3 out of 4 stars
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Masters and Bastards by Christopher J. Penington is an interesting book of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. It revolves around Andreas Marset, a very intelligent Arpathian bastard who is a legionary in the Iberian army. He is barely seventeen years of age and lives in the Iberian Empire on planet Poltervaut. Andreas and other Arpathians are regarded as lowborn who are inferior to the Iberians. As a result of his birth status, he suffers limitations and has to work extra hard for everything he wants.
Aliens from planet Vulgaris plan to take over Poltervaut and two other planets named Gideon and Rubicon. But the inhabitants of the three target planets are at war with each other. They must come together to defeat the common enemy by installing one emperor to rule over the three planets. They must also have only one army commandant. The race for the throne begins. Andreas Marset is right in the middle of all the madness. Everyone has an agenda. We see treachery, manipulation, scheming, deception, sorcery, unexpected graces, secrets, and scandals. Andreas must tread with caution because there is no friend in the jungle.
I love the complexity of the plot because it engages the reader's mind. The story has such twists and turns that it becomes unpredictable, making the reader invested. While reading this novel, I sometimes found myself pacing around because I couldn't contain the suspense. Christopher J. Penington put so much thought into the storyline of this book.
Masters and Bastards is narrated in the third person, but the author didn't drown the characters. He gave them ample time to speak and share their thoughts. He also did a great job of character development, especially with the main players. I love to think that the author has a thing for the "old plus new world charm" which he blends so well. One minute, I'm reading about sophisticated computers, and the next minute, the characters are putting on Victorian dresses. I felt like I was alternating between two worlds. My best characters in the book are Andreas Marset and Godfrey Holst. I love their good-natured banter and jabs. The author sprinkled humor throughout the book.
However, as much as I enjoyed this novel, it was not without flaws. Certain dialogues in the book dragged for so long that I almost gave up. I feel that beating around the bush for extended periods isn't necessary. Again, I noted numerous errors that distracted me in no small measure. These errors range from misused homophones to missing words, wrong tenses, and misspelled words. This book also contains loads of profanities and wasn't thoroughly edited. Due to the flaws that I have mentioned, I rate Masters and Bastards 3 out of 4 stars.
I recommend this book to lovers of science fiction and fantasy novels. This book will take you on a rollercoaster.
Masters and Bastards
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