I know, I know. As of late, all I do is come on here raving like a lunatic and leaving book-shaped bruises in my wake. And, well, today is no different. But listen. When I get presented with a blurb promising “sinister sorcery, gallows humor, and a queer romance so glorious it could be right out of fae legend“… I’m powerless to resist.
So, without further ado. Here are the top five reasons YOU NEED THIS BOOK!
5. We open with murder
Opening with murder isn’t necessarily a unique way to introduce us into a world, but holy shit did this introduction make an impression. It gives us absolutely no illusions about what type of book this is going to be. Dark. Violent. And it isn’t going to hold back. Master Of One may be YA, but this is not a book for the faint of heart.
It doesn’t introduce us to the world as much as it throws us in. Which leads us right into reason number four…
4. This is dark, violent, and deliciously devious world.
This book doesn’t dance on the edges of dark, it plunges straight into the pitch black. It isn’t gory or graphic, but within every page, the threat of agonizing death haunts us as it haunts the characters. This world explores the insidiousness of being controlled. Of how helpless tyranny can feel. There’s hope, but it’s tied so closely with fear, that every breath of it hurts.
It’s the type of book that has you holding your breath, wondering which beloved character is going to be ripped out your heart. Not that there’s always death. But that there’s always the possibility of death. It’s real. This is a world that does not fuck around with how terrifying it is to live under a sociopath with absolute control. There’s no guarantee of safety. No promise of reprieve.
But for all the tension, for all the trauma, this book is brimming with hope. The quiet, rebellious kind that keeps us moving, that keeps the characters moving. And really, that’s a testament to reason number three.
3. It’s full of incredible characters.
These characters explode off the page. They aren’t just vivid, they are real. It’s easy to hear their individual voices, to see their quirks and habits and mannerisms no matter where they are or what they’re doing. They’re distinct and unique and complex.
We get several points of view, but the one we read the most from is Rags. And goddamn. Did I love Rags. He’s a thief. Guttersnot trash who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, chosen for all the wrong reasons. I love his plucky fight. He never knows when to shut up, or maybe he does and chooses not to. His snarky comments and deliberate rebelliousness, even when it’s definitely in his best interest to stay quiet make him incredibly endearing. He uses it as armor, even against his own heart.
Which… the slow-burn romance here is incredible. It’s very subtle, which I love. Especially given the high-stakes nature of the plot. And, it isn’t focused on the love interest in a single set of characters. In fact, it isn’t just the main characters that are vivid and complex. It’s every single person mentioned. They’re layered, diverse, and as three-dimensional as we are.
Each one carries their own history and it isn’t simply that they are vivid on the page either. These characters grow and learn. They change not just from the experiences of the plot, but through their relationships with each other. It makes every single POV fulfilling, but more importantly it connects them together. Sure, all plots weave POV and characters together, but this is done so fluidly, it makes it their journey, both individually and collectively, that much more satisfying.
Besides incredible characters, the other must-have essential to make a book spectacular is my reason number two.
2. The prose. The goddamn killer prose topped with voice for fucking days.
These sentences don’t just dance on the page, they inject pure mood with every word. They’re sharp and cutting, jabbing at just the right moments only to soften a moment later. Every single word is precision, flowing smoothly between characters and scenes while bringing the clarity we need to appreciate the breadth and depth of every detail. It didn’t matter if it was dialogue or description, the mastery of words is glorious.
But if I had to summarize why you should read Master Of One, it’s this.
1.This plot has TEETH.
From the very first sentence, this book flashes its claws and sinks them deep into the reader. And refuses to let go. It’s an intense plot that seriously keeps you guessing all the way to the end. The twists are devious and the turns are delightful. Even better, the end is the perfect combination of satisfaction and incredible longing.
I devoured this book. Once I started, I could not stop. But even more important, since I finished, I can’t stop thinking about it. Rags and his ragtag crew of found family misfits are shards in my heart and I can’t wait to meet up with them again!
Five very stabby stars!
Huge thank you to TBR & Beyond Tours for sending this incredible book my way! Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for playlists, mood boards, more top five lists, and more!
Sinister sorcery. Gallows humor. A queer romance so glorious it could be right out of fae legend itself. Master of One is a fantasy unlike any other.
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.
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.