Master of Sorrows by Justin Call – Review

Cover- Master of Sorrows

Published: February 25, 2020

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Series: The Silent Gods #1

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 577 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 3.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: (Blackstone Publishing)

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.

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this book since like, February 2019 because what could be cooler than a book where a boy could either destroy the world or be a hero? The synopsis (from Gollancz) is absolutely enough to make any fantasy nerd want to check this out, but it ended up not being as much of a hit as I hoped. In fact, the synopsis above is much more in line with how exciting this book is.

Annev de Breth is in training to become an Avatar of Judgement, so that he may go out in the world and acquire magical artifacts and secret them away. The village of Chaenbalu is hidden in a forest, protected by a glamour so that no outsiders may find it and all of the boys and girls in training at the academy were stolen away as babes. Except Annev, who was born in the village but was missing a hand and was to be killed along with his parents. He was saved by Sodar, who pulled some trickery and passed him off as an extra babe stolen from the city and gave him a magical prosthetic that functions as a real limb. If anyone were to find out, he would be killed and proclaimed an agent of the dark god Keos. 

Much of the book centers around Annev trying to pass this test or otherwise be relegated to simple servitude and lose his chance to marry Myjun, a lovely girl training to be a witwoman (the female counterpart to Avatars). He deals with bullying, friends who weigh him down, and secrets kept by Sodar. I found most of the book to be pretty slow-paced and kind of uninteresting. I just didn’t really connect with Annev and despite the fact that I LOVE school settings this just didn’t click with me. Things started to pick up towards the second half of the book, but by then I wasn’t really invested in the story or characters. Whether or not I read future installments will depend entirely on reviews or my inability to show restraint and not request it. 

This was not a terrible read, but my expectations were high and my lackluster feelings towards the first half of the book stood out even more because of it. The second half had much more action, some cool magic, and finally some BLOODY ANSWERS. Considering the fact that Annev might destroy the world he sure was average most of the time. I desperately wanted him to manifest some dark magic, but he was thoroughly unremarkable until the last little bit. WHYYYYY.

4 thoughts on “Master of Sorrows by Justin Call – Review

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