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Master of One

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Sinister sorcery. Gallows humor. A queer romance.

Rags is a thief—an excellent one. He's stolen into noble's coffers, picked soldier's pockets, and even liberated a ring or two off the fingers of passersby. Until he's caught by the Queensguard and forced to find an ancient fae relic for a sadistic royal sorcerer.

But Rags could never have guessed this "relic" would actually be a fae himself—a distractingly handsome, annoyingly perfect, ancient fae prince called Shining Talon. Good thing Rags can think on his toes, because things just get stranger from there...

544 pages, Hardcover

First published November 10, 2020

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About the author

Jaida Jones

11 books474 followers
Jaida Jones is a graduate of Barnard College, where they wrote their thesis on monsters in Japanese literature and film. A poet and native New Yorker, they had their first collection of poetry, Cinquefoil published by New Babel Books in 2006. They also co-wrote the Shoebox Project - a Harry Potter fan website with more than five thousand subscribed members. They currently live in Brooklyn with their wife and co-author, Danielle Bennett.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 942 reviews
Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
926 reviews794 followers
June 5, 2022
5 stars

Why aren’t there more people reading this book?? Thieves, Indiana Jones-style adventure quests, queer slow burn Fae/thief romance, courtly betrayals, and a truly masterful and fresh approach to long-form traditional YA fantasy tropes.

Concept: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Humor: ★★★★★
Slow Burn Romance: ★★★★
Enjoyment: ★★★★★

Master of One took me by surprise. Literally. I picked it up on a whim, started reading, and found myself emerging from my reading hidey-hole HOURS later with a crick in my neck and a new obsession.

It's what I wished Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series had been for me. It's what could have happened if Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows band of misfits had been dunked into a mid-2000s-era YA medieval fantasy setting and given an epic quest instead of a heist, less #angst, and more queer humor. And it's also what Snow White's evil queen could have been up to in a parallel reality. And so on.

Basically, this was a book that I didn't realize fulfilled an empty niche on my bookshelves until I started reading it and went "Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you all along."

From the top, we're introduced to a thief named Rags. He's in prison and awaiting some form of torture on behalf of the Queensguard for his attempt to steal some royal treasure. Instead, Rags is coerced into a quest to find an ancient Fae relic for the Queen's magician. And to ensure Rags' compliance, the magician sticks a mirrorshard in his heart as insurance—if Rags tries to run, hide, or break his bargain, the magician will just twist the mirrorshard and kill him.

Brutally effective, and yet oddly beautiful in its theory. Like most of this book.

So Rags and the magician set out to find the relic. This feels like a quest novel for the chosen one, but that's not really what it is. Because instead of a finding a relic, Rags discovers an ancient Fae warrior from the Ancient race long thought dead in the realm. The Fae warrior says Rags has awakened him to help locate the six Masters of the Paragon, and ancient Fae weapon/tool that can only be wielded by the six Masters predestined for it. (In a not-at-all shocking turn of events, it's discovered that this weapon is what the magician wanted to find all along.)

From there, Master of One turns into an adventure quest to discover the other relics, the other Masters, and to somehow thwart the magician before he decides to kill Rags and the team in order to take the weapon for himself. Insert some AMAZING dry humor and slow burn M/M romance between the Fae warrior and Rags—plus a truly eclectic cast of other side characters including an ex-Queensguard, a banished former court lady, a transgender actress, and a disabled prince—and you've got a winner.

This was just so good. I will say it's quite slow to start, and takes its time for the rest of the plot too, but I found that the pacing was necessary for the plot. In a way, it felt like a traditional/old school adult fantasy epic given its slower introduction to the world and its characters. It's also the slowest of slow burns and takes its sweet time introducing all of the POVs and potential relationships at play. Again, I didn't mind, but definitely know that going in.

Overall, a fantastic series opener. I can't wait for more—that ending did NOT resolve the plot, so here's to hoping a sequel is announced soon.

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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,614 followers
June 19, 2021
For the first little bit, I thought this was going to be so good. Then, it just turned me off.

I liked the creatures and the edition is beautiful but unfortunately, this book is going to me traded in.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

December FairyLoot Unboxing and we got some awesome stuff! Click the link under the pic to see the GOODIES!

Profile Image for Nerily.
101 reviews673 followers
November 25, 2020
Ok let's be honest.

This is probably not 5 stars.
I couldn't care less.

I add a star as a "Sorry If I thought you were a trashy book, I will never do it again"

But please.
I need the sequel.

God, I love when I am wrong in a good way about books.
Profile Image for jocelyn.
167 reviews14 followers
February 8, 2021
2 / 5
i really enjoyed this in the first 100 pages, but it dragged sooo much after that. it threw me into a weeks-long reading slump, my FIRST ONE THIS YEAR. i was under the impression that this book would be about a thief, a fae, a heist, and some gay adventures, but that constituted a very low percentage of the story.
the beginning was the only heist part, starting off with a sort of aladdin-esque plot. rags, the thief, is forced by the queen’s sorceress to break into a fae stronghold with only his cleverness, and i actually really liked that. i could really appreciate rags’s ingenuity and his ever-present humor. he might have been the most enjoyable part of the book.
but the fae love interest, shiny talon, and virtually every other character (who i can’t remember the names of, i’m sorry) were kind of boring to me. they didn’t have as much depth as i would have liked. i found it hard to believe that every single integral character is inherently altruistic and ready to do the right thing without any hesitation, but maybe i’m just cynical. the magical animal (?) companions and the whole quest to find them weren’t that compelling either. as i said, it got really slow and kind of meandering, and plot lost a lot of my interest. the romance didn’t work for me either, mostly because the love interest was a bit bland. overall it was pretty disappointing, especially since the premise had so many things i should have liked, but it was a digestible read and can still be fun if you want to give it a try.
Profile Image for Mariah.
1,183 reviews448 followers
June 18, 2021

Okay I'm going with 4 stars, probably rounding up a bit there.
I am aware that I was in the exact perfect mood for this book, otherwise this would be a very different review and rating.

