Master of Sorrows by Justin T. Call — ARC Review

Master of Sorrows by Justin Travis CallSummary:

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 fulfil.

Will he finally embrace the doctrine of his tutors, murder a stranger, and abandon his mentor? Or will he accept the more difficult truth of who he is . . . and the darker truth of what he may become . . .

Review: 5 Stars

Master of Sorrows is a book that I picked up because I had heard good things about it, but I was initially inclined to pass this book by, but I’m really glad that I didn’t. Master of Sorrows had so many fantasy elements that I absolutely love. It had a magical school setting, a political system filled with injustice and prejudice and so much more. I am so grateful that I gave this book a chance because I wound up really loving the story and these characters.

Master of Sorrows was a character driven novel and it’s characters really found their way into my heart. Annev was such a great character to read about and I could really relate to him. He fought so hard for his dreams and against his destiny and his struggles were so easy to empathize with. The relationship between Annev and Sodar was one that I was so emotionally invested in, Several of their conversations brought tears to my eyes. Sodar was a great mentor and father figure and was one of my favorite characters to read about. I also loved reading about Annev and his friends Titus and Therin. The group of friends was fun to read about, but what I loved most of all was how loyal Annev was to them. The rivalry between Annev and Fyn also provided endless entertainment as they tried to best one another.

This was definitely more of a character driven fantasy than a plot driven one, but the plot was still really interesting. Throughout the book Annev and his friends tried to become avatars and had to go through many trials both in and out of school. Annev’s journey to become an avatar was full of hard decisions, yet he never sacrificed his morality and beliefs for his dreams. I was so emotionally invested in this story that I kept wanting to shake Annev as he made decisions that I didn’t agree with. The writing was so fantastic that I felt like I was watching a movie as I read this book because I could clearly visualize everything that was happening. I expected very little of this book and it wound up being absolutely incredible. I can’t believe I almost didn’t read this one!

I loved the way that the world building came into play with the plot as the history of the world melded with the future for humanity. There is still so much more to come in this world, but this series opener really helps the reader understand the scope of the problem that this magical world is facing. I think there could have been a bit more world building in this installment and I hope that book two explores the world and magic a bit more than this installment did, but regardless I was so invested in this journey.

I read this book months ago and I can still vividly remember most of it. The characters just got to my heart, the writing was spectacular and the plot was so cool.  Master of Sorrows was filled with characters that I love and this first installment has me dying for more in the series. I loved reading about Annev and I really related with him. I am glad that I gave this book a chance and I really need more of Annev’s story as soon as possible!

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