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.