3 out of 4 stars
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I have recently read and enjoyed another book written by Christopher J. Penington, The Hand Bringer, and I was very much looking forward to reading this one, Masters and Bastards. I can already say that I was not disappointed at all.
The book takes us to a new civilization in a different solar system after the extinction of life on earth. Different nations are at war at the same time. The humans of Iberia and Scythia fight against each other, while both live under the threat of the alien Vulgari attacking their planets.
Andreas Marset is a young soldier in the Iberian army. As an Arpathian, he belongs to the lower caste and should not mingle with nobles and politicians. One day he gets summoned into the palace for some obscure reason, leaving him anxious to understand what is going on. Several weeks later, he again has to go to the palace under a false pretext, and this time he cannot leave. He understands that he is a pawn in a political game and is expected to have a child with the Emperor's bastard daughter. After the deed is done, he leaves the palace and goes with his military division to fight the Scythians. Andreas knows since he was little that he has telepathic powers. His powers grow during combat, and he surprises everyone, including himself, with what he can do. His military successes lead to several rapid promotions. Before long, he is heading the defense against the Vulgari and coming to terms with his new title of Emperator, father of the underage Emperor.
I rate this book three out of four stars. I like the author's approach of keeping the multiple storylines separate. They happen one after the other in chronological order, making it easy for the reader to get familiar with the terminology used regarding the unique powers of Andreas and other protagonists, the locations, and names of the main characters before introducing new elements. The book has a good pace, adding new features and plot twists when not expected. In the final chapters, the references from earlier in the book all make sense. The epilogue brings a nice finishing touch.
As with the previous book I read, I appreciate the humor and witty conversations Christopher Penington adds. I also like that the main characters are humans and, therefore, very relatable even with their sets of special powers.
Unfortunately, there were multiple editing errors in this book. I noticed quite a lot of typos and, therefore, cannot give the full four stars out of four. The book contains some profanity and description of adult activities so that I would recommend this book for mature readers.
Masters and Bastards
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