Hello fellow bookworms, today I am bringing you a whole host of exciting things on my stop of the Master of One tour with TBR and Beyond Tours! Master of One by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett comes out November 10 and can be preordered here from Book Depository or from your favorite book retailer.
Trigger warnings (May not be complete, may contain spoilers): Highlight below to view.
Violence, coercion, physical abuse, torture, murder (including of child), betrayal, some mildly graphic descriptions of injuries
The story opens up with a mysterious and bloody prologue before transitioning into the POV of a thief named Rags, who has been imprisoned after a failed robbery and awaiting trial. However, he ends up being forced to steal a fae relic for a shadowy sorcerer named Morien, who keeps control over him with shards of mirroglass in his heart that threaten his life if he disobeys.
That relic? Turns out to be a fae prince who sets them on a quest to find other mysterious fragments for what promises to be a fantastical weapon… And that’s all I’ll say without spoilers!
My favorite part about this book was the characters. They are all richly developed, diverse, and multi-faceted. I loved the queer rep in these characters. Rags is funny and sharp-tongued, and I loved his interactions (and the tension!!) with Shining Talon, the fae prince, and the others,. The story is told from multiple POVs, mostly Rags’, but also alternates between an exiled prince, a Queensguard deserter, and the survivor of a fallen house. While I appreciated the insight into the other characters’ thoughts, I personally would have preferred a single POV, or even two, as the switches, especially the first shift from Rags to Somhairle (the prince) felt incredibly jarring. However, the relationships between all the characters are so interesting and layered with guilt and secrets.
‘I would forgive you anything. Anything but death… I have waited so long for you. So many of your short lifetimes. And I have missed you every moment of every year until we met.’
The pacing of the story is a bit slow to begin, but then picks up at around the 1/3 mark, which is when I really started to enjoy the book. I can definitely understand how some people would want to DNF, especially given the length of the book, but I encourage you to keep going! The worldbuilding is a little sparse in areas, but the magic system is very intriguing. Mirrorcraft is the magic employed by Morien, a dark sorcerer, who inserts shards of glass into the hearts of his victims to control them.
Overall, this was an intriguing start to the series, and I’m interested to see how things play out in the next installment. Thank you to the publisher, authors, and TBR and Beyond Tours for providing me an e-ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Final Rating: 3.75/5 (rounded up)
Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett are married co-authors (without wanting to divorce yet) who live in Brooklyn with 8 cats. Danielle is from Victoria, British Columbia, and works freelance as an independent editor, proofreader and plagiarism checker. Jaida is a native New Yorker. Their published work includes four novels from the Volstovic Cycle, in addition to their many twitter rants on intersectional feminism and the NYC subway system. COMING FALL 2020 FROM HARPERTEEN: MASTER OF ONE.
1. Hello! Please introduce yourselves and say a quick word or two about Master of One!
Hi! We’re Jaida and Dani, a two person writing team living in New York! Jaida is the smart one and Dani is the bossy one. (Sometimes we switch places.) We have too many cats. Master of One is our very queer YA debut about a thief, a fairy prince, a disgraced noble, an ex-Queensguard and an exiled prince. It’s also about stolen magic and a necessary—if a little bit doomed—rebellion.
2. Tell us a little bit about your writing process as co-authors! Who does what? How do you make decisions if you disagree on something? What was your favorite part of writing the book?
DANI: We both do a little of everything! If it’s the beginning of a new project, Jaida starts. I do a lot of the physical descriptions and moving characters from place to place. After I’ve hewed the rough shape of something, Jaida will refine it to perfection. Jaida does a lot of the clever and funny bits of dialogue.
JAIDA: I have a lot of trouble making characters actually do things and first round edits are not my strong suit, whereas Dani is great at both. I’m very good at knowing when something isn’t right, less so at knowing how to fix it. We take a lot of long walks to discuss plot and worldbuilding, but most of the time, since we’re both Sagittarians, we make everything up as we go along, bouncing a document back and forth between us. Like a game of hot potato, only the hot potato is “what happens next? Surprise and delight me!”
3. Do you have a particular scene or section of the book that particularly sticks with you? Why did you choose this part?
DANI: I like the scene with Rags, Shining Talon and the spoon, because it makes me laugh. Alternatively, Inis’s introduction, for the way it describes her keeping her head down and working through the difficult times, which was something I had experienced myself during my bout with cancer. I relate to Inis a lot!
JAIDA: My favorite bits are spoilers, so I’ll go with every time Shining Talon takes Rags’s humor literally, ie, “Trees do not like to be hugged.”
4. How – if at all – did the characters change during the writing process? Are they the same now as they were when you first started drafting?
DANI: So, funny story, but when we first started writing this draft, I was SHOCKED and dismayed that Morien was going to be a bad guy. I thought he was just a sourpuss. Nope. He is not only a bad guy, but the worst guy.
JAIDA: Also, during the editing process, we were lucky enough to be able to expand and explore a lot more of Somhairle, adding in multiple POV chapters for him that weren’t there in the first draft. It was absolutely amazing to be able to delve deeper into the world through Somhairle’s perspective and also write about chronic pain, a topic close to my heart, since I live with rheumatoid arthritis but continue to insist on having adventures even when my body can barely move.
5. And finally, to end on a bit of a yummy note… If you could pair Master of One with any kind of drink, what would it be and why?
DANI: A warm mug of spiced apple cider.
JAIDA: A strong herbal tea with a bit of a bite!
Thanks so much for answering my questions! I too was hopeful about Morien’s character at first, and without spoiling too much, he does not turn out to secretly be a good guy.
Playlist & Moodboard
Thanks for tuning in! Please check out the rest of the tour stops here. That’s it from me for now! Hoping for a good week for all of you. As always, feel free to reach out to me on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads)!
With love, Pei