Master of Sorrows (The Silent Gods #1) by Justin Travis Call - Book Review

Write on: Thu, 30 Apr 2020 by  in Archive Read 1916

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?

Master of Sorrows is a compelling epic fantasy tale about Annev, a crippled boy in a world where disfigurement means persecution, out of the belief that cripples are servants of a dark god. Hiding his missing hand with aid of a magical prosthetic, Annev is part of a wonderfully imagined magic school. His dream: complete the tests ahead of him and become a magic-hunting avatar.

Comparisons to Hogwarts are to be expected with this premise. However, the author clearly creates a highly unique school-story setting, building both the characters and the world through hugely entertaining training exercises. Almost everyone in this story feels complex and realistic. These characters feel like they have their own lives outside the story, and that's really to the book's benefit.

My main criticism is that the plot-related events of the last half of the book feel a tad disjointed from the first half. That's not to say they're bad, per se. However, it did feel like the first 50% was all 'school story, school story, training exercise, training exercise', and then the tone and direction changed somewhat in the last 50%. My other big criticism was that this book is advertised as the origin story of a villain, fated to become evil. Until the last few pages, I didn't really get that vibe. Even then, if I wasn't aware of this marketing premise, I probably wouldn't know that this is what the series is about. I would've personally appreciated more early foreshadowing of Annev's supposed descent to the dark side.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed this book. While the plotting is a little episodic for my tastes, the characters and the fantastically realised world building shine. I'll certainly be looking out for sequels.


Overall Rating: 4/5. 

Last modified on Thursday, 16 December 2021 15:54

Jed Herne is a fantasy author from Perth, Western Australia. His books include the #1 Amazon Bestselling fantasy novella, Fires of the Dead, and the epic space fantasy novel, Across the Broken Stars. His short stories have been published in The Arcanist, Scarlet Leaf Review, Flintlock, and more.

Outside of writing, he hosts The Novel Analyst Podcast, where he extracts writing lessons from his favourite books, and interviews authors to pick their brains on the craft of storytelling.

When he's not reading or writing, you can find him falling off walls in a bouldering gym.