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Masters and Beginners

(The Order of the Twelve Tribes #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  22 ratings  ·  16 reviews
When Sophie Driscoll’s grandmother dies, her parents take over running the Annex, a warehouse facility that stores magical artifacts and documents proving, and protecting, the existence of faeries. Sophie and her brothers, Flynn and Cal, happily adjust to a new house, new friends, and a new way of living, joining the ranks of generations who have kept the fey and mortal re ...more
Paperback, 1st, 195 pages
Published April 21st 2017 by The Invisible Moth
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  22 ratings  ·  16 reviews


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C.G. Drews
This was a super cute magical story with some wild plot twists at the end! It totally reminded me of The Field Guide and the Spiderwick Chronicles, and maybe a smudge of lowkey Supernatural Winchesters too? With all magical Orders and families working to keep the world safe from monsters and such. Plus FAERIES. I super love faeries okay? I am doomed to love faeries.

It isn't super fast-paced but I did think it set up the world nicely! Definitely a lead in to all the twisty and magical things comi
...more
Hannah Heath
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
***3.5, rounding up to 4 stars***

I really enjoyed this! The concept and world building was excellent. The story takes place in the modern world. But with a twist: Faeries, portals, and all sorts of magic are real. While perhaps this has been done before, Downing approached it in a completely unique way. The fantastical elements fit into the normal world seamlessly, but it’s ramifications were also touched on: How do the normal people and magical people interact? Can they be friends? What type of
...more
Kyle
This is the most enjoyable YA fantasy novel I've read in a very long time. Daley Downing averts all the usual, tiresome tropes of the genre to deliver a refreshing story with delightful characters and a rich, captivating storyworld. Downing's fusion of Christian elements with fairy mythology is particularly clever, and I was impressed by her tasteful inclusion of characters on the autistic spectrum. The thrilling climax and unexpected ending left me eager to read more from this series; I hope Bo ...more
Deborah O'Carroll
Re-read May 2020

Rereading these and having a blast! <3

Original review (first read May 2017)

Masters and Beginners is a delightful modern fantasy novel for young adults (or anyone, really), featuring some of my favorite things, namely Faerie things! I had a lot of fun reading it! I don’t read a lot of modern fantasy largely because I don’t often like it, but this is one I didn’t mind reading and overall enjoyed muchly.

There are Faerie things (fae/faery/elves used interchangeably) which were really
...more
E.B. Dawson
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indie-authors
Harry Potter meets Warehouse 13, but with biblical mythology!

This book was a treat. I loved the creativity, including the song lyrics at the beginning of each chapter. Even the author's writing style had a unique flavor to it, which these days I much prefer to stale, mass-marketed prose. It has a bit of a whimsical pace, exploring the different aspects of this imaginary world and its characters before finally coming to the action in the last section of the book. But I didn't mind that at all. I
...more
Alexis Johnson
***Non-Spoilery Review*** A lovely first chapter for the Twelve Tribes series. Reading this made me a little nostalgic as it reminded me of a lot of books I read when I was a kid. It is evocative of the style and real-world fantasy feel of the Wrinkle in Time Series or Zilpha Keatley Snyders books. I think this falls somewhere between middle-grade and YA fiction as it will definitely appeal to a younger crowd.

Downing does a wonderful job of creating a world that supports healthy relationships,
...more
Justice
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: indie
This takes place in a world that reminded me a lot of the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, but the perspective is entirely different. Instead of high adventure, saving-the-world every day, there’s a focus on the ‘normal’ side of the Order’s lifestyle. How Order kids view the everyday world, what they do for fun, how they interact with normal people as opposed to other Order kids... The list goes on.

And don’t get me wrong- this isn't a euphemism for 'nothing happened;' there’s definitely action
...more
Elizabeth
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Why!? Did it have to end that is!
Daley did a marvelous marvelous job with the world building. Sitting just under 200 pages I'm astounded at how she managed such a fantastic adventure. This book grabbed me and held me. Sophie and her brothers were some of the best characters I have come across in my reading career so far. There truly are not a lot of characters out there that are so realistic, so relatable or even as likable!