This is a quiet story. Don't pick this up expecting big thrills or a large romance plot, you'll be setting yourself up for disappointment.

My favorite part of this was Rags' POV, his entire inner mologue was just deeply entertaining and kept me invested in the story. It was definitely more character driven than plot driven than what I expect from titles similarly marketed, which is not an issue for me at all, but I know it bothers a lot of people.

Shinning Talon. Oh Shinning Talon. These two are so damn soft. And you bet I'm buying myself a hard copy to tab every sideways glance, shoulder brush, errant thought, sniff or smell between these dumb dumbs.

As a stand alone this leaves a lot of unanswered questions, but that read to me as part of its charm? I've heard the authors are negotiating a sequel and I would definitely pick that up. I think this would have truly shined as pre-planned trilogy, with room for better development and world building and more evenly split POVs distribuition which would hopefully lead to higher investment on the secondary characters. Though again, Rags was my favorite and I can't really complain in having his POV be the star of the show.

Also. A Shinning Talon POV. I beg of you. Even just an Epilogue from his POV would've been such a treat.
Profile Image for Taschima.
860 reviews393 followers
November 9, 2020
This book almost put me in the biggest reading slump ever.

It is so LONG. It is not a "heist story" even though a thief is the main character, it is more an Indiana Jones looking for lost fae treasure story. There is no convoluted clever plan to steal anything, there are puzzles to reach a treasure though.

And, I was just bored quite honest.

The beginning felt rushed to me. I didn't have time to bond to the MC (even though he has quite a morbid sense of humor) before we were literally sent straight into the belly of the beast. It felt awkward as a start point. The whole world building was kind of reminiscent of fairy tales--We have the Ever-lands, ruled by the Ever-brights, then every other royal family has an "Ever-" name. One of the POV's for example is by an Ever-loyal. Then there is the queen who never ages, her mages who are all powerful, the defeated fae, and this thief who only wanted a good pay day.

After the thief, Rags, find treasure in the form of a fae warior that has been sleep for centuries, you all have to go on the merry quest of finding 5 (or 6?) other people who are supposed to be masters of these pokemon fae animal creatures who somehow all together come together to make this weapon that the queen will somehow use to... kill her own subjects? Yeah, it was confusing as I really have no idea why the queen is going through the lengths she is going. Other than a small rebellion in her own kingdom she has everything she could want. It seems to me she would have been better off by hiding her evil deeds under a veneer of goodness (you know, like most politicians) but then that would be interesting and require a bit more character development for the queen.

You get six different POVs in all. Some more interesting than others. I particularly enjoyed Inis Ever-loyal's POV as she is the sister of the character who gets killed in the prologue because he went agaisnt the queen. You can say she has a lot of anger as part of her family was brutally killed and she then has to take over the up bringing of her little sister. There is also Shinning Talon (a very dry character with little to no personality, and we call him Shinning Talon for most of the book), Cab (an ex soldier), Somhairle (one of the princes--he is actually super interesting as he spends the majority of his life in exile due to the circumstances of his birth--he has a disability and he uses the way people treat him to his full advantage), and lastly you get maybe a chapter or two from Elinan (a trans actress who is part of the rebellion against the queen).

For the most part we just spend the novel bringing the cast together so they may, against all odds, defeat the evil sorcerer who works for the queen. Master of One did not bring anything overly interesting to the table, it had pacing issues, and it is longer than it needs to be. It is not for me, and I will most likely forget about the story by the end of the year.

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!
Profile Image for Devanshi.
241 reviews157 followers
November 17, 2020
Exciting wasn’t powerful enough for what Somhairle had found. A group of strangers who could be friends. A group of friends who might become heroes.

When I read the blurb and saw Six of Crows + The Cruel Prince my deal was sealed despite not knowing anything about the authors or story. But did this book meet all my expectations? Definitely!

We have a little sweet thief with a lot of humor (not at all anything like Kaz so don't expect that), a too literal cute fae prince (NOT our cruel Prince), an ex-soldier loyal to a fault, an angry young girl, a sunshine prince and a great villain with a lot of interesting side characters. With the heist plot of SoC and the dark setting of TCP... Yes! Absolutely loved it and can't wait for the next book!!

Buddy read with Rae .Thank you for recommending this gem and our book talks were a lot of fun despite the big time differences 😊
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,403 reviews1,849 followers
April 10, 2021
This might be a read I could actually round up on but for now I'm going to linger just under a three. I definitely didn't hate this and, despite the length (so long!), it was a pretty easy read — I swear, my eyes only skimmed the tiniest bit. Also the concept is definitely different and I appreciate that. But I do rather feel the pitch of this book as being a big ol' heist adventure is patently false.

Instead, this book is about the ever lasting reign of a queen who has committed, or at least contributed to, genocide against the fae that used to live alongside them. And a resistance that has spawned in the wake of not only her un-ending reign but also the secrets that lie beneath the surface.

Said resistance is led in part by unsuspecting characters who are pulled together by some kind of fae destiny as the discovery of one leads to another, who leads to the next, etc. This is not the standalone I thought it to be (again, see aforementioned length) so nothing is quite resolved and players are still to be discovered (hope you like multiple POVs!). Along with, you know, taking down the queen and her various sorcerers and unmasking her along the way.

What kept me from enjoying this to the extent I thought I could was how removed I felt from so much of it. I mostly felt this in the characters but I also kind of feel it of the world, too. Like, I can mostly visualize it but it's very.. rough. Not fleshed out. The authors have set the stage but forgotten the props. You understand the motions that are playing out but there's nothing to draw the eye. Anyway, enough of that.

