Book Review: Master of Sorrows, by Justin Call

master of sorrows
Image belongs to Blackstone Publishing.

Title:  Master of Sorrows
AuthorJustin Call
Genre:  Fantasy
Rating:  4 out of 5

Annev de Breth isn’t like the other students in his class. Seventeen years ago, in the village of Chaenbalu, he was believed to executed for the taint he was born with—proven by his partially-missing arm—and raised by those who killed his parents. Now he’s struggling to become one of the Academy’s warrior-thieves, along with all the other boys who were stolen from their families years ago.

And Annev doesn’t know his own history.

Raised by his priestly mentor, who doesn’t believe magic is bad—unlike those surrounding him, who believe it evil—and with his missing arm disguised, Annev struggles with remaining true to himself and his friends—or stepping into his future as a master at the Academy. Will he do as the masters ask, betraying his friends and murdering a man to prove his abilities, or will he finally learn the truth of who he is?

While Master of Sorrows had some cliched elements—a young orphan raised by a wise mentor who has secret magical abilities—it’s actually a unique take on this trope. Annev is a conflicted character, and he struggles with this conflict between his childhood dreams of becoming one of the Academy’s masters and what his mentor teaches him throughout the book. The friendships are real and believable, and the action just worked for me, making this a book I finished in one sitting.

Justin Call has been making up stories since he was five. Master of Sorrows is his debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Blackstone Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)

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