Review: Master and Apprentice by Sonya Bateman

Filed in Review , Sonya Bateman , The Latin Lover Posted on April 3, 2011 @ 2:14 pm 6 comments

Master and ApprenticeFormat read: ebook
Number of pages: 412 pages 
Publisher: Pocket
Formats available: ebook, paperback
Release Date: 29 March 2011
Series: Book #2 in the Gavyn Donatti series
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Amazon, Kindle store

Blurb:

A DEADLY CULT. AN UNBREAKABLE CURSE. THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: LEARN TO KILL . . . OR DIE.

Luck has never been on Gavyn Donatti’s side. Anyone else with magic abilities inherited from a distant genie relative would have it made, but not Donatti, descendant of a cranky, shape-shifting genie named Ian. The prince of a murdered kingdom, consumed with revenge and driven by an unbreakable curse, Ian is determined to hunt down and destroy every last one of his enemies in the power-hungry snake clan—at any cost, including his life. Or Donatti’s.

Obsessed by his own rage, Ian has never really taught Donatti how to use his abilities. So when a powerful cult of magic-users captures Ian’s wife, the princess Akila, and then Ian himself, Donatti is left alone to take on dozens of half-djinn and their mysterious leader with designs on world domination.

Facing an impossible mission, Donatti is forced to turn to an enemy for help—one who claims to know how to unlock his true potential. Trusting a snake might be the last mistake Donatti ever makes—but if he doesn’t learn to wield the power inside him, everyone will pay the ultimate price.

My Thoughts: I sometimes wonder which is harder: writing the 1st book in a series, ie. the authors launching themselves out into the unknown and building an original universe they hope readers will enjoy, or to the contrary writing the 2nd book, ie. when they have to meet (and exceed) the expectations of all the readers who enjoyed their 1st book. That must be pretty daunting, what daunting terrorizing! (It is a miracle authors manage to write 2nd books in my opinion.)And in all fairness I confess that I had extremely high expectations of Master and Apprentice after how much I was blown away by Book #1 Master of None (if you can’t recall my gushing, you can read my review of Book #1 Master of None here), but somehow I wasn’t worried, I trusted that after all the awesomeness of Master of None Sonya Bateman wouldn’t disappoint me and she sure didn’t!

Master and Apprentice picks up around one year after where Master of None left off: Gavyn and Ian have been hunting and exterminating Morai (=the bad djinns for those who forgot) and they live happily ever after in a cozy suburban house. They live the slightly magical version of a Desperate Housewives scene until everything comes crashing down and more evil djinns disrupt their quiet and blissful family life.
There are so many fantastic things about this series that I cannot pinpoint only one as its highlight. The incredible writing style, the action packed, nail-biting plot, the rich and detailed worldbuilding (with original djinn clans (Dehbei, Bahari and Morai) and the creation of a made up djinn language(!)), the crack-up humour and the three dimensional, in-depth characterization are all essential to make the Gavyn Donatti series the awesomeness that it is.But if I really had to highlight something which in my opinion makes this series outstanding and an urban fantasy series you absolutely mustn’t miss I would say it is the chuckle out loud dry, sarcasticly hilarious banter between Ian and Gavyn! Both are amazing characters separately: Ian being the quietly glowering, grumpy and authoritative genie err.. I mean djinn with the dry biting comments, while Gavyn is the crack-you-up-a-mile-a-minute soft hearted  thief with morals. And when these two are put together, they make one helluva combustive team! Master and Apprentice made me crack up just as often as Master of None, so for those of you who are not yet familiar with Sonya Bateman’s writing here is a little taste of how sputtering-your-coffee-on-your-keyboard-funny the Gavny Donatti books are (be warned though: put away any hot drinks (well any drinks) just to insure the safety of your keyboard and yourself, because hilarity ensues): (oh and yes, it took me a considerable time and effort to narrow my top list down to only the following quotes!)