I will pick up the next book because I'll admit I'm curious at the motivations behind the big ruse. But that's mostly it. Plus, I do have one character that kind of was a favourite, even though he’s the love interest for one of the more annoying main characters. Poor guy.

If you like fae, if you want a fantasy that has queer rep, and are keen to dive into a pretty substantial series (duology, trilogy, who can say!) opener, this might just be the book for you.

2.5 stars

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Andy.
2,408 reviews189 followers
November 9, 2020
Thank you to TBR & Beyond Tours, Netgalley, the authors and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Can I reread this already?? Honestly, my brain is just scrambled from all the amazing books I've been reading lately, but Master of One takes the cake. A thief who discovers the last fae? A slow burn Achillean romance? A crew that is diverse and queer? They must take down an evil sorcerer and Queen? Yes, this book checks all the boxes that I wanted and more. WHERE IS THE SEQUEL?!? If I may request, I need me a sapphic ship next, thank you.

Rags is an excellent thief, but when his latest catch ends up with him working for a terrifying sorcerer, Rags is sure he's in over his head. When he succeeds in solving a deadly puzzle he expects his life and riches. What he gets is the last Fae prince. Shining Talon instantly hates the Lying One sorcerer, and is devoted to Rags for waking him. But can these two find out what Morien the Last is truly up to and stop him before it's too late.

This is a slow burn story that creeps up and knits itself into your heart. The first half of the book is bit slow and mainly focuses on Rags. As it continues we start to get additional character POVs and they all begin to weave a web between each other that's bound to collide. I really loved seeing this disaster squad being thrown together and trying to figure out their pasts/what is even currently happening.

As for queer rep, I heard from a friend that the authors have stated everyone in this book is queer, and I am here for this. As for the rep I clearly saw on the page: a M/M relationship, another possible M/M relationship, and a trans woman character. One of the characters also has a physical disability due to birth defects/chronic illness.

I really loved these characters and the world so much. I feel like we just got to understand the world and the conflicts within it and then the book ended. I really hope we get a sequel! Easily one of my fave reads of October!

Profile Image for rin.
411 reviews488 followers
Shelved as 'maybe'
March 21, 2019
" When a common thief finds himself on the wrong side of the law, his punishment is to join an evil sorcerer on a perilous journey to uncover a lost fae relic. The relic turns out to be a fae himself—a distractingly handsome, annoyingly perfect, ancient fae prince. Together they must save the world from the evil sorcerer, while trying not to fall in love with each other."

Profile Image for No One.
283 reviews82 followers
July 8, 2020
Goodness I love this book with all my heart and instantly fell in love with each character. Such a unique book and I’m eager for more
Profile Image for Darcey.
928 reviews197 followers
February 10, 2021
3.5 stars

buddy read with the wonderful Ashley :))

ooo such fun!! this had a veryyyy slow start, but once it picked up i enjoyed the novel! the fantasy worldbuilding was interesting and the romance was cute, i just had a slight issue with the characters, as i only found myself growing attached to a couple of them. ah well, i'm glad i read this and i look forward to book 2!
Profile Image for Julie.
267 reviews16 followers
January 10, 2021
[...clears throat]

**Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

This is definitely 4.5 stars. Woah.
As you might have guessed from those opening lines, I stayed up late finishing this book one night and it quickly became one that I wanted to scream about... at many friends...

Things that this book has that you will love:
- a heist. Enough said.
- a quest that comes about from the above heist. It is such an adventure and there were some fantastic twists!
- awesome characters! I honestly loved all of the characters. And they are so realistically flawed. It is amazing to see!
- rep! There is LGBTQ+ rep, and a character is disabled due to a chronic illness (this one is hard for me to peg for the rep, but the character has a chronic illness and their body has some birth defects which has resulted in the necessary use of help for walking). And these are both characters that get povs.
- fae! I feel like so many of us love fae in stories 😅
- a really cool magic system. This one is so unique, I honestly haven't encountered another magic system like this one which was so refreshing and intriguing!!!
- a creepy evil sorcerer 🙌
- a found family of sorts. More like a crew of characters that is forced together due to the quest and circumstances, and quickly bonds to look out for each other.

I really enjoyed the writing, and as I mentioned, the characters are so well done. There were so many scenes that had me on the edge of my seat either from the action or simply because I was stressed out about the predicament/uncomfortableness of the characters. Even the side characters are so cool!! It does switch between different points of views, but the chapters clearly outline which character POV you are following.

There isn't a lot I can get into without giving things away, so I am going to leave it at that. While there are numerous differences, could definitely recommend this if you liked the heist, adventure, and found family parts of Six of Crows. They have some small similarities in my opinion!

While the pacing was a little difficult sometimes, that was the only piece that kept me from rating this a full 5 stars.
I will mention - check the pronunciation guide! A few character names are based on Celtic words and sounds I think, so they are pronounced quite different than how they are spelt (ie. Somhairle is pronounced SORE-luh). I was definitely pronouncing quite a few of the names wrong in my head before I found the pronunciation guide at the back... [side note: I ended up chatting with Jaida Jones about this and I was correct! The names have Celtic and Welsh influences - WHICH IS SO COOL!]

Some trigger warnings: a lot of cursing, some blood, death, grief. There are additional things that are quite minor for trigger warnings but I will list them since they are mentioned in the story: animal death, child abuse, infertility, kidnapping, torture.
Profile Image for Sarah (thegirltheycalljones).
417 reviews284 followers
March 20, 2021
Edit March 20th : I wrote this review when the book had 140 ratings on GR, so that's why I'm wondering why nobody read it in my review below : it has now approx 1300 ratings, and I hope, still counting!

Okay, there are a lot of things I don't understand here, first of all, why is nobody talking about this book more? I've seen it nowhere on my feed and to be honest, I can't even remember how I heard about it myself (probably a bookstagram account?) but this book deserves some hype!

