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Master of Sorrows

(The Silent Gods #1)

by
3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,470 ratings  ·  413 reviews
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
...more
Hardcover, 577 pages
Published February 21st 2019 by Gollancz
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Justin Call That depends what you define as romance. In the first book, for example, there is a romantic relationship, <spoiler>but it's not a true romance. It's …moreThat depends what you define as romance. In the first book, for example, there is a romantic relationship, <spoiler>but it's not a true romance. It's an opportunity for character growth and a chance to see two naive characters evolve beyond their imagined dependence on one another.</spoiler>

Within the series itself, though, characters frequently fall in and out of love, sometimes within the same book. Some relationships stick. Some don't. Some become complicated to the point that it becomes hard to define whether people are romantic interests or not. There are love triangles, hate triangles, and a variety of other intersecting lines. Despite all of those complications, there are still characters who I "ship" together, and the focus of their relationships (romantic and otherwise) is integral to their character arcs. Whether or not you define that as romance is up to the reader, I suppose, but I like to think that, yes, there are threads of romance in the series – though some are weak and some are strong.

But if you define romance as sex scenes, then I would probably say no, there are no descriptions of sex in the series (though, as in life, some characters may have sex "off-screen" and some characters may talk about sex using lewd or suggestive language). I don't consider that "romance," though, so for the purpose of your question, I'll refer to my previous answer.(less)
Justin Call Blackstone Publishing will release Master of Sorrows in North America in February of 2020 (Gollancz/Orion UK has English rights for the rest of the wo…moreBlackstone Publishing will release Master of Sorrows in North America in February of 2020 (Gollancz/Orion UK has English rights for the rest of the world except North America).

However, it is possible to get the hard copy version of the UK edition by either ordering through Book Depository (free international shipping) or by visiting Amazon.co.uk and paying for shipping to the US. Here is a link to the former: https://www.bookdepository.com/book/9...

If you are hoping for a digital US release (ebook or audiobook), you will still need to wait until the book comes out next spring.

Thanks!(less)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  1,470 ratings  ·  413 reviews


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Petrik
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Petrik by: TS Chan
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

ARC provided by the publisher—Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.


Master of Sorrows a great coming-of-age fantasy debut with promises of bigger things to come waiting to be fulfilled.

For two years Master of Sorrows by Justin Call has been sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read, and that means it’s been two years since my co-blogger—TS Chan—read and recommended the novel to me. My copy of Master of Sorrows h
...more
Sean Barrs
This is a very strong dark fantasy debut that will appeal directly to fans of The Poppy War and The Name of the Wind. It’s intense, mystical and brutal.

The novel is Asian inspired, depicting a fighting academy that has an eastern quality to it. The masters who rule their and teach their ways despise the use of magic and hoard it in their secret vault to protect the world from its effects. They hunt and kill magic users and will gladly slay an infant at birth if they bare the taint of magic. Th
...more
James Tivendale
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, freecopy
I received an uncorrected proof copy of Master of Sorrows in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Justin Call and Gollancz.

The narrative begins as we are introduced to the 17-year-old acolyte Annev. He is aiming to progress to the desired status of an Avatar of Judgement in this educational environment. The atmosphere he lives within, the classes he frequents and seminars he attends are to help him achieve this, whilst also being aided by the influence of his guardian Sodar and a varied
...more
TS Chan
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
ARC received from the publisher, Gollancz, in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars.

Master of Sorrows was a remarkable debut which I simply cannot put down.


This book recalled so much about what I loved about classic epic fantasy and yet felt modern. The author has quoted David Eddings as his earliest favourite. Having read and loved Eddings' works myself, I can definitely see the influences from The Belgariad in this book; a prophecy, Gods and a coming-of-age tale of a young man destined for
...more
Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
This book was sent to me by the author. This in no way influences my opinion of the book.

I initially finished this book and thought it to be around a 4.5 rating, but it has stayed on my mind for so long that I finally yielded and gave it a rare 5 stars. It's one of those books that I've been raving about to anyone I come across. I knew I'd enjoy it, but I went into it with the sort of passive expectation of "sure let's give it a go" only to spend the entire time going "THIS IS AMAZING!"

The worl
...more
Hamad
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

Actual Rating: 4.25 stars

“It is wise to fear what we do not understand.”


I am not sure that this review will do this book justice, I fell into a reviewing spiral and it took me many months to finally catch up with all the reviews that I need to write. I read this in May so I forgot some of the details but I did not forget that I enjoyed the book so much!