Ian frowned. “We will discuss this later.”
“Yeah. Sure we will.” I knew a dismissal when I heard it. WIth a scowl of my own I crossed my arms and nodded towards the cave. “Confident assholes first.”
A hasty mental inventory revealed I’d brought nothing useful. Cell phone, flashlight, a bag of trail mix. That’d help. I could temporarily blind him, force-feed him, and hope he had a peanut allergy. 
My last thought before blackness took me was that Jazz would be pissed because I’d forgotten to put the laundry in the dryer before I died.
“Is murder your answer for everything, or do you reserve it for special occasions – like Tuesdays?”
I knew she could be just as stubborn as Ian when she wanted to, but this time I couldn’t let her win. No way in hell I was going to end up saying I told you so to her tombstone.
They both looked like I felt. Worn down harder than a neighborhood football. And we were still going after these bastards. Brilliant strategy. It was like David and Goliath – if David had a broken leg, wore a blindfold, and hadn’t slept for a week before he went to the valley. Hell, we didn’t even have a lousy slingshot.

“You know most people would disagree that there’s any magic on Earth. Outside of Disney World and the Bermuda triangle, that is.” 

“Look, what they are doing to him makes the Spanish Inquisition look like a bunch of Boy Scouts.”

I didn’t trust his sudden change of heart. Getting Ian to consider a new opinion was like suggesting that the pope toss the mitre and wear a baseball cap in public.

So what do you say? Isn’t Gavyn Donatti the most unique and hilarious narrator you have come across? 🙂

Sonya Bateman’s writing is flowing. The pace of the action gets faster and faster until you feel like the outside world is rushing you by in a blur and you can only see the action of that particular moment you are in with Ian and Gavyn.

But just as I said, Master and Apprentice is so much more than an action packed novel: the plot is structured and the rich worldbuilding is carefully developed, it is a lush universe full of colours, it is a feast to read any story set in it. Besides the action, deeper issues (and emotions) are also explored. Master and Apprentice is a novel with heart. All the characters you’ll come to know, you’ll grow to love and thanks to Ian and Gavyn being the way they are, despite their lives being very turbulent and highly dangerous, you would gladly sign up and be part of their team!
Verdict: Master and Apprentice not only met but exceeded all my (extremely high) expectations and reinforced my belief that Sonya Bateman is an amazing and incredibly talented storyteller, whose future novels I cannot wait to read!! If Urban Fantasy is your genre, or if you simply love original, well developed exciting stories who pack more than a handful of chuckles and choking up moments, you should try this series, you’ll discover a new favourite! 

And because of all this Master and Apprentice deserves all the 5 bookies I give to it!

ps: you can now read Book #1 Master of None for free here: you need to register, but registration is completely free and only takes 1 min, enjoy! 🙂

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Stella


Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn’t live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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6 Comments

Join the Discussion
  • pattepoilue April 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    You know Stella, you won. I ordered both books 2 days ago *g* I trust your recs, I can't wait to get the books!

  • Dana Alma April 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Hey Stella, wonderful review! I must confess I like to wait until there are at least 3 books in a series, especially if it rocks. You did this book justice in your review, I want to go out and buy both books today!
    Have a terrific week reading !!!
    See ya!
    Dana
    Readaholics Anonymous

  • Stella (Ex Libris) April 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    @pattepoilue: Yay! *jumps up and down excitedly* I'm so glad I finally worn you down *cough* I mean convinced you ;-D This series is truly A-MA-ZING!! I'm sure you'll LOVE it and I so cannot wait for you to finally read them so we can discuss them!! 😀

    @Dana Alma: Thank you Dana, I am glad if I roused our interest. 🙂 This series is so good, you shouldn't wait until the 3rd book is out, that is so far away and 2 books are enough to keep you entertained (for the moment ;-p). Give it a go, I guarante you'll love it! 🙂

  • marybelle April 4, 2011 at 2:22 am

    I am looking forward to reading 'Master and Apprentice. A new favorite – there is a challenge.

    marypres@gmail.com

  • Sharon S. April 4, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Damn! Can't believe I haven't heard of this series. I love dry humor too. This is definitely my type of story. thanks for the heads up!

  • LSUReader April 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I've had book one on my TBR list for a while. Thanks to your review, I see it needs to move way up to the top!

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