Second, I think the fact this is advertised as a romance kinda undermines the book? Because yes, there is romance, but the first hint doesn't hit before the 40% mark and anyway, it's much more than romance, which is not really the focus of the story?
There's a real plot, a real lore, adventures, likeable and interesting characters that get to know each others and bond slowly (understand "credibly") over this unpredicted and heavy task falling on their shoulders.

It's not a perfect book, the pace is not completely even and some repetitions about what and how this character feel can annoying after a while (yes I'm looking at you, Rags, my dearest)
But it's much, much better than many YA Fantasy I read in the past years, which got a lot of hype. It's not only "better than". It's good. I was so genuinely happy to go back to it every night! I'm now waiting for the second book with anticipation and hope! IT'S A GOOD BOOK.

Oh and I kinda get why it's labelled "YA" but I also kinda disagree (drinking game : take a shot every time I use the word "kinda" in this review).
It's not "adult" either.
The truth lays in this very specific limbo where some books wander, because the correct label would probably be "NA" but in the Book-World, it's already taken as a code word for "smut", so you can definitely not use it if it doesn't have abs on the cover. Therefore, I cannot use it here either because it's 100% inaccurate.
It's a limbo book.

Also, you should know that there's a great deal of diversity, and it's dealt with exactly how it should always be : naturally, with subtlety and grace. Because yes, you can be those three things at the same time.
Which was a fucking refreshing thing to see, after reading a lot of books where diversity is more like boxes to tick to get online praises than real interest.

I loved every single one of the characters (well, not all...), they all have something to tell and some humanity to share.
I was fearing the many different POVs at first but I ended up really enjoying each, and never dreading one in particular which, in multiple-POVs books, is rare enough to be mentioned.

This book has flaws, and those flaws would have made me roll my eyes in another book but not here. I can't really explain why, really.
I want to protect this book like you want to protect a sibling : I can say it's not perfect but you better shut your mouth okay because who even are you? I'll fight you over it.

I'm sorry, this review is messy. I just don't know how to explain myself today. I have no idea who will read this, but give this book a chance, it's totally worth it.
Profile Image for Sophie's Reading Corner .
808 reviews325 followers
November 7, 2020
In this YA LGBTQ fantasy we have Rags, a thief who somehow has to go on a secret quest. We meet amazing characters along the way and the humor is epic! We have thieves, Princes, sorcerers, fae, Knights, etc. If you're a fan of books by Leigh Bardugo and Holly Black, then you should read this book!

I really enjoyed this book!! I loved the tests that Rags had to go through in the beginning and how clever they were. I also loved how developed and multilayered these characters were. If you love fantasy worlds, with magic, fae and you love diversity, you need to pick this up!
Profile Image for Ashley.
800 reviews442 followers
February 10, 2021
Star Rating: —> 4.5 Stars

(BR with the perfect Darce as per usu!)

.5 stars taken off because the first 100 pages of this book were almost insufferably slowwwww. BUT OH WELL, THIS BOOK IS SO WORTH IT!

UMMMMM. THIS. BOOOOOOK!!! Literally this book was so freaking fantastic I can't even explain. The LGBTQIA reps here were just AHHHHH my heart is SOARING, guys!

And this had everything— an evil sorcerer, a dirty mouthed thief (which warning, may not be your thing, but personally bring on all the curse words; I love it 😂) , a gorgeous brooding fae, a prince, a disgraced noble, AND COMPANIONS THAT ARE ANIMALS MADE OF SILVER THAT COMMUNICATE back & forth WITH THEIR MASTERS THROUGH A TELEPATHIC BOND! and okay I have to stop at the moment because clearly i'm just rambling but GUYS THIS WAS SUCH A FUN, UNIQUE, MAGICAL AS ALL HELL, WHIRLWIND OF A RIDE ! I'm dying to get my hands on the sequel which won't happen for awhile yet but... there's nothing I can do about that soooo... DAMN IT ! haha.

This was such an incredibly woven fantasy tale with a crazy amazing magic system and AMAZINGLY written characters, each so distinctly different, & so incredibly interesting...

anyway this review probably makes ZERO sense atm, because I was up all night! But if you take away anything from it... this book was ASTOUNDDDDING...simply breathtaking. You absolutely CANNOT MISS out on this one!

100% recommend!
Profile Image for Yuli Atta.
557 reviews88 followers
December 27, 2020
DNF @ 74% I rated it because I read so much of it.

Warning: This review is going to be a mess. It will be kind of like bullet points and me expanding on them.

Yet another book that lies in the synopsis.

A heist, "a pair of reluctant heroes who take on a world-ending prophecy, a malicious royal plot, and most of all, their feelings for each other" is what I was offered. But where is it?

The book starts off pretty well actually. While I didn't think the idea was especially original, I liked it, and since I've decided to give a chance to some YA books whose premise I find interesting, I decided to read it. To be clear, I listened to the audiobook because this is what gets me through YA as I'm not especially fond of this age category but I still believe the ideas are good.

What I love about YA, in particular, is that it's faster-paced than adult fantasy books which makes me read it way faster than said adult SFF. The book starts off immediately with the action and throughs you right into the story which is what I liked. However, the counter-argument to this could be that it doesn't give you time to get to know the main character, Rags, but don't worry, you won't learn much about the others either.

I actually didn't have any problems with the book per se up until the halfway point when I realized what the pattern is and when I realized that this book...isn't really a heist story, nor would it have a group of reluctant heroes who are also friends, nor would it have the gay romance I was promised. Also, the title doesn't make any sense to me.

Now granted, I did DNF at 74% (which I decided to do after writing the paragraph above) so maybe it will be revealed what it means in the last 26%.
Here's why I think it doesn't make sense: Cab, the master of one in question doesn't even have that many chapters dedicated to him. He is the so-called master of one, but he's barely in the story. Also, I feel like it should've been titled with something that makes more sense but in the end, they might end up merging all of the things they are masters of into one and therefore become the master of one, or maybe one of them would be this sole master at the end but frankly? I couldn't care less.