I am starting with the cover just because my mom commented on how good it looks and she us
...more
Jade Ratley
May 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
9.14 on CAWPILE
Nils | nilsreviewsit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C.G. Drews
I've been on such an epic fantasy kick lately, devouring IT ALL, and so this came at the perfect time for me to be so into the story! It's thickly epic and has harsh magic schools, forests of monsters, complex god lore, and a protagonist who manages to be affable and completely badass. It's quite a thick beast, but I found it really easy and accessible to read. The characters are mostly teens so it's a good crossover from YA to adult fantasy. It also plays a bit with some good ol' fantasy tropes ...more
Adam
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-read update: Oct 13, 2020: Since I'm about to start a pre-ARC of the sequel, I thought it would be a good idea to re-read Master of Sorrows to have all of the material fresh in my head. We're just scratching the surface of a story with massive scope in lore, religion, locations, and carefully constructed rune-based magic systems. I was expecting all that upon revisiting this book. What I wasn't expecting was to pick up all the nuance, the subtle foreshadowing and the clicking of so many piece ...more
Justin Call
Apr 07, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: written-by-me
This is my book. I rather liked writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Some things that may be helpful to know about this novel, its accompanying series, and my writing process:

(1) This is crossover fiction – both Adult Epic Fantasy and YA Fantasy. That's a feature (not a flaw); it's meant to appeal to both teens and adults. Tough cookies if you don't like that, but there it is. I tried to write something that both my 13-year-old self and my 30-year-old self would enjoy. I succeeded in doing t
...more
Nicholas Eames
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did the audiobook for this one, and loved it.

While a few things tripped me up in the beginning (an occasionally "whining" tone from the main character and what felt like a long "here's what the gods did" exposition scene) I really, really enjoyed this book.

About halfway through I listened to a podcast interview with Travis which I think helped frame a lot things for me. First, the "gods" scene that irked me actually served a very important purpose, because it's mirrored later on from a differ
...more
Maryam Rz.
Dec 19, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, dark, 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?


Um, THANK YOU???? The hero that could be the villain and the villain that could be the hero is what I need in every. single. book.

Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital
...more
Dannii Elle
Actual rating 4.5/5 stars.

The synopsis begun thus:

"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 from the very first page I knew this was a book unlike any other I had encountered before.

Many elements remained that are a prerequisite for what I consider a stellar fantasy novel - a complex magic system, a fantastical ac
...more
Lucia
Jan 29, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, fantasy
DNF at 26%

(but since I spent 10 days of my life reading that much of this book, you can bet I am rating it even though I did not finish it)

Sadly, Master of Sorrows did not touch the right buttons for me. It all comes down to the fact that this book reads very slowly. Normally, I wouldn't mind if writing is good and characters are fascinating. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Not only main character Annev is boring and super annoying but also there is none world-building. This unfortunate co
...more
Faith
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Annev is a 17 year old orphan who has been raised and mentored by the elderly priest Sodar. Annev is enrolled in an academy where the students learn to fight and also to locate magical artificats. They students must participate in a competition. The sole successful student will be elevated to Avatar. The unsuccessful ones become stewards who cannot marry and must spend their lives serving their superiors. The beginning of this book was slow and the actual competition did not start until around t ...more
Fares
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I need to gather my thoughts to review this.
Hiu Gregg
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, 2019-releases
I’ve had my eye on Master of Sorrows for quite a while. The whole concept of a hero destined to become the villain, and the struggle of fighting against that “destiny”… that’s the sort of thing that speaks to me.

But y’know, for a book about a boy destined to become The Great Evil, this is a remarkably relaxing read. There’s a lot of stuff in here that feels familiar, as though it’s pulling from or influenced by classic epic fantasies. And yet it feels fresh. It’s just familiar enough to get you
...more
Atlas
Every master has an apprenticeship

* *
2 / 5


The premise of Master of Sorrows was intriguing: a boy missing an arm in a world where those with physical scars and “deformities” are presumed to be worshipers of the dark god, with forbidden magic and a secret quest. But mostly I picked it up because I read a review that compared it to The Poppy War. The Poppy War was a dark, compelling, haunting and disturbing masterpiece. It literally haunts me sometimes. Master of Sorrows was nothing like The Poppy
...more
Mike Everest Evans
Full review originally posted on http://fantasy-hive.co.uk/

The Good: Destiny and dark magic, a fresh take on time-honoured tropes, a world brimming with history, belief and ideals, action sequences that dare to be different, and a plot filled with secrets and surprises.

The Bad: Bit of a slow burner at the start, and some of the early dialogues felt a bit like exposition (albeit necessary when covering this much world-building), but both are worth the pay off.

