or wipe memories altogether.
  • Hovering – All of the aliens possess the ability to hover a few inches off the ground. This power was only used by Nikolas, but is most likely an extension of their Molecular Manipulation ability, by changing the air pressure under them. This power was never used on the show, but could be a part of their powers as Michael and others have used a force to throw people and objects around.
  • Shielding – All of the aliens possess the ability to shield or block other aliens from viewing their dream orbs.
  • Emotional Masking – All the aliens possess the ability to mask their emotions. They use this power by making their auras appear unchanged to other aliens so they can not read them. This power has only been used by Nikolas so far. This power was never used on the TV show.
  • Stones of Midnight – The Stones of Midnight at this point we are unsure how many there are, or if they all possess the same abilities, or each one has a different set. The one that we do know of gives the alien the ability to kill from a distance, and enhances their powers. If a human uses the Stone they gain the powers of the alien that include forming connections, Molecular Manipulation, and Healing. Humans also gain a power that the aliens assumably have, astral projection. The Stones of Midnight were never used in the show, but the Healing Stones were most likely loosely based on them, as was Liz gaining powers.   
  • Mind Reading – All of the aliens have the ability to read someone’s mind. They can do a light superficial scan or delve deeper into memories. They do not need to make physical contact, but must be in the vicinity of the person. So far Max, Isabel or Michael have yet learn how to do this, and it is unclear if Nikolas could. The only one we have seen with this ability is Ray. Tess possessed this power on the show.
  • Memory Projections – All of the aliens have the ability to create a holographic image of memories to share with others. These are not just holograms as they also project the emotions of everyone from the memory. So far only Ray has been shown to use this ability. This power was never used on the show.
  • Physical Transformation/Adaptation – All of the alien possess a unique physiology that allows their bodies to adapt to any ecological and sociological environment they are in. This power also allows them to alter their physical appearance. So far only Ray and Max have been shown to eb able to use this ability, with Ray being able to quickly and easily do it and Max, having just learned it takes a bit longer. You not only change your physical appearance but can also change your vocal chords. This ability is an extension of their Molecular Manipulation. On the show Nasedo possessed this ability, and the others had the potential to learn it as well, with Michael being able to change his fingerprints, and transforming a mask to appear as a face.

There were other things that happened, but weren’t really “powers” but came to be through the group connection. While in their group connection they pulled from each other. While everyone could see the auras that all the aliens could see everyday, from Isabel they could hear the groups individual dream orb melody in harmony. Maria in the book and on the show is big into aromatherapy and because of her the group could smell a scent from each individual. The aliens could also feel when one of them would use their powers. They felt a crackling in the air, all their arm hair stood up, and they smelled the ozone like just after a thunderstorm.

Relationships:

