Review & Giveaway: MASTER OF NONE by Sonya Bateman

Review: MASTER OF NONE by Sonya Bateman

Gavyn Donatti is the world’s unluckiest thief. Just ask all the partners he’s lost over the years. And when he misplaces an irreplaceable item he was hired to steal for his ruthless employer, Trevor—well, his latest bungle just might be his last. But then his luck finally turns: right when Trevor’s thugs have him cornered, a djinn, otherwise known as a genie, appears to save him.

Unfortunately, this genie—who goes by the very non-magical name of “Ian”—is more Hellboy than dream girl. An overgrown and extremely surly man who seems to hate Donatti on the spot, he may call Donatti master, but he isn’t interested in granting three wishes. He informs Donatti that he is bound to help the thief fulfill his life’s purpose, and then he will be free. The problem is that neither Donatti nor Ian has any idea what exactly that purpose is.

At first Donatti’s too concerned with his own survival to look a gift genie in the mouth, but when his ex-girlfriend Jazz and her young son get drawn into the crossfire, the stakes skyrocket. And when Ian reveals that he has an agenda of his own—with both Donatti and the murderous Trevor at the center of it—Donatti will have to become the man he never knew he could be, or the entire world could pay the price...

Publisher: Pocket Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Single Title/Series: MASTER OF NONE is book one in an as of yet untitled series.

Cover Thoughts: This is a particularly striking cover and after having read the novel, it really sets a compelling stage for its inner contents. The small town portrayal in the background emphasizes the on-the-run plot beautifully. And of course there's the stunning wolf alongside our hero, Gavyn Donatti, that really piques one's interest and his story is nothing short of fantastical. All in all, a perfect fit for MASTER OF NONE.

Why I Read It: I was offered a copy by the publisher for review.

My Review:

Gavyn Donatti may be the worst thief in Thiefdom but he's still a thief nonetheless and really he can't see himself attempting any other profession. Besides, his track record might be bound to improve if he had any sort of luck on his side but sadly, Donatti has the worst luck as well as the worst timing. Given that Donatti expects...well the worst in every situation, he's rarely surprised these days when it comes to exactly that. But when a seemingly indestructible giant of man saves him twice in less than twelve hours, Donatti thinks his luck may be turning around... That is until it becomes frighteningly obvious that his savior is perhaps the most unluckiest thing to have ever happened him.

Ian is a djinn warrior - better known to humans as a genie - and truly the last person he wants to rely on is a thief which consequently becomes Donatti's nickname. Just a subtle reminder that Ian doesn't agree with Donatti's "profession" nor does he feel comfortable relying on him as he's being forced to do. So, what makes Ian a djinn and not a genie? Well, while a djinn may be similar to a genie (think Aladdin), there'll be no three wishes granted with these djinn warriors but rather the genie term is loosely applied due to the fact that they all have a tether which, of course, resembles the concept of the mythical genie's lamp. And like the lamp, this tether is critical to the djinn for their very survival and if it fell into the hands of another, it could definitely spell their doom. And lastly, like a genie, the djinn also have powers but they are either strengthened or weakened depending upon their lineage.

Very early on, we're altered to the fact that the djinn are not of this world but rather exist in a separate magical realm. So why are these very un-Earthly beings on Earth? Well, that's a long story, one that is drawn out quite well by Ms. Bateman. Details to Ian's existence on Earth - better thought of as imprisonment really - are heartbreaking and you can't help but sympathize with him and the horrible centuries he's been forced to endure trapped on Earth. Yup, centuries, all with the hope of returning home after destroying one particularly nasty djinn line that were previously banished to Earth: The Morai.

Considering Donatti's expect-the-worse mentality, his ease of acceptance with regards to Ian was both believable and important given the fact that the djinn is introduced within the first few pages followed by skyrocketing action. Coincidentally, Ian and Donatti are hoping to eradicate - in essence - the same foe. Lenka, leader of the morai, is Donatti's mortal enemy's employer. Yup, there's that bad luck again and while Donatti would like nothing more than to run for the hills rather than have to endure what is sure to be a very slow and tortuous death at the hands of Trevor (loosing the take he stole doesn't win Donatti any points), a sudden major complication makes an unhappy appearance in the form of Donatti's former flame, Jazz. Thinking he'd never see her again after some really bad luck had him cutting off their fiery relationship, Donatti is shocked to discover that mixed within his fear are some strangely strong protective emotions where Jazz is concerned. This along with Jazz's endangered life has Donatti resolving to do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

Very soon, things turn into one hell of a backwoods car chase with Donatti, Ian, Jazz and two others doing their best to avoid Trevor's henchman, an eerily calm bounty hunter as well as fending off enraged cops all with the goal of bringing down the enemy while staying alive. Being on the run for your life makes planning Trevor's and Lenka's much needed demise difficult but Donatti soon emerges as a surprisingly capable leader amongst a bunch of very resourceful and brave beings. While it may appear that Donatti's luck continues to slide down the hillside as each failed hideout is detected and every boosted car destroyed, in actuality Donatti is acquiring something better than luck and that's a family. Having grown up in orphanages and loosing all his misguided partners in crime, Donatti has lived a lonely life and while his new found partners may initially drag their heels, they can't deny Donatti's incredible drive to make things right not only in their current dire situation but also by doing his best to remedy the past.

Donatti, who began the novel as a bedraggled unlucky thief, ends the story as a truly believable hero and more importantly, he's deserving of the title. Ultimately, his role was the most difficult as he was tested from point A to B and given no quarter by anyone, friend or foe. Having risen from the bottom to the top was no easy climb but Donatti does it with his own comical flare. There's an interesting combination of vulnerability and bravery; he's not a reluctant hero but rather a man that does what he has to do and taking a quote from John McClane in 'Live Free or Die Hard', "That's what makes you that guy". The term hero isn't necessarily a label Donatti craves but rather something that would lead him to shrug and say he did what he had to do for his family, for those he loves and that's what makes him that guy.

My Thoughts:

MASTER OF NONE is nothing short of a combustible, non-stop action thrill ride with the paranormal elements heating up fiercely every step of the way. There is no page that doesn't further the plot or the character's struggles as Ms. Bateman coaxes us along with tantalizing djinn details.

However, despite the intricate plot, I felt more of a spectator rather than a participant but I'm chalking this up to the fact that MASTER OF NONE is my first straight urban fantasy novel. Every other UF book that I've dived into featured a female lead as well as strong romantic elements in the form of a sexy love triangle. MON had no romance to speak of and I was unfamiliar with viewing the world only through the hero's eyes.

Also, I have to admit to some irritation over the severe judgements and antagonism that Donatti continually suffered from all the secondary characters. While this was an ingenious effort on Ms. Bateman's part to portray Donatti's horrible past behavior without going into unnecessary detail, I also felt that maybe it went a little too far. It became apparent to me that what started off as fair anger on the secondary character's part, soon evolves into an outlet for their frustrations and thus led me to become a bit disenchanted with them. Of course Donatti takes their anger all in stride and truly, he feels he deserves it. And while maybe he does or rather did, I think that the way Donatti continued to pull everyone out of danger should have had them reconciling their issues a bit quicker.

In any event, these issues are on an extremely personal scale and truth