The Ugly Truth: A modern take on the
...more
Jeremy Jackson
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Man, I needed that. The breath of air you get from MoS is both fresh and nostalgic at once; fast-paced and compelling, it reads like a classic fantasy without feeling derivative. It harkens to Earthsea and Name of the Wind, but its world is wholly original. We glimpse intimations of its grander scope, and the promised twist--that the Chosen One is prophesied to be an instrument of darkness instead of good--is tantalizingly alluded to, but never realized. I assume this development will be expound ...more
Hasna
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, fantasy
It has got elements I like:

•High Fantasy blended with mythology
•Complex magic system
•Internal politics and secrets
•Magical creatures
•Master-apprentice trope, this was very well done.
•Protagonist with a disability

But, it was slow paced for my taste. Couldn't get into it in the first half, it was more YAish. Second half took a turn and got darker, pace improved as well. The main character made some questionable decisions which irked me. The idea of a traditional hero descending towards a darker p
...more
Melissa
This book is a captivating dark fantasy, set in a world where having magic is a curse and a proof of evil. There are not a lot of books where magic is prohibited, and I like to read them. Other than the fact I was imagining that Annev was 19-20 years old instead or 17, because let's face it, he knew too much stuff for his age, I have nothing negative to say about this book. It is a whirlwind of action, magic, teens being teens (tw for bullying) and it's SO GOOD.

The second book of this series wil
...more
Izzie
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy, arcs, ebooks
I enjoyed Master of Sorrows, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the series has in store - however something just felt a little flat, so for now I'm giving it 3.5 which I might up to four stars when I write a full review. ...more
Kirsti
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This SOUNDED on paper like something I'd really enjoy, but in reality it was far from the case. I felt like this was too long, too drawn out and by the end I couldn't wait to finish. The funny thing is, there was plenty of action in the mean time; probably too much. Annev is always competing, fighting, discovering and the whole thing felt exhausting. At first, I was waiting for him to FINALLY achieve his life goal of becoming an avatar. (view spoiler) ...more
Liv | Books to Liv by
Rating: 4.5 stars
HEA: (view spoiler)
“I feared that knowing we might leave one day would stop you pursuing your dreams. Boys need dreams. When you become an old man like me, you exchange them for hope, and then spend your hopes on others’ dreams.”

Reading this book was a delightful experience. I knew it was about a young boy, Annev, born with a missing arm, that lived in a secret village where its citizens believed that deformities were the unmistakable mark of
...more
Maja Ingrid
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
4-4,5 stars

“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?” was what caught my interest when this book came. I’ve found I like that kind of stuff. While the book wasn't exactly what I expected, it was certainly a blast to read. And Annev was a gem to follow. I first thought he was around 15-ish, and not 17, because at times he does ac
...more
 Vanessa  B. ♡
Master of Sorrows was a great debut by Justin Travis Calls. It is a dark fantasy that reminded of some other classic fantasy books, such as The Name of the Wind.

The book tells the story of Annev, an orphan who studies at the Academy in order to become an Avatar. Avatars are tasked with finding magical objects and hiding them from the world, in order to protect it from their corruption He is also hiding his identity and power. When he was born he was missing a hand, which was a sign that he is a
...more
Jessie Sedai of the Black Ajah&#x1f940;&#x1f40d;
Thank you, Mr. Justin T Call, for restoring my faith in the notion that the epic fantasy subgenre is the single greatest literary device ever created.

I don't throw around the term "masterpiece" often, and for good reason, I mean c'mon, who am I to make that kind of call? I'm not a scholar. I have no English literature degree. I'm just a quiet, average girl wearing way too much cat hair who's addicted to fantasizing about living in a magical world where there's no modern day plumbing or Mallomars
...more
Yuli Atta
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-tbr
This started out well enough and it was actually interesting to me for a long time. However, as I didn't see the plot progressing for 300 pages I gradually lost interest. I got to a point where I skipped 40 pages and I didn't miss a thing.

The first 240 pages are awfully repetitive and could've been cut in half. It's exactly the kind of thind I personally don't like reading about and I feel like I played myself dirty by trying a book that was so obviously not my cup of tea. However, I was willing
...more
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Master of Sorrows [April 22, 2020] 37 22 Apr 27, 2020 02:03PM  
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Justin Call graduated from Harvard University in 2012 with an ALM in Literature and Creative Writing. He has studied fantasy literature for almost two decades and is the author of Master of Sorrows, Book 1 of The Silent Gods tetralogy. Justin is also the CEO of Broomstick Monkey Games and co-designer of the games Imperial Harvest, Royal Strawberries, Royal Scum, and 8 Kingdoms. He currently lives ...more

Other books in the series

The Silent Gods (4 books)
  • Master Artificer (The Silent Gods, #2)
  • Master of the Fallen (The Silent Gods, #3)
  • Untitled Call 4 of 4 (The Silent Gods, #4)

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Secrets between siblings, grandparents with grievances, parents with problems. If you're looking for serious drama, check out these new...
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“What is it about old books that makes them smell so delicious. Like almonds...or chocolate.” 2 likes
“Annev screwed up his face. "Then that makes you...?"

Sodar straightened his clothes proudly. "On the sixth day of Tenthmonth, I shall be two thousand seven hundred and thirty-six. Close your mouth. You look like a shovel fish.”
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