There are a ton of magical creatures here to suit everyone's fancy. Of c
...more
Merie Shen
I liked this book!
Being such an avid lover of fantasy, I expect a lot out of them. For instance, I'm glad to say that The Order of the Twelve Tribes wouldn't exactly count as a high or epic fantasy book. It's got some nice realistic concepts in it. It was well thought out. The world building was thorough and creative, nicely done. I liked this book.
MASTERS AND BEGINNERS is about the Driscolls, a family who belong to the mysterious and magical Order of the Twelve Tribes, who are a secret organ
...more
Satabdi
Jul 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Masters & Beginners is an enjoyable YA fantasy tale with some teen drama, cute romance, bloodthirsty villains, and a whole lot of mystery and magic. It also has a huge cast of diverse characters.

I particularly enjoyed the concept of house cats transforming into menacing warriors to protect their “contracted” families.

The story emphasizes the importance of teaching family values and how children behave responsibly and think rationally when treated with respect, empathy, and understanding.

The conf
...more
Sarah
In all fairness, I really wanted to love it. I just . . . didn't. The concept was great. Small-town urban fantasy with plenty of mythological overlap, new caretakers of a secret archive of magical stuff, it should've been an instant classic. Slice-of-life emphasis? Unconventional, but I like that in a book. Family focus? Also great. I'll never complain about that. Cat fairies? May have been one of the best parts of the book. Textual "artifacts" from in-world? You know I like those.

So, yeah. This
...more
Liliyana Shadowlyn
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
Masters and Beginners is a great afternoon escape. You really do get drawn in right from the start (and I don't just mean the prologue). I loved the whole Warehouse 13ish vibe that the book gives off. I loved the fae elements, but I could've skipped some of the more biblical/Christian things. That said I'm greatly looking forward to book 2. ...more
Azelyn Klein
Last year, I set out to read more indie published books. While I don’t usually buy the physical copies first, Downing’s books are only available in print. I like reading her blog, The Invisible Moth, and I’m slightly obsessed with fantasy novels, so I thought I’d give her books a try.

Masters and Beginners is the first book in a series that follows the life of Sophie and her siblings as they move and step into their roles in a life that deals with the fae and magic. I could particularly relate wi
...more
Paul Broome
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Masters and Beginners: The Order of the Twelve Tribes, Book I is the start of fascinating and engaging narrative. Upon the demise of a matriarch, the Driscoll family becomes the caretakers of the Annex, a cross between a museum and a storage facility that preserves, through its vast, arcane holdings the power and proof the fey: the mysterious world of fairies. The novel is an experience of sheer reading pleasure.
The protagonist, Sophie Driscoll, is a sensitive fifteen-year old—what fifteen yea
...more
Jameson
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Masters and Beginners is a fun blend of fae lore and mythology and contemporary fantasy. The story follows the Driscoll family—James, Kate, and their three children: Flynn, Sophie, and Cal—as they step into a new role within an ancient Order that works to keep peace between the mortal and faery realms.

The dynamics of family was one of my favorite aspects of the story. It was refreshing to follow characters who already know about the existence of magical beings and are instead facing the challeng
...more
Aria Maher
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect blend of fantasy elements and Christian morals! This book is extraordinarily refreshing after seeing shelves flooded with so many 'popular' fantasy books filled with immorality and gratuitous violence. While Masters and Beginners has a bit of a slow start, and a lot of characters to keep track of, it is definitely worth reading, and I think it would be a fabulous book for any fan of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. The world building in this book is really good, and I can't wait to fin ...more
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Daley Downing is an autistic adult, stay at home parent, blogger, dance teacher, and self-professed lover of fantasy fiction and cats. She lives on a secret island, protected by Warriors cats, and rarely ventures to the mainland. When she's not writing, she's wrangling special needs children, her own furbaby, reading, and waiting for the TARDIS to show up.

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Other books in the series

The Order of the Twelve Tribes (2 books)
  • Rulers and Mages (The Order of the Twelve Tribes #2)

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