The POV pattern: I mentioned that I noticed the pattern in the book and here's the thing, I usually don't care about POV switch patterns, you do what works for you and I'll complain about it because I find dedicating individual chapters to different characters extremely limiting. Like, you are telling a story in the 3rd person, which is one of the freest ways of telling a story, you can literally have a POV about a stone but you choose to limit yourself to chapters dedicated to a specific character when you should be able to switch between POVs at any point. But I digress, that's just my preferred method of storytelling.

My problem here is the way it's done. It starts off with Rags, one of the main characters and we have not one, not 2, not 3, not even 10, not even 15 chapters in a row about Rags. We have TWENTY chapters in a row about Rags and chapter 21 is when the authors do the first POV switch. Now granted, this is their way of setting up the story, introducing us to the splot and two of the characters, but this could've easily been done by introducing us to the other 5 characters early on instead of adding them as the story progresses. I can see why they thought this was a good idea. In the book, after Rags woke up Shining Talon (honestly, IDK how anybody can take themselves seriously with a name like that in a YA novel but I'll talk about this later) it was revealed that Rags is master of five and Shining Talon boi is master of six but before they are able to activate their whatever they have to do it in order, so that's how we get to Cab, who's master of One. Ironically, his is not the first POV we get after Rags, instead, it's the master of three's POV but NVM.

So after the master of one has awakened his lizard-looking animal companion, he gets an idea (in some profound spiritual way) of where to find the master of two. That's when we get this person's POV and this is how the story progresses and here's the POV pattern I was talking about. With the introduction of the new masters, we get a new POV... However, this pattern doesn't make that much sense because the second POV was Somhairle's, who's master of 3, and Rag's supposedly master of 5, but he's the main character, so I guess it doesn't matter? I don't even know if this makes any sense.

My point is, this type of character introduction is very risky and very limited for a standalone because it doesn't give us enough time in the characters' heads before they get to do their thing.?. I wasn't excited or worried about any of them this entire time because: I didn't know them and I knew they'd do their things and nobody would risk killing them. Basically, even though the main conflict is painted to be this big thing and the characters have these shards planted in their hearts by this old evil wizard, there are no real stakes against them.

Why's that? Glad you asked because this is my next point.

Character ages don't make sense: The reason I said that they aren't afraid they're gonna be killed off is that in order for them to find their animal companion to be a master of, they have to be of age. However, it is never specified what that age is. Rags is about 16, I'm pretty sure Inis is anywhere between 15 and 20, Cab is a deserter, so he's either 18 or older but he reads like a child, Somhairle is 18 but he reads like a child as well and as I said, it's never specified what is coming of age for this book. Does it mean that they get to activate their powers when they come of age, or do they get to do it after they've come of age, at whatever age they are at? This is what I find confusing the most. Granted, this weapon (the thing with the animal companions and them being masters of these animals is an actual weapon, I know, confusing and I'm not doing it justice either) was sealed off for centuries but it still doesn't say what's coming of age. But basically, the characters don't have to be afraid of being killed because nobody wants to wait until their coming of age. Given how vague this "coming of age" is I'm not surprised. They'd either have to wait for another 16 years or maybe even 70.

This book is the authors' YA debut and from what I saw, they've had adult fantasy books previously but I actually thought they had written middle grade instead because Master of One reads like a book that doesn't quite fit in YA but it doesn't fit in middle grade either. IDK about you but I signed in for YA and I wanted YA. This is more like middle-grade with older characters. Also, having a character named Shining Talon (which is the SHORT version of his name) doesn't help. Some people might find this funny and adorable, but I feel like it's just mocking the fae. If you wanted a cool name, you should've made up something. Do a keyboard smash and make the character shorten it to George or something. Especially since Shining Talon doesn't have any talons. Also, a great missed opportunity about a talon joke as well.

Additionally, IDK if this is just an audiobook thing or what but Somhairle (who's a boy) is 18 years old but the narrator makes him sound like a child. Him having a disability makes that worse. I feel like she intentionally makes her voice higher when she's reading his chapters and IDK how to feel about that. Also, I've no idea why they chose a female narrator (or a feminine voice) for a book whose cast is predominantly male.

Characters don't know each other: I kind of expected to see some kind of friendship between the characters but I didn't. They don't know each other and they are also supposed to be these reluctant heroes, but honestly?, the only reason they are "reluctnat" is because they're literally blackmailed into it.

Where is my gay romance? At the end. I was promised some of that and there's barely any. Besides, they make it sound like it's gonna be dramatic and it's not. I know that holding hands with an old fae prince could be sooooooo exciting and cute but Rags (who's 16) and Shining Talon boi(who was young when he was sealed off for 700 years) barely talk to each other so it just came out of nowhere and it was at the 70% mark as well.

I know there are other characters I could talk about but Rags is the most prominent and memorable one, not because he has a personality or an especially interesting role but because he has the most chapters and I feel like his chapters were the most interesting and most relevant ones. If this book was written just in Rags' POV we wouldn't have lost anything from it. I feel like the authors started writing it that way and then after the first 20 chapters, they decided to add 5 more POVs.

I also skimmed quickly to the end and it doesn't seem to be a standalone as I initially thought which defeats the point of the argument I forgot to make. Which was supposed to be the fact that for a standalone, nothing was developed well enough so let's hope, if there is indeed a sequel, it will be.

Also, the famous heist happened in the first 100 pages or so and I found it to be the most interesting thing about the book, and yet kind of stupid as well.

Thank you to Harper360YA for sending me this review copy.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,290 reviews215 followers
March 14, 2021
Ever since I got this book in my FairyLoot box, well, I'll be honest - I was completely hesitant to dive into it. Mostly because of the cover and I was just like - meh, okay. Luckily for me, I got past the cover and dove into the damn book. It also didn't hurt that someone else wanted to read it with me.

