Master of Sorrows
by Justin Call
Review by Bronwyn Eley
There’s nothing quite like falling into a new fantasy world that is so richly imagined and meticulously detailed that it seems real. World building is such an important element in fantasy and the world that Justin Call creates in Master of Sorrows is thrilling, captivating and undeniable.
Master of Sorrows starts with a familiar trope: a baby being born into the world that the reader knows will become our protagonist. Usually a hero, ruler, god or myth. Someone powerful and destined to do amazing things. A child whose birth is rejoiced.
But not this baby.
This baby, marked by the evil god Keos, is sentenced to die the moment he emerges from his dead mother’s womb. It was a powerful beginning that flung me so immediately into the world that I eagerly gobbled up every word I could from that moment on.
Of course, our baby is rescued by a priest called Soren. There wouldn’t be a story otherwise! He is given the ability to hide his deformity and grows up in an Academy whose sole purpose is to track down magical objects and remove them from the world.
All Annev dreams of is becoming one of the Academy’s illustrious warrior-thieves, to be highly regarded by his peers and to win the heart of the woman he loves. With many trials between him and success, Annev is thrust into an array of dangerous situations and challenged at every turn.
Annev knows that if his deformity becomes common knowledge, his leaders and peers at the Academy will execute him. He is, after all, a servant of the evil god Keos, is he not? Of course Annev doesn’t believe he is evil, but Annev is the definition of ‘young’. He is swept up in a world of ideals and rules that have been instilled in him since birth. He is told what to believe. He is told what to do. As the book progresses, Annev is suddenly faced with having to decide for himself what is right, what is the truth and what he is willing to fight for.
The ending of this book held me in complete rapture! I couldn’t put it down or turn away. This is an adventure well-worth embarking on, one filled with monsters, gods, deception and betrayal. You won’t regret picking this one up!
Master of Sorrows
You have heard the story before - of a young boy, orphaned through tragic circumstances, raised by a wise old man, who comes to a fuller knowledge of his magic and uses it to fight the great evil that threatens his world.
But what if the boy hero and the malevolent, threatening taint were one and the same?
What if the boy slowly came to realize he was the reincarnation of an evil god? Would he save the world . . . or destroy it?
Among the Academy's warrior-thieves, Annev de Breth is an outlier. Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital city, Annev was born in the small village of Chaenbalu, was believed to be executed, and then unknowingly raised by his parents' killers.
Seventeen years later, Annev struggles with the burdens of a forbidden magic, a forgotten heritage, and a secret deformity. When he is subsequently caught between the warring ideologies of his priestly mentor and the Academy's masters, he must choose between forfeiting his promising future at the Academy or betraying his closest friends. Each decision leads to a deeper dilemma, until Annev finds himself pressed into a quest he does not wish to fulfill...
About the Contributor
Before entering the exciting world of books, Bronwyn served in the Royal Australian Air Force, travelled extensively and worked (still does!) as a barista on the weekends. Books are her true passion. Bronwyn's debut fantasy novel Relic is coming out in 2019 with indie publishing house Talem Press. They are to publish her entire trilogy called The Relic Trilogy. In her spare time, Bronwyn writes, reads and enjoys keeping fit (which she undoes by eating loads of chocolate) with Martial Arts and personal training. She can't answer what her favourite book is but she has a soft spot for Peter Pan (J.M Barrie), Outlander (Diana Gabaldon), Stardust (Neil Gaiman), The Illuminae Files (Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman) and Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo). Fantasy, sci-fi and YA make up the majority of her bookshelves.