Master of Sorrows – Book Review

The Silent Gods Book 1 by Justin T. Call
Published on: August 8, 2019

So many thoughts rolling around in my head in regards to this epic fantasy story that I don’t know where to begin. Too many, in fact.

Master of Sorrows follows a boy named Annev who attends the Academy where he is attempting to get promoted to Avatar of Judgment. To do so, he must win the Testing Day contest against his other classmates as well as friends. This is the last Testing Day he will be permitted to take part in. Failing to win means becoming a servant to the others and to make it worse, it is also the last Testing Day for two of his close friends as well.

With the Testing Day as the major plot line in the first half of the book, the author also uses the events surrounding this as a way introduce you to the protagonist/antagonists, religious structure and most importantly religious politics and prejudices. The leaders of the Academy and townspeople all believe that sons of Keos are cursed and are considered evil. They are identified when they are born with a deformity and are immediately killed. If somehow an individual isn’t discovered at birth then what awaits for them is being stoned to death once they are discovered. Annev was born without an arm past his elbow. He’s been able to keep it hidden for 17 years through the use of a special glove, but being found out is one of his greatest fears.

As you might expect with any epic fantasy story, there is a lot of lore/knowledge information within this first book that can sometimes slow the story down a little at times. However, I was surprised by how much I liked the sections about the gods (Keos and his siblings). I usually skip or fast-read those sections, but instead found the sibling relationships and responses to certain events rather interesting.

Overall, Master of Sorrows is an enjoyable epic fantasy read with a beautiful cover too. As I read through the story, I found that the characters and their different choices and decisions was one of my favorite parts and not just Annev’s story. Of course, the decision Annev makes in determining the content of his own character and what he believes in is one of the best aspects of the book. The Masters at the Academy see the world in black and white, but Sodor, Annev’s mentor, has slowly been teaching Annev to think for himself and watching the progression within Annev is one of the many highlights of the story. But choices other characters made was just as intriguing.

While reading I came to the conclusion that this might make a decent fantasy book club read. There are a lot of opportunities for points of discussion – from the gods and the religious politics to the Testing Day contest there’s no shortage of topics to bring up.

Rating: 4 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.

Description:

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 . . .

Rating: 4 stars

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