His Master’s Summons (Azgarth’s Chosen Book 1) by Cassie Sweet ~ Book Review by Mel

his-masters-summonsTitle: His Master’s Summons (Azgarth’s Chosen Book 1)

Author: Cassie Sweet

Publisher: DSP Publications

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 02/16/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Fantasy, M/M Romance, Paranormal

Blurb:

At the chasm between life and death lurks the art of reanimation.

When world-famous violinist Andres Valentine is pushed from a window to his death by Herr Maestro Wilhelm Kering, he is snatched back from the abyss by a doctor well-versed in reanimation. Contrary to popular belief, Andres’s life up to this point has not been filled with opulent soirees and adoring fans, but is controlled by a hellish force, a being of the dark fae—Azgarth.

Henri Vauss is a medical student who works for a man capable of raising the dead. Even though the practice is controversial, Henri sees the revolutionary side of the science and enjoys the challenges he finds in Dr. Stanslovich’s lab. Ever since taking on the case of Valentine, though, odd occurrences have infected the manor, making Henri question everything he believes about science and the world.

When Valentine confides to Henri that he wants to be rid of Azgarth’s bonds, Henri vows to find a way to free him, never expecting to get caught in the snare of the fae master.

My View:

Weightlessness.
Andres had never known plunging to his death would bring him a sense of peacefulness. He closed his eyes in complete acceptance and begged God to intervene on his behalf.
Maybe then he would be free.

How is life if you are not free, if death will only ensure you’re a prisoner to another being but in a different realm?
While the premise calls for an excruciating tale, the focus of HIS MASTER’S SUMMONS is mainly on how Andres and his fellow companions free themselves of Azgarth’s reign.

Azgarth gave, and he most certainly took away, if crossed. Living under his grace was beautiful, colorful, and festive. Once his ire was piqued, the world faded of color. Light and music turned from graceful waltzes to dark dirges.

Reminding the reader of Faustian tales, the dark fae master Azgarth remains an enigma. His motivations are like those of a god or deity in parts incomprehensible for the mere mortal—cough, the reader 😉
I think this was really well-done, giving the reader enough to go by, without spelling everything out and leaving things and ideas open for the reader’s interpretation and next instalments of the series.

Azgarth batted the argument away. “And what difference does it make if your life is controlled by a jealous God or a demanding fae? Humans have no free will. Everything they do is controlled by one higher being or another. It is only a matter of which one takes control of you.”

In alternating third person point of views, we follow the events through the eyes of Andres Valentine, world-famous violinist who dies on a flight attempt, his rescuers Drs. Mikhail Stanslovich and Dante Savoy, who reanimate him and bring him back to life and safety, their assistant Henry, and Maestro Wilhelm Kering, who is Azgarth’s agent and when he lost his temper threw Andres out of the window.

We’re witnessing a blooming light and sweet romance between Andres and Henry, the obsessions of Mikhail who wants Andres for himself, the attempts of the Maestro to finish what he started, and above all the manipulations of the dark fae Azgarth.

Despite these rather dramatic developments, this book has a quiet feel to it. The author takes her time and creates a rich atmosphere in the historical cities Paris and London.

What impresses me the most is the slightly creepy and scary vibe the author evokes whenever the human and dark fae realm overlap. Exceptionally well done through the recurring and haunting presence of a song that is coming out of nowhere and is neither substantial nor unreal.

It seemed that tune haunted Mikhail over several countries. What did it mean? What was its purpose if not to torment?

A further theme in this book is the contradiction between science and the acknowledgment of the supernatural. While reanimation, of course, sounds rather fantastic to the reader, the doctors are scientists and physicians, and especially Mikhail is ridiculously stubborn when it comes to believing in anything supernatural.

I found the language often to be very beautiful and I highlighted a lot of paragraphs. The characters were three-dimensional and distinct and, interestingly, not all (totally) likeable. I am especially torn about Mikhail and Azgarth, and I personally love that not everything is black and white here.

For my personal taste, there was a bit too much science talk, and the conclusion at the end of the book seemed a bit too forced and convenient. I very much appreciate, however, that until the very end, the reader is left in the dark as to where exactly the story is going.

All in all, I really liked this book and enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it to readers interested in a unique fantasy/paranormal setting.

Links

His Master’s Summons (Azgarth’s Chosen Book 1) on Goodreads
DSP Publications
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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