Debut Review – Master of None by Sonya Bateman

Master of None

by Sonya Bateman
Pocket Books

Read the First Chapter (pdf)

Regular readers know that I don’t usually read urban fantasies. However, this urban fantasy I couldn’t put down.

Gavyn Donatti is a professional thief who knows that some men are dangerous to work for. But still, he agrees — or is perhaps coerced into agreeing — to steal a daggar for Trevor. Except once he steals the dagger, he loses it, and Trevor is really angry. So angry that he sends is thugs to kill Gavyn for revenge. However, Ian unexpectedly shows up, dispatches Gavyn’s foes, and announces that he is a djinn (“a diji-what?”), come to help Gavyn fulfill his purpose in life.

It turns out that Ian is full of it.

The first chapter was unputdownable.When Gayvn’s girlfriend Jazz turns up with a young son, it becomes even more so. I read this book in January, even though I knew it wasn’t “due” until April. I hate doing that. I tweeted about my annoyance with Ms. Bateman, who was thrilled. And I still read on, finishing the book in a matter of days.

The reasons I enjoyed this book are obvious to me. It’s funny. It avoids the usual tropes of urban fantasy. And the narrator is not a kick-ass protagonist. I enjoy a funny kick-ass protagonist as well as anyone else, but a kind of clueless guy narrator was a nice change of pace.

Everyone has connections to everyone else, which also made it interesting. Gavyn must look up his old enemy — the one he put in a wheelchair — and ask for his help. He turns out to have a very interesting friend. Who has a connection to Ian. Who has an unexpected connection to Gavyn. Trevor is trying to take advantage of everyone’s connection to everyone else, which made him an excellent villain. Even the dagger has unexpected connections.

And then there’s the mannerly bounty hunter, Quaid. His job is to get the dagger back for his boss. Guess who is boss is? Quaid is extremely stubborn, extremely polite, and extremely thick-headed. I loved him.

As for crits? I ain’t got any. And that’s why this review is so short. One can only gush so much.

(Oops, I did think of one thing. There is a torture scene that got to be a bit much. No gouged eyeballs, but I did have to skim for a few pages. You have been warned.)

There was a reason I wanted to do a conversational interview with Ms. Bateman. I loved her novel. It’s fun, touching and exciting, and I can’t wait to read the next book. You should buy this one. It deserves to be a huge hit.

33 thoughts on “Debut Review – Master of None by Sonya Bateman

  1. Merc – Thanks! What’s MMC?

    And Anne – mall elves??? I missed out on those but they sound so fun! Can you recommend some mall elf novels?


    • {GRIN} Mall elves are fun, especially when they out-ennui the ttenagers they pretend to be. {GRIN}

      I think the mall elves started with Mercedes Lackey’s Bedlam Bards and SERRAted Edge series back around 1990. (No, “SERRAted” isn’t a capitalization error; SERRA is an elf-run race car league that four or five books are centered on.) SERRA was originally printed as “Born to Run,” “Wheels of Fire,” “When the Bough Breaks,” and “Chrome Circle,” but they’ve been reprinted in two-for-ones under other titles at least once. Bedlam Bards is a related series that began with “Knight of Ghosts and Shadows,” “Summoned to Tourney,” “Beyond World’s End,” “Spirits White as Lightning,” and continued with continued with at least one more book that I mean to order some day.

      Mark Shepard did “Elvendude” and at least a couple more as direct spin-offs with Lackey’s permission. Sorry I can only name the first book; I didn’t care for his writing as much. {smile}

      Rosemary Edgehill did a series called “The Twelve Treasures.” The first three were “The Sword of Maiden’s Tears,” “The Cup of Morning Shadows,” and “The Cloak of Night and Daggers.” I don’t know what happened after that.

      A few years ago, Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edgehill edited Bedlam’s Edge, a collection of mall elf short stories by a whole bunch of authors. I’d actually start with this one. Anthologies being whatthey are, you’re most likely to find some stories you like, as well as some you don’t. Besides, it includes Mercedes Lackey’s essay, “Mall Elves and How They Grew,” which explains a lot. {Smile}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin


    • Oh, I forgot a couple earlier. Ellen Guon, who co-wrote the first couple of Bedlam’s Bard novels with Mercedes Lackey, published at least one related novel on her own. I’m sorry, but I don’t know the title. I don’t think I ran across it in a bookstore; I just read about it online. {Smile}

      I do know that Josepha Sherman wrote “Son of Darkness,” which realy should count, too. There’s certainly an elf in modern New York, tho he’s more interested in art galleries than malls. {SMILE}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin


      • Those sound so fun. It’s what made me like MASTER OF NONE so much. Thanks for all the info! Now I need to make a trip to the library or the used book store. Or, maybe some of them are still in print.


  2. So I’m breaking the internet rules and commenting on a review for my own book…

    THANK YOU! You’re awesome, Tia. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book!

    Anne, glad you liked the first chapter – and thanks for the heads-up about the mall elves! That sounds fun!

    Thanks for checking it out, Merc! (And a guess: MMC = male main character?)


  3. I’m hoping to head out this weekend and pick up Master of None.

    The mall elves sound intriguing, too. My TBR list begins to grow…


      • Well, good news for Sonya Bateman, bad news for me. Master of None is apparently sold out at the Borders I went to. Guess I have to figure out an alternate plan.


        • GRIN! Okay, not getting excited here or anything… just cuz it sold out at four Walmarts and a B&N around here, and your Borders. Doesn’t mean nuthin’. *cough*

          I do hope you can find it somewhere! 🙂


          • WalMart??? Your novel is stocked at Walmart??? What a feat for a debut novel out less than a month!!!


            • Thank you! I was so surprised to find that out – I’d heard Walmart was really tough to get into! But I got a photo from Mark Henry (in Seattle) of the book on a Walmart shelf … two days before release! And then other people told me they’d bought it at Walmart. It’s so awesome! *G*


          • I found it at B&N. Finished it in three days, record time for me. Today, like Chicory, I was rereading my favorite bits, which are: Donatti’s interactions with Ian, especially when they still hate each other; several of Tory’s scenes (the one by the TV & the one where he interrupts Ian talking to Akila are my faves); the denouement; and many other tidbits sprinkled throughout the book. A fun read. 🙂


  4. Wow. I got `Master of None’ at B&N yesterday to reward myself for finishing my term papers. I repeat. Wow. Now I’m slightly bleary from reading all night. 🙂


  5. The fact that I spent a large part of today re-reading all my favorite bits would indicate that, yes.


  6. Oh- and because there’s nothing more frustrating than someone who mentions `favorite parts’ but doesn’t tell you what they are: everything with Jazz, Ian, the climax -um, okay I just realized that it’s hard to talk about favorite bits without accidentally getting into spoilers and stuff. Lets just say the relationship elements make me all warm and fuzzy.


  7. I’m happy to say the book wasn’t delayed. I picked it up today. Now I just need to finish the library book I picked up a couple of days ago. I’m afraid that library books do get priority because of their due dates. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin


  8. Pingback: Recent Debuts, or, My Debut Catch-Up Post « Tia Nevitt

  9. Pingback: Fairy Tale Event – Current Reads – Rooting Nooks | Tia Nevitt

Comments are closed.