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!
~ Bronwyn xo