When I read Master of One, it had been quite some time since I’d had the thought, ‘Just one more chapter, and then I’ll turn out the light.’ But Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett’s most recent collaboration, starring a disparate cast struggling against magical servitude to a ruthless monarch, ably held my attention. Its young heroes (who include disillusioned nobles, fledgling revolutionaries, a fae prince in an unfamiliar world, and a thief trying futilely not to care about any of them) are drawn together on a quest to track down six relics that will give each of them new power. But if they can’t manage an escape before all six are found, that power will be in the hands of the queen they hate.
The book’s setting tends somewhat darker than the average fantasy world, and one of its greatest charms is the bonds the protagonists form around their common purpose despite the mistrust that lingers between some of them. These emotional ties help to ground and enrich the fantasy elements (including a few telepathic metal creatures that I believe may appeal to fans of Jones and Bennett’s previous work). As in any novel, there are moments that could be improved; in this case, moments where the characterization would benefit from a bit more subtlety. Overall, however, I very much enjoyed seeing the story unfold and I look forward to reading more from these authors.