In the end, it all worked out because I devoured this book. I honestly really enjoyed the heck out of this because it was really hard to put down Master of One. Whether it was the characters or the actual plot, I was just so invested. Plus Rags was hilarious and I enjoyed each and every second of his sarcasm. It gave me great joy whenever it happened (which was all the time).

Plus I really liked the magical element of this book. Although I am mad that we only found 4 of the masters and their little relics. Or in some cases - big relics. Either way I enjoyed the ones that they found because they were highly entertaining. Back to being mad though, it ended after we found the fourth one. We already know who the next two masters are, or so they say, but we have no relics for them? WHAT THE HELL GUYS?!?!?

Ugh, this book was really trying to kill me and I don't see another book added to GR yet. If this is left as a standalone.. I will riot.

Other than that, the romance was okay but really slow for me. Sometimes slow burns will work for me but ugh, I wanted more. Which, hopefully, that will happen whenever the next book is made. AKA I NEED IT NOW. HOT DAMN.
Profile Image for Anniek.
1,760 reviews647 followers
December 23, 2020
I normally can't really focus on SFF audiobooks, but this one was a clear exception. It was such a long book, but I almost couldn't stop listening to it, I had so much fun! It was very fast-paced from the start and just so much happened.
Profile Image for Starr ❇✌❇.
1,202 reviews120 followers
September 19, 2020
I received an ARC from Edelweiss
TW: physical abuse, torture

Rags is a thief- and a good one at that. But when he's caught pulling what would have been the heist of his life, he's forced into an even bigger and riskier heist. One involving the dangerous, and now all wiped out fae folk. Except the treasure at the end isn't any treasure he was expecting- instead, it's a still living fae boy and the new understanding that he's just at the beginning. With a crew of the forgotten, damaged, and angry, they need to find the fae's most important creation, and the kingdom's biggest secret.

I feel like a deer in the headlights of love gif

This book is so much fun! If I had to compare it to other stories, I'd describe it as a mix of Lord of the Rings, Avatar the Last Air Bender, and a healthy dose of Holly Black. But, honestly, it stands on its own feet as something more unique than that.
There's elements of heist, there's layers of secrecy connected to the crown, and the over arcing story is about discovering the chosen people to form a mental and spiritual connection of living, mechanical magic animals. Literally what more could you want?

First of all, the world is so interesting. It's built off of familiar ideas- the poverty, the court full of manipulation and lies- but the whole dynamic with the fae is fantastic. The idea of there not just having been war between their people, but a desire to (and the ability to) learn or steal the magic from the fae, is so intense and makes the entire relationship between the two races mean so much more.
The idea of mirrorcraft is also so compelling and awful. Basically, the way sorcerers use mirrorcraft is by inserting it into people's hearts to control them, or threaten them into acting on their own. For a big lover of The Snow Queen, honestly this made me excited from the get go. This kind of magic is so cruel and so impossible not to gape at like a rubbernecker. The situation these characters are now in, with the hearts and bodies in the hands of a malicious controller, is so palpable and had me unable to put down the book.

The characters are the best part of this story, hands down, and I will happily lay a grand piece of this at the feet of my favorite character- Rags. Every single character in this book is intriguing, unique, emotional, and dynamic, but nobody can quite hold a candle to Rags. In fact, one of the few things that felt negative about my reading experience was that I kept finding myself wanting more Rags every time their was a change in perspective. I'll admit, I definitely had, and have, a bias, and once the story broke away from Rags as the sole main character, I had a bit of separation anxiety.

But Rags is an amazing character! He's snarky, he covers up all his soft feelings by being rude or ridiculous, he constantly lets people under estimate him so he can use their perception of him as a fool to keep himself alive, and keep other people from getting harmed. I mean, this boy distracts an evil sorcerer time and time again by doing things he knows will get him hurt just to keep the other people around him safe from the wrath. He is the archtypical soft, martyr who will absolutely never let you see that they are soft, or a martyr.

Shining Talon of Vengeance Drawn in Westward Strike (who I will now refer to as Tal) is also a great character, and the romance between Tal and Rags is one that I have been thinking about and freaking out about from the moment Tal appeared on page all the way to now, weeks after I've finished the book. I wish there was a little more focus on it, so there was more time and more of an exploration to why Tal is so interested and invested in Rags, but I'll mostly forgive that, because their dynamic is really cute. It's something that you see right from the beginning and start rooting for, but it got actually real about half way into the book, and ensnared me entirely.

I won't go through every character one by one, but each of them truly are special, including the secondary characters. And the diversity in the cast makes me so happy. There are two queer characters in the main cast, one of them has what is basically chronic pain, one is disabled and uses a cane, and three of them who seem to have PTSD. There's also a side character, who I hope will take more of the spotlight in the next book, because she's amazing, who is trans. So not only do these characters feel real because of how they are written, but they feel real reflect the actual people of the world.

"Don't focus on what you can't do. Focus on what you can."

This book is paced well, keeping the action and plot moving, as well as containing some of the funniest dialogue I've ever read, and some of the most upsetting moments I've had to feel in the my heart this year. I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed this book, but instead I'll just say- read it. I'll be withering away in a corner, waiting for the sequel that there has to be.
Profile Image for Lu .
345 reviews34 followers
October 30, 2020
Thank you so much, NetGalley, HarperCollins Children's books and Harperteen for the chance to read this book!

TW: murder, torture, violence, loss of free will, kidnapping, death

Rags is an excellent thief, until he's caught by the Queensguard and forced to help a sadistic and cruel sorcerer to find an ancient Fae relic, a powerful relic unlike anything they ever knew. But after Rags finds a Fae, a beautiful, powerful prince called Shining Talon, things begin to become more and more dangerous and complex and he finds himself involved into a deeper plot. Between gallows humour, sinister and sadistic magic, prophecies and Fae magic, Rags has to face adventures, dangers and, above all, his and Shining Talon's feelings for each other.

