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February 25, 2020

Master of Sorrows by Justin Call ~ a Review

by MK French

The Academy of Chaenbleu has trained students for centuries how to identify and take magical items so that they can be locked away. Magic is forbidden, and deformities are held to be curses from Keos, the trickster and evil of three gods of history. They're killed at birth as well as their parents for being servants of Keos. Annev was saved from being sacrificed to the woods, and seventeen years later is at the Academy hiding his deformity with a magic prosthetic and competing for one of the coveted spots as an avatar, one of the trained magic item thieves. It's a difficult line to walk, and one fraught with severe consequences if he fails.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

February 2020; Blackstone Publishing
978-1982591786; print (577 pages); fantasy
Annev is at the relative bottom of the totem pole at the Academy and is up against a team of bullies. Of course, they face off against each other several times and continue to face off against each other even at the test the Academy is giving. The Elders don't like the fact that Annev's mentor and father figure actively researches the old tales, and feels that he is holding Annev back because he's too nice and inclusive, and isn't as willing to stab others in the back to get what he wants. He tries to think outside the box, which allows him to fulfill the tests given to him without breaking his principles.

It isn't enough to pass the test and become an Avatar, however. Working through the tests and the missions given to him puts Annev at risk, and would also potentially expose his secret to the rest of his village. He can't constantly walk the line between religion and warrior, especially when he discovers more about his origins. The story accelerates precipitously at that point, and his position deteriorates rapidly. There's a prophecy that implicates him, after all, and the history of the maimed and disfigured being marked by Keos and not the benevolent gods means that he has no one else to confide in.

This novel is the first of a series, so we're seeing elements of the hero's journey here. I have no doubt that there will be more of it in further novels of this series, and it'll be interesting to see how the rest of the journey plays out.

Buy Master of Sorrows at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and three young children. 

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  1. glad you enjoyed it. i see a lot of books dealing with bullying
    sherry @ fundinmental