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The Academy of Chaenbalu has stood against magic for centuries.
Hidden from the world, acting from the shadows, it trains its students to detect and retrieve magic artifacts, which it jealously guards from the misuse of others. Because magic is dangerous: something that heals can also harm, and a power that aids one person may destroy another.
Of the Academy's many students, only the most skilled can become Avatars - warrior thieves, capable of infiltrating the most heavily guarded vaults - and only the most determined can be trusted to resist the lure of magic.
More than anything, Annev de Breth wants to become one of them.
- ISBN10 1473222869
- ISBN13 9781473222861
- Publish Date 21 February 2019 (first published 18 September 2017)
- Publish Status Out of Print
- Out of Print 5 March 2021
- Publish Country GB
- Imprint Gollancz
- Format Hardcover
- Pages 592
- Language English
Master of Sorrows is the first volume of a new series by Justin T. Call. Released 25th Feb 2020 by Blackstone, it's 646 pages and available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats.
This is a well written coming of age quest fantasy based around the premise that our destiny may or may not be inevitable. The author is a gifted storyteller and despite the length of the book, it doesn't drag and never felt plodding to me. The dialogue is occasionally somewhat stilted (fantasy-speak) but the characters are distinct and well rendered. I did have some troubles keeping the secondary characters (minor teachers and students) straight in my head and had to use the search function on my kindle several times.
There is a fair bit of brutal action, some graphic fight scenes, lots of death and betrayal and magic and fighting. There isn't any graphic sexual content or objectionable language. The world building and character development are exceptionally detailed and well realized. This one has a solid denouement with a lead up to the next book in the series, but not any sort of abrupt cliffhanger ending.
Readers who enjoy solid quest based epic fantasy will likely enjoy this one. Four stars.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
It has been a long time since I have been moved by a somewhat dense fantasy novel.. but Justin Call managed exactly that. In fact, its density slowed my reading pace, but I was never bored. I was engrossed in every word.. every description.. every tale shared.. new and old.
I find, it's very easy in novels similar to this one, for the author's to lose my interest. They allow themselves to get so caught up in focusing on the world they're creating.. how and why it's different.. that they bog down the pages with excessive details. Don't get me wrong.. I love details. But there's such a thing as packing too much into a page too.
Call doesn't do that. Oh.. he gives you plenty of information. He offers enough to--"
Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub
I can sum up this book in one word: incredible. I am in awe of Justin T. Call’s writing. I opened the book and was immediately drawn into the story. I got major Name of the Wind vibes, which is high praise indeed.
Where should I start? Well, first off, the storytelling is masterful. There wasn’t a single misstep through the whole book. This book follows Annev as he learns who he is, both in a magical sense, and a moral one. Much like Name of the Wind, the book takes its time setting the tone for all that follows. And what follows is fantasy at its finest.
The solid foundation is what took this book a step above many other fantasies I’ve read. Each little tidbit mentioned fits like a puzzle piece, making a full picture. The trials at the beginning of the book were so interesting to read. I loved seeing Annev make decisions regarding his treatment of others. Would he betray them to get ahead? I’ll leave it to you, Reader, to find out.
I loved Sodar. He tried so hard to raise and protect Annev. He made mistakes and chose to be reticent when openness might have served him better, but that’s part of what made him so fascinating. He’s such a realistic character. Although, really, all the characters were utterly believable.
The world building was excellent, the characters fantastic, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes as it continues in the sequel. Basically-wow.
Grab this book the second you’re able to.