Master of one is an intense, brilliant and funny young adult fantasy debut and it's unbelievably amazing. Set in a world ruled by a cruel and sinister Queen, Rags' life was a difficult one, living on the streets, stealing and building his name as a thief. His world expands when he's thrust into a complex and dangerous situation, forcing him to grow, to work with others, to understand himself and the world around him.
Rags is an unlikely and reluctant hero, fighting with self doubts, fears and using gallows humour to get by and survive the pain and the dangers.

The story is told, at first, by Rags' POV, but, as his world expands so the POVs, introducing an exiled prince, Somhairle, a deserter, Cab and one of the few survivors of a family slaughtered by the Queensguard, Inis. Each character is skillfully written and complex, with their pasts to face, secrets, lies, family to protect, revenge, guilt, remorse and so on. They are relatable in their fierceness, flaws and mistakes. They are introduced slowly, piece by piece, like a puzzle, adding more and more to the initial plot.

This is one the things I loved the most about Master of one.
Everything starts with Rags and a mission he's forced to do by a sinister sorcerer and the dangers he will find, facing it. But slowly the story breathes and expands, including more characters, places and plots, truths that have to be uncovered and faced, secrets and magic.
The worldbuilding is lush and well written, the story set in a world medioeval or similar to that time, but with magic and sorcerers, a cruel queen and enslaved people.

The interactions between characters are amazing and brilliant. The main relationship the reader sees is between Rags and Shining Talon, self deprecating, full of dark humour and doubts the first, a Fae brilliant, honorable and hilarious in not undestanding jokes and human nature the second.
Their relationship is a slow burn, an achingly beautiful queer romance between them, a chemistry and a yearning intense and lovely to read. It was amazing reading how much they grow to trust, help and love one other, above all witnessing the growth of Rags, from a lonely and stubborn thief, self-deprecating and sure of being better alone, to someone able to trust, protect and work with others and relying on them.

The magic is another interesting element in this book, both sinister and cruel if used by sorcerers, but full of wonder and beauty when used by the fragments.
I won't say anything more about this book, because it's an experience and everyone should read and love it!

So if you love queer romance, yearning, action packed plot, slow burn, suspence and an intriguing worlbuilding this book is perfect for you.
Profile Image for Michael Araujo.
64 reviews44 followers
November 16, 2020
This review was originally published on TheFandom.

Jaida Jones and Dani Bennett created an intense book in Master of One that’ll offer readers a wild ride they’ll never forget.

In Master of One, Rags finds out that sometimes being a small time thief can attract the attention of some pretty powerful people. So when he’s given a job by a powerful sorcerer to explore a deserted fae court, he literally has no choice but to take it. It’s literally do or die. In this epic adventure, Rags and co. must find a handful of pre-destined people who are tied into the fae world and who are part of a destiny that’s bigger than any of them can imagine.

One of my favorite parts of the novel was the incredible cast of characters. As the pages turned we got to meet an exciting group of people that added their own personality to the story and you could tell that they had a purpose. They weren’t just random characters added in for the fun of it. I found myself excited to meet new people which is interesting because usually we only want a handful to deal with. But the authors knew what they were doing and it definitely showed.

The book is told from multiple point of views and it was done so well. Each character had their own idiolect which helped immensely telling them apart. Especially when having to stop in the middle of a chapter and getting back to it later. You could automatically tell who was who just by their voice and the writing alone without having to go to the beginning of the chapter to check. Each of their voices added to the fun of the book and made you look forward to their upcoming chapters.

I loved that the book was extremely action packed. From the very beginning, there’s something happening that only builds up until the very end. I thought that was a smart move, especially with the cast of characters we have. The way it’s written keeps you reading because you find yourself needing to see what else is going to happen.

The story itself, which involved both fae and humans and how they interacted and connected was invigorating. While I wish we got a bit more of the world building, I think it’s something that’s being saved for the sequel. I wanted to know more about the lands and the history behind each place. But it was truly awesome seeing how these pre-destined people played a part in the book. I also enjoyed how the fae in this book varied from many others. In Master of One, the fae are somewhat extinct and we got to see a bit of why that is.

I thought the magic system was fantastic and completely different from what I’ve read in other novels. Especially how it tied in with the fae and their lives. I wanted to know more about the fae and their past lives and I hope it’s something we will see in the sequel. An interesting thought I had while reading was how the fae reminded me of Native Americans. It wasn’t a direct correlation but small things from their names, to their war against colonizers, and even the loss of their land and materials seemed to stand out to me and I thought that it was compelling to add those themes.

All in all, I enjoyed Master of One immensely, and thought that it was one of the better fae books that I have ever read. Now I must patiently wait for its sequel!
Profile Image for Alexx.
295 reviews62 followers
Shelved as 'wishlist'
June 30, 2020
Heists, faes, royals, queer romance, magic, and one of the authors just told me no one in this book is straight. Oh, how I love it already. 🤣

Find me elsewhere: Blog | Instagram | Twitter
Profile Image for Frankie.
481 reviews122 followers
November 14, 2020
I'm honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel. It's got everything I normally avoid: a quest plotline, inconsistent pacing, multiple POVs, and a generic medieval European setting. But wow, it is charming, and the characters have taken hold of my heart.

This might be a YA fantasy but it reads way more like Adult. It sort of gave me Merlin meets The Lord of the Rings meets Terry Pratchett's sense of humor. I haven't read Terry Pratchett, but I've read and loved Good Omens, so I base it off that.

The slowburn m/m romance is my absolute favorite part of this book.