  • Liz, Maria, and Alex – Best friends Liz and Maria have known each other for most of their lives, with Alex being new to the trio.
  • Liz and Max – Casual friends and lab partners. Max has always had a crush on Liz,it wasn’t until she got to see herself through his eyes when they formed their connection that she started to feel for Max in a romantic way. Max & Liz pretend to date to throw Kyle off the secret, and just as Liz professes her feelings to Max he tells her that they can’t date because he will always be in danger and didn’t want to put her in danger as well. The two remain just friends despite both having romantic feelings for each other. Max is keeping Liz at a distance for her safety telling her the kiss at the mall meant nothing but is jealous when she goes out with Jerry. The two agree to finally be together instead of letting fear keep them apart.
  • Max and Isabel – Twins shared an incubation pod. Max sees Isabel at her most vulnerable and serves as her protective brother.
  • Michael – Best friends with Max and Isabel since they were little kids. Michael was found first and put into foster care bouncing from house to house and family to family cutting himself off from ever getting attached to a family. He often spends nights at the Evans’ house, or the cave. He has recently added Maria’s house to his crashing spots as he and her grow closer.
  • Liz and Kyle – Broke up before the events of The Outsider. Kyle still wants Liz back and gets jealous about the relationship Liz and Max have formed.
  • Isabel and Alex – Alex and Isabel are officially dating, but Isabel is mocked by Stacey and the “Cool kids” at school for dating him. Isabel meets Alex’s family and is thrown off when she discovers Michael was dreaming about her.
  • Michael and Maria – Michael and Maria continue to grow closer the two form a tight bond while watching horror movies. Once Michael moves in with the Pascals, Maria helps him babysit. Michael starts to see Maria as more than “cute” after he Dreamwalks into her dream one night and sees her making out with a dark haired man. Maria feels the same way about Michael at first neither vocalize their feelings, but Michael does show her with a kiss, and when they were both in danger they do show their feelings. Maria Dreamwalks on Michael and sees him holding Isabel. After struggling with if she should tell Michael how she feels MAria lets him know she loves him, which confuses Michael’s feelings towards her even more.
  • Michael and Alex – The two share a unique sense of humor among their group that feeds off each other. This bromance grew after the group connection. The two are also the overprotective ones of the group who tend to act on impulse.
  • Michael and Isabel – Isabel, Maria and Liz Dreamwalk on Michael and see him dreaming about holding Isabel in his arm which awakens old feelings in Isabel despite being in a relationship with Alex.
  • Nikolas Branson – Dark hair that fell to his shoulders, and light brown eyes. His high cheekbones and his nose, which had been broken a few times, gave his face a severe look. At least until you noticed his lips, which were full and sensual. Had an intense brief relationship with Isabel. Thought of humans as insects. Killed by Sheriff Valenti.
  • Isabel and Nikolas – Nikolas starts helping Isabel from a distance using his powers, but Isabel is still into Alex until she happens upon Nikolas’ dream orb. After her dreamwalk she accepts a bet from Stacey to see who can get him first. Once Nikolas holds her like he did in his dream, Isabel falls head over heels for him. Isabel breaks all of her dating rules, falling hopelessly for Nikolas giving up all power and doing anything he says. She is so into him that no other relationship but theirs matters to her. Isabel mourns Nikolas fearing to use her powers but sees their relationship for what it was after spending time with Alex and revisiting the mall where Nikolas was killed with Liz and Maria.
  • Sheriff Valenti and The Teens – Sheriff Valenti works for a government organization named Project Clean Slate that hunts and captures aliens. Valenti is no where near the sympathetic and apathetic man from the show, this Valenti is heartless and is a by any means necessary type.
  • Elsevan DuPris – The local tabloid report seems to be fixated on the teens and somehow has connected them to all the alien-related events in town, but has not said such to them. Finds any reason to speak to the teens. Uses an exaggerated and fake southern accent.
  • Isabel and Stacey – Stacey Scheinin is the Cheerleader Squad Captain,and jealous of Isabel. The two girls would be frenemies if either one pretended to actually like the other. The squad is divided between the girls who wanted to be like Stacey and those who couldn’t stand her. Stacey mocks Isabel for dating Alex.
  • Isabel and Tish – Tish Okabe is a human, and cheerleader with Isabel, who like Isabel can’t stand the captain of the Squad Stacey. Stacey is Isabel’s best friend, maybe only real friend outside of the main group.
  • The Pascals – Michael’s new foster family. Mr & Mrs Pascal and their three other foster children: Dylan a 13-year old boy, Amanda a 5-year old girl who calls a baseball glove her Kimbie. Sarah a baby girl. Michael starts to let his guard down, and begins to feel a part of this family, even bonding with Dylan as he and Maria show him how to date.


Overall:
Roswell High: The Watcher is an awesome installment. The entire book has you hanging on to the edge of your seat not knowing if Max will survive the Akino right to the very end, leaving us with the cliffhanger question: Did Max die?


This book features a lot of elements that were used in the show. The journey to find the ship in season 3. The Granilith I think represents the Stone of Midnight as an important artifact from the planet. The Collective Consciousness is translated very loosely as the aliens connecting to the teens using human host bodies, and Max’s connection to his son Zan. We also have the Communication Crystals which looks like the Healing Stones, but serve the functions of the Communicators. I think the book handled them better though. The final comparison is the infiltration of the Special Unit’s base by the Aliens to rescue Max (instead of saving his life) by using shapeshifting. The show features Nasedo being left behind where the book raises the stakes by having Michael left behind and Ray being killed by Sheriff Valenti.

There is so much character development throughout this book. Each installment the characters grow more and more becoming far more than just words on a page, which speaks volumes to Melinda Metz writing. It also continues the Roswell High signature cliffhanger ending.

If you want to know my thoughts along with my Media Madness co-host Kat (Comic Uno) thoughts? Check out our Live Commentary on the first and last episode now!

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