Master of Sorrows by Justin T. Call
Rating: 5/5 stars
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Release Date: February 25, 2020
All Annev de Breth has ever wanted is to become an avatar for the academy and marry the girl of his dreams. But unlike his classmates, who were raised since infancy at the Academy, Annev grew up under the tutelage of the town priest and is hiding dark secrets—not only can he do forbidden magic, but he uses it to hide a deformity that marks him as evil.
As he seeks to advance in the academy, he finds himself torn between the beliefs of his adopted father and the academy’s masters. But when the academy puts his loyalty to the test, he’ll have to choose between the life he’s always wanted and the man who raised him.
** Thank you to Netgalley and Blackstone for providing me with an eARC of this book**
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Admittedly, I found myself a little at odds with what drew me to the book and what I actually found. When I first read the book’s description on Netgalley, I actually hoped it would turn out to be more of a villain origin story, but it was less that and more classic high fantasy. Which, honestly, I have no problem with.
The world building was done in a way that was both familiar and different, and I enjoyed how much the author played with what characters think they know, and the differing beliefs between them. It was also great to try to predict how certain characters would react when they found out certain secrets, and whether or not they would change their opinions.
I’m really on the fence about Annev, I think he was generally well-done—a believable 17yo, with specific wants, and who is so very distracted by a pretty girl. But I just had trouble really connecting with him. Regardless of this lack of connection on my part, I did still get a little invested in him, and at every point, I could still understand his decisions—even the fucking terrible decisions. But yeah, I was definitely sitting there going “fuck, he’s gonna do the thing.” And lo… he did the thing.
And my final praise for this book is for the writing itself. It was so easy to get sucked into the world and swept away to the point where I forgot that I was reading, and that was just fantastic! It was clear that there was some depth to the world, and there was just the perfect amount of information given that I was able to make some predictions, get invested in the world and really get lost in the story.
I’m so eager to see where the next books go and I’m thrilled with some of the things that were set up at the end of this book!
Overall, I’d recommend this to anyone who loves high or epic fantasy!
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