Title: Master of One
Author: Jaida Jones & Dani Bennett
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: November 10th, 2020 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: 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…
With the heist and intrigue of Six of Crows and the dark fairy tale feel of The Cruel Prince, this young adult fantasy debut will have readers rooting for a pair of reluctant heroes as they take on a world-ending fae prophecy, a malicious royal plot, and, most dangerously of all, their feelings for each other.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Skilled thief Rags is caught by the Queensguard attempting to steal from a secret vault with intricate protections. Turns out, the vault was a test, and before he knows it, he is forced to work through a series of deadly traps to retrieve a fae relic for the cruel royal sorcerer. Said relic is not a treasure however, but a living fae prince called Shining Talon. Things only get stranger from here, as this is just the beginning of a long journey to find the pieces of an artifact known as the Great Paragon, gathering up an odd crew along the way. With the sorcerer Morien shadowing their every step, one wrong move means death, but the group must find a way to work together to save the kingdom.
I initially thought this was going to be a long read, but it just flies by. We jump into the action straightaway and the world comes together piece by piece, which can feel rushed to some, but this style of narration works for me since I prefer when the story gets to the point and fills in the details alongside. I’ve seen this being compared to Six of Crows and sure there are some elements that are similar that would make this appealing to fans of the duology, but there is also so much that is unique about this book. The magic in this book is such an interesting portrayal of contrasts – sinister and deadly when used by sorcerers such as the Mirrorcraft they use to bind people to their will, but so beautiful when the fragments do. Each piece of the artifact takes the form of a living animal made of silver, and bonded to a Master who can then discover the next piece and its Master, which is the idea of the quest – to gather all the pieces and their Masters who can then somehow put together this mysterious artifact made of Fae technology but requiring humans to assemble.
The story initially starts off from Rags’ point of view, but slowly expands to include that of the exiled prince Somhairle, a Queensguard deserter Cab, and Inis, the last of a family condemned and slaughtered for treason. While it was not poorly done, I would have preferred to stay with Rags’ POV throughout. We initially stay with his POV for a good third of the book, and the introduction of these other POVs is not very smoothly done. Rags was undoubtedly my favourite narrator of the lot, a kind of unwilling hero, though I really would have liked to see a POV for Shining Talon who is so honourable and protective of Rags, yet so hilarious in his naivety of human nature and practices.
As for the villain Morien, while initially he seemed a ruthless, mysterious figure, just turned into the lurking evil figure after a while and became quite uninteresting in my opinion as the story turned to more engaging plot points such as the characters starting to question everything they have ever been taught and discovering the truth of the Queen’s reign and the various lies that have been perpetuated. His character does have a lot of potential though, and I’m hoping book 2 will give us some more background.
While the characters are interesting and well developed, the plot itself is what kept my interest. The characters are pretty typical of a fantasy narrative and apart from Rags and Shining Talon, I found that I didn’t really connect with any of the others. Another thing is something I’ve found in some other books as well, but I’m compelled to point this out because it annoys me so. The setting is clearly medieval or something close to it, but the language and dialogue, particularly in Rags’ case is jarringly modern.
Overall, Master of One was an exciting adventure that will definitely leave you wanting more. The short chapters make this an easy read and keep the plot constantly moving, so you’ll never be bored. Master of One does leave quite a few unanswered questions, and has set the stage for an interesting sequel. This book is definitely one not to be missed this year. Highly recommended!
Master of One releases on November 10th, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!