C.G. Drews's Reviews > Master of Sorrows

Master of Sorrows by Justin Travis Call
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really liked it
bookshelves: adult, read-2020, epic-fantasy, disability

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, so it managed to be both homey and fresh.

The magic school setting was both intriguing and dark. It was a pretty harsh school, with a headmaster no one could please, ruled by strict and suffocating religion. They train pupils to become avatars, who then are sent on missions to retrieve magical artefacts to stow in the school's deep catacombs. Because magic is evil. Worse, anyone with a disability is labeled a "child of Keos" and sentenced to die. Their thinking is suffocating and so dependent on hive mind and lack of education. Sound familiar? Ah yes. OUR MEDIEVAL HISTORY. (Minus, well, the magic sadly. Wish we had some.) I really enjoyed the magic system and this version of wizard wands, plus the intriguing magical objects they kept using!

I also really liked the disability rep. Annev, our narrator, has one arm and uses a magic prosthetic! He has a some inner hate towards his disability to work towards (and I always flinch at phrases like "overcoming your disability" but I think that only happened once), but he absolutely didn't get why he was hated for having one arm. How did that make him an evil worshipper of an evil god?! And his mentor, Sodar, was 100% his advocate and ally. It was just nice to see disability rep that affected the character but the only reason he hid it was to stay alive. NOT that he was ashamed or hated himself. :')

I am so here for the characters too. Annev was so kind, such a fierce Hufflepuff. He was all for not letting friends be left behind, protecting the weak, finding ways around backwards-thinking rules, and also a tactician and strategist! He HANDLED bullies. He was so soft and loving with his mentor Sodar (oh wow, I love reading books where male characters are tender to each other). Aaaand okay Annev was also such a dumbass at times ("I love her! Don't tell me what to do!") but he was seventeen and I get his nonsense. 😂

I also really was intrigued by Fyn, but the end (bully with an excellent character arc) and wanted to know more about the other boys. There is only one girl, who was very much just there as a love interest, which is unfortunate, but hoping for more in the sequel.

A compelling read that asks "what makes a monster", and fills your mind with god lore, magical theory, epic enchanted weapons, and characters you can't help but root for.
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Quotes C.G. Liked

Justin Travis Call
“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.”
Justin Travis Call, Master of Sorrows

Justin Travis Call
“There are worse ways to die than blood loss and blackthorns.”
Justin Travis Call, Master of Sorrows

Justin Travis Call
“His old life was literally in flames behind him. But Annev was a phoenix. He would find a way to rise from the ashes.”
Justin Travis Call, Master of Sorrows

Justin Travis Call
“When danger comes, it usually comes prepared. You don't get to find your friends and pick your weapons.”
Justin Travis Call, Master of Sorrows

Justin Travis Call
“What is it about old books that makes them smell so delicious. Like almonds...or chocolate.”
Justin Travis Call, Master of Sorrows

Reading Progress

January 12, 2020 – Shelved
January 12, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
February 14, 2020 – Started Reading
February 14, 2020 –
10.0% "I read 10% and my kindle says I have 6 hrs, 17 years, and 10 lifetimes left to finish it."
February 16, 2020 –
February 17, 2020 – Shelved as: adult
February 17, 2020 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
February 17, 2020 – Shelved as: read-2020
February 17, 2020 – Finished Reading
July 29, 2020 – Shelved as: disability

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