His Master's Summons (Azgarth's Chosen Book 1) - Cassie Sweet

Jury says this book is cool.

But it’s not the usual romantic M/M story. For starters, we have two “pairs” and only with that you can figure out there will be less pages for each one of them, either if you like both or if you prefer one of them over the other one. When I started this book I noticed three things: one, I was going to love the medical and scientific stuff. Two, the magic part was going to be a main character in this story, not just the background. And three: I had no idea who will fall in love with whom.

Because there are four characters. And it’s something like this: A is friends but-wanna-be-more with B, B is bewitched by C, C has insta-love for D and D is a poor guy between a sword and a wall who is not sure what’s going on but may have a protective instinct for C, because he’s vulnerable, but at the same time knows B will give him a hard time if he finds out C is not returning his love.

Yeah, I’m aware that last paragraph is either mindfuck or a Logic problem.

So you obviously understand I was scratching my head wondering how the author would fix this mess and leave all people satisfied, including the reader.

Well, something had to fail and it did. I felt the characters were only bidimensional, with no depth. Still, the “principal” couple has a sweet story, albeit a little hastened. I couldn’t feel that vibe that convinces you this love is for real. It was too forced for me, it needed a slower fire to make it really tasty. It was a pity because it could have been beautiful and fulfilling, but it was not.

Andres is a virtuoso violinist and has been controlled by Wilhem since he took him out of the streets and made him famous. He wants to be free, and tries to flee, but… he dies.

Do not worry, because Dr Stanslovich has been investigating how to resurrect dead beings (he calls it “reanimation”) and voilá!, he’s successful this time. I was truly repelled by him. I was being told constantly that he was not arrogant, but he was, that he was a good person, but treated his helper, Henri, with such a disdain and superiority I couldn’t bring myself to make an effort to like him. He is so stubborn he can’t believe in the paranormal even when it’s right in front of his very eyes.

And that’s lead us to another guy who also has had to endure his personality, but he can’t complain, because he is paid precissely for that, if only to make ends meet and finish his career of Medicine. When he accomplishes that, he plans to have a business of his own. If I have to choose I’d say Henri is the most interesting one. He’s a wannabe physician, and he didn’t have an easy life. But in truth his passion lies in creativeness. He’s a real inventor, his machines and devices are his speciality and his talent.

Dr Savoy is almost a third wheel here, which is unfair, but true. His POV is the only one lacking and I don’t completely understand this. We have lots of POV: Andres’s, Henri’s, Dr Stanslovich’s, even Wilhem’s, the bad guy… but not Dr Savoy’s. That says it all. He is Dr Stanslovich’s friend, and so, he has had to put up with him for years. I don’t know if I should admire him or pity him.

The constant change of POV was misleading. I had no time to feel sympathy for any character, and much less to truly know them all. They were all very superficial to me, they could have been so much more than that. Their interactions were too stiff, too orchestated. I couldn’t say they were natural or that there was a real trust or friendship in them. It’s a bizarre feeling, but I honestly didn’t get why they stick together. Each one of them on their own path would have been much better, in my opinion.

The story doesn’t end in this book, it’s made clear there will be more. Why is that? Well, for the same reason superheroes movies keep having sequels: they kill the evil guy but there is a greater evil guy behind him. The gang will have to unite their forces again to save the day in the near future. Because the real menace hasn’t come yet. And of course, the love stories have to be developed, because one of them is obviously settled, but the other one is halfway there.

It sounds like I’m whinning endlessly but that’s not true. I liked the book, it’s original premise and as I said before, I love the medical stuff. Not overly bloody or morbid, just a little creepy (we have a living dead person here, for God’s sake, that’s a tough issue, don’t you think?) and a little surgical (a cut here, a sewing there, an inyection of something…) but no more than that. Just mildly unnerving details, which made my day.

The story is set some time between 1895 and 1920: they mention Julio Verne and H.G. Wells, and the atmosphere has that romantic feeling that lasted until WWI, with science being an important matter, as well as music. Men wear hats and women still cover their bodies with heavy clothes. That as far as I can guess. And I could be wrong.

The fae world and atmosphere is confusing. I’m still not sure what’s going on here. It seems there is a parallel reality whose limits become blurred once and again. Azgarth is the villain, but it wasn’t made clear to me if he pulled all the strings by himself or not. Because he’s bad, but then he protects the characters, but then he punishes, but then he toys with them and puts the frustratingly easy “When the moment comes, you will know” card on the table that solves nothing. His mood swings are inconsistent and umbelievable. He sounded very childish sometimes, I honestly can’t explain why he is so feared when he is so ridiculous. I get he is powerful and he makes random demonstrations of that.

The problem is… they were randon, I have no idea why he behaves this way or the other, which are his purposes, which are his motivations. Why he is bad, why he is good, why he is powerful. If you can do that, why do you do that in that scene or not in the one before? Why do you focus on this when that other thing was more important and urgent? If you can attack because you have that power, why don’t you? If you could win, why do you let them to live happily until they gather enough strength to fire back? Why there is a mess all of a sudden and then just by chance a weakness casually appears and hurts him? Why why why why why?

Too many questions, too few answers. I had the feeling this was a stage play were actors put faces to demonstrate they are afraid but those faces are fake, because, in truth there is nothing horrific about him but just to please him they act as if he was. The same way you indulge a little boy buying him a lollipop to make him stop crying.

So, all in all, it was an entertaining read. But sadly, it had lots of flaws, from my view.


***Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***