Review: The Master of Samar by Melissa Scott
Rejected by his aristocratic family, Gil Irichels has been content to make his living as a traveling cursebreaker, working with his lover, the feral mage Envar Cassi, and their bodyguard, swordswoman Arak min’Aroi. After a series of deaths leave him the sole heir to the family’s house and fortune, Irichels’s main concern is to do whatever he must to settle the estate and return to his previous life. But these is something very wrong in seaborne Bejanth, starting with the deaths of his kin and spreading into the complex web of politics and magic that holds the city together. As he struggles to discover the truth behind his family’s losses, he realizes that there is more at stake than the fall of one house. Someone is unraveling the web of curses on which the city depends, and Irichels is the only person who can stop them—if it’s not already too late.
Dear Melissa Scott,
I loved so much about this book, which was not a big surprise because in the past I read and enjoyed this author’s work, although couple of things did bother me.
Let’s start with the positives. For the most part I really enjoyed the world building and I loved that the author did not explain every single thing when the reader is dropped in this world. I loved how magic that different characters weave eventually showed itself or at least showed itself as much as it was needed for me to understand the plot and actually some magical things that were happening I don’t remember ever reading about. I am not proclaiming that those were necessarily unique, because of course I have not read ALL the books in the world with magic in them, but I have read A LOT of books with magic and some things in this one felt quite original to me. I appreciated that.
I loved the main characters so much – Gil, Envar, Arak, Allaisou and a few others all were great, very vivid characters and the secondary characters were good, too. I also liked that Gil and Envar were an established couple who did not have any issues in their relationship, but still found themselves very busy with the things happening in the book and I was not bored at all and appreciated characters showing themselves through their actions.
Please beware though, the book is NOT a romance, it has a very much in love couple trying to do heroic things and eventually ending up saving the city (with the help of some other people), but if you are looking for the internal conflict between this couple or any couple, look elsewhere.
Also, opinions may differ of course but I personally thought that Gil and Envar had a lovely chemistry I never doubted their love for each other.
I am not sure how to characterize the genre of this story, probably fantasy/mystery with romantic couple at the center and I am sure some historical cities influenced this world. I want to say Middle Ages Italy, but I am not hundred percent sure.
I thought that the author did very well with the suspense in the plot, because the last four or five pictures I was increasingly worried for the characters and for the city due to what was happening on the pages, but I was a little disappointed with the conclusion of the mystery, because I felt like I missed one.
Oh, the great *reason* for the desire to destroy the city and Gill’s House was offered, and presumably we even found out the name of the villain, but I was scratching my head as to how this person alone could have done at least some of those things in the first place that set the course of events in action. Maybe I missed something. As I said, I am not too disappointed with the ending, because I felt like the main thing was to save the city and that was achieved with gusto.
There was one other plot point that bothered me and granted, it worked well within the narrative, but I am allowed to point out when I did not enjoy something, right?
SPOILERS SPOILERS, MORE SPECIFICALLY ONE SPOILER BEING DISCUSSED BELOW.
I understand that because of this plot point we are introduced to at least two great female characters both of whom I really liked, but at least one of them could have become a friend and a business partner
I hate questioning authorial decisions which do not disrupt the narrative from within, but once again I am only saying that I did not like it. Especially since we know that Gil has no inclinations towards enjoying a relationship with any woman,
I still liked this story a whole lot.