I’ve been hearing great things about Sonya Bateman’s Master of None. That being the case, I was pretty excited to receive this for review.
ONE UNLUCKY THIEF. ONE UNLIKELY GENIE. ONE VERY ODD COUPLE.
Gavyn Donatti is the world’s unluckiest thief. Just ask all the partners he’s lost over the years. And when he misplaces an irreplaceable item he was hired to steal for his ruthless employer, Trevor—well, his latest bungle just might be his last. But then his luck finally turns: right when Trevor’s thugs have him cornered, a djinn, otherwise known as a genie, appears to save him.Unfortunately, this genie—who goes by the very non-magical name of “Ian”—is more Hellboy than dream girl. An overgrown and extremely surly man who seems to hate Donatti on the spot, he may call Donatti master, but he isn’t interested in granting three wishes. He informs Donatti that he is bound to help the thief fulfill his life’s purpose, and then he will be free. The problem is that neither Donatti nor Ian has any idea what exactly that purpose is.At first Donatti’s too concerned with his own survival to look a gift genie in the mouth, but when his ex-girlfriend Jazz and her young son get drawn into the crossfire, the stakes skyrocket. And when Ian reveals that he has an agenda of his own—with both Donatti and the murderous Trevor at the center of it—Donatti will have to become the man he never knew he could be, or the entire world could pay the price. . . .
I haven’t read too many Urban Fantasy books with a male as the lead character. Mostly it’s the kick ass female who’s in the thick of things, and honestly I’ve always kind of preferred it that way. I mean, I am a huge fan of Vicki Pettersson’s Sign of the Zodiac series and Jocelynn Drake’s Dark Days series. Both of these feature powerful, competent women who have no trouble what-so-ever of standing strong against anything that comes their way. Those sort of characters are my immediate thought when I think about a great Urban Fantasy lead. You would think that with Gavyn Donatti that I would have a problem, but honestly I found that he was a refreshing addition to the Urban Fantasy genre.
In fact, Gavyn, at first, isn’t even someone you would consider powerful or competent. He’s a thief, and not even a good one at that. His tendency to get away scot-free while those he’s working with take the fall has made him a lot of enemies, and given him a lot of regrets along the way. Master of None starts when Gavyn is about to be killed for accidentally loosing something that he was hired to steal. He’s about to eat it big time until Ian shows up. Ian is a djinn, or genie, who claims that he is stuck with Gavyn until he can complete his life’s purpose.
I really liked Gavyn. Usually I would think that, as a thief with a questionable moral code, I would have a hard time enjoying him as a character, but he actually came across a good guy, most of the time, despite his profession. Ian was also likable even with his surly demeanor during most of the book. He was often times just plain mean to Gavyn, but it was humorous most of the time, so I didn’t mind that much. The two made an unlikely pair, and at first they clearly didn’t fit, but over time they started to really grow on me and each other.
The entire story had humor infused in it, and it made for a lot of laughs. Even when things weren’t going so well for Gavyn he was still looking at everything through a veil of sarcasm that had me enjoying his character all the more. The story was written smoothly and had me invested in the characters. I especially enjoyed how Master of None developed. It never once felt disjointed, and finished it lickety split.
Overall, as a debut novel, Master of None is in a Master class all it’s own. I loved the tone of the novel, the characters, the story, and everything in between. If you’re looking for a new urban fantasy author, I sincerely can recommend Sonya Bateman. I’m absolutely ecstatic about this one, and I can’t wait for the next in the Gavyn Donatti series.