MoSJCYou 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 . . .

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Netgalley eARC 448 Gollancz Fantasy February 21st, 2019

Well, damn. This felt like a book and a half. Yes, at 400+ pages, once I finished it felt like I had read a 800+ page book. Why? Because so much happened πŸ™‚ Yeeees, I have to admit, for me it sliiiiightly felt infodumpey in a few parts whilst reading but all in all, by the end I felt sated by this first book in The Silent Gods series.

It has been a while since I last read a fantasy title where magic is a big, bloody NO!-NO!. Basically, there is an ‘order’ of Masters who make sure that all of the magical artefacts are collected and hidden away from any kind of use and that anyone who has the marks of being any bit magical (like our protagonist’s missing below elbow arm) would be eliminated pretty much at sight. These are the kind of Masters that kill first and asks questions later. These are the kind of Masters that run the Academy who train young boys (there is also the female equivalent) to protect the world. Quite a black and white world. So- magic=bad, missing limbs=bad. What a twat of an unfair world!

Annev, our young protagonist that I mentioned above, is doubly doomed because not only does he have a missing arm, he has another secret- which shall not be mentioned here. What does this mean for Annev? Well, he doesn’t have a lot of choice but he tries. Tutored by a priestly Master, Annev gets by and his future at the Academy is looking OK. He has one more chance left to pass the test to advance from his Acolyte status to a Master status. He has a chance at a girl – OOoOOOOOOh! But, I mean, you can imagine the dilemmas already with the secrets he has to hide, the secrets even HE doesn’t yet know (but will come to daylight). Plus, if you have a bunch of young men, there will be an abundance of egos and there’s always this one arse who enjoys showing force and power over others.

And thus happens, as scripted, doobies will hit the fan and everything starts to unravel. dun-dun-duuuunnnn…

Master of Sorrows is a solid, strong story that spares no detail. The whole book just made me think: now, this is a book that I feel the author really enjoyed writing. It is a fruit of love and labour!One can tell. It’s methodical and interesting and everything is thought through. A full picture. No confusion. The pace is steady- it stops on certain scenes longer than is really necessary BUT… but, but, but… it is an adventure. And boy, I can only imagine how full on things are going to get in the next instalment! Can’t wait!

The setting was interesting and the conflicts kept rolling the story forward. I was constantly trying to think ahead at the possible scenarios and outcomes following certain scenes and I think I was quite often missing the mark.

Basically, the good fantasy readers over at Goodreads have provided some really good reviews to entice you more expertly on the undertones and inner-workings of Master of Sorrows so do head on over and get the validation you need to give this book a try. I sure am happy and grateful I was approved for this eARC.

Master of Sorrows on Goodreads * Amazon UK * Book Depository