Title: Master of Sorrows
Author: Justin Call
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Release Date: February 21st 2019
Number of Pages: 448
Genre: YA, Fantasy
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.
*I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review*
Trigger warnings for ableism and violence.
This was an enjoyable debut and introduction to a new dark fantasy series. This novel follows Annev who has spend his whole living training at the Academy to become a Master Avatar, someone who will dedicate their lives to receiving and storing magical artefacts. However, Annev only has one last change of gaining his Avatar status and this may be put in jeopardy when he learns the secrets of his past that Sodar, the man who raised him has been keeping from him which may lead him down a path much different than that which he had imagined. One that could lead him to become either a hero or a villain.
As a big lover of morally grey characters I can safely say that I really enjoyed reading from Annev’s point of view and I’m looking forward to seeing how his character arc develops in later books. I also enjoyed seeing the dynamics and relationships between the boys at the Academy.
The world building in this is one of my favourite things about the book and you can tell just how much time Justin Call put into developing it.
Overall, I did enjoy this book however it took me forever to get though. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.