Rags, sweet baby snarky cinnamon roll thief Rags, is hauled out of prison and forced by the Queen's sorcerer to steal a fae artifact from abandoned fae ruins, Indiana Jones-style. But at the end, he doesn't discover just any gold treasure; he accidentally awakens a fae prince who's been trapped and sleeping for thousands of years. Turns out this is step one in an epic quest to gather magical fae artifacts that, combined, will give the wielder incredible power. Sorcerer wants that, obviously, so he forces Rags and Shining Talon (aka Shiny, aka Tal, aka beautiful fae prince) to find them. Shining Talon is a stiff and clueless yet honorable prince who doesn't really know how humans work but is eternally grateful to Rags for saving him, so here we have the besotted supernatural creature turned bodyguard trope. My god, this relationship was the cutest thing on Earth. Tal hovers over Rags like a mother hen, always watching out for him and saving him (he defends him from a spoon at one point because he thought it was evil), unaware of the concept of personal space. Rags is a loner thief who is not used to this, so he acts like a total tsundere, when in reality he likes Tal too and just feels unworthy of him. Just. CUTENESS.

The magic system is pretty quirky. Fae creatures that turn from dining room silverware into magical animal pets?? Mirror magic that can only be defeated by a blindfold?? So it made the novel stand out, even if it used Ye Olde Arthurian Fantasy Worlde. Also since I am a YA reader obviously I like fae, and I just imagined Tal as a sterner, darker-skinned, tattooed Legolas. hehe. Yes, I know Legolas is not a fae, but Cardan and all those other pretty boys don't have the same long hair and sturdy build so.

I only had two major concerns. The first is that I wasn't a big fan of the multi POV since I usually prefer dual at most. Many times I kept thinking RAGS RAGS GIVE ME MORE RAGS I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU but meh. The second is that the pacing is honestly really weird, in that certain subplots take way longer than they should, so I skimmed a bit. But every time I skimmed, I still kept my eyes peeled for Rags because I swear he's all I care for lmao.

Yes, I am going to read Book 2. Just for him and Tal. I want my boys to be happy. Also, we don't usually see male MCs in YA fantasy anymore, so yay.

To be honest, I don't think this is for everyone. It's a very traditional type of fantasy novel, and far from the YA mold. But it's very accessible for a non-Adult fantasy reader, the characters are cute, and the gay slowburn is delightful. Also, something about Rags' POV feels decidedly masculine, as if a man wrote him. Kinda gross, no filter, emotionally constipated... but still endearing and without the annoying machismo slash sexism present in a lot of traditionally male-authored fantasy.

TL;DR I enjoyed this book a lot but it doesn't offer a lot of newness. Read it for the snarky thief and fae prince bodyguard trope. Sorry @ the other POV characters. They're fine, I guess.

4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Clara.
1,159 reviews88 followers
November 10, 2020
Master of One wasn't at all what I expected. I don't mean this in a bad way - I just want to let you know that I think the synopsis is kind of misleading. This is a book about magic and old secrets and villains who will do anything to stay in power, starring an unlikely hero who definitely didn't sign up for this. There's a heist and a queer romance, as advertised in the synopsis, but those aren't the focus for most of the book.

The part of this book that stood out most to me was one of the POV characters, Somhairle. It was a wonderful surprise to find out that this book has chronic pain representation! As someone who has chronic pain, it means so much to see that in a main character, especially when it isn't just brushed aside or used as a plot device. Somhairle uses a few different mobility aids throughout the book, and his physical limitations are simply treated as facts of life. (Note: there was one scene where I briefly thought we were going to run into the magical-cure trope, which would have been AWFUL, but it turned out not to be that.)

In all, I'd definitely recommend this to fantasy fans, particularly ones who like reluctant heroes.

CW: violence, torture, brief suicidal ideation, referenced child abuse

I received an ARC from Epic Reads via a giveaway.
Profile Image for Cindee.
810 reviews35 followers
November 19, 2020
I loved this book so much it is now one of my favorites of the year. I loved everything about this book from the story and the characters and everything in between I am also really wishing for a sequel I hope it gets published someday. I loved all of the characters they all were so very well developed and I look forward to maybe reading more about them. The characters that I loved most were Rags and Tal I loved the slow burn romance and the payoff at the end was so great. I really loved Rags for his snark his hiding the fact the cares behind other things and how self sacrificing he is willing to get hurt to stop someone else from being hurt. What I really loved about Tal was his fierce protectiveness of Rags and how he fights to protect what they found I just loved him so much he was so well written. I loved the plot so much it starts out with a thief that was caught and then sent out to find something it became so much more a great romance a fight for survival and to fight another day. So overall I loved this book and I would really love for there to be a sequel someday soon.
Profile Image for Alexx.
295 reviews62 followers
October 18, 2020
WHEW. Okay, listen. This book is one of my most anticipated reads this year, and I'll definitely be looking forward to the sequel next year!

Master of One was a whole action-packed ride. Though it can take a while to really build up/can feel slow at times, the intriguing plot and the characters really stood out for me and got me invested in the story. Also!! All the yearning in this book made me want to curl up in a ball. (oh, the AGONY)

Full review soon!

(Also, a big thanks to the author Jaida Jones for sending me an e-arc of this book! They've been so kind to me, making sure I get a copy 😭) ((This of course did not affect my overall opinion of the book.))

Find me elsewhere: Instagram | Twitter | Blog
Profile Image for Stacey-Lea.
180 reviews19 followers
May 29, 2021
2.5 stars

This is far too long for how little seems to happen.
Master of One is definitely slow paced, I really did have to stop about halfway because I was bored and disinterested. I only managed to finish this because I had it on audio and decided to see it out because this book was chosen for a book box I get and they don't usually get it this wrong.

You're introduced to a lot of characters but I personally didn't connect with any of them. I wasn't excited to read from any particular perspective so I didn't really care what was happening. I think this is also what hindered the 'romance' in here, I didn't feel like there was any chemistry between the two characters. It felt like a lot of telling, and not a lot of showing, or feeling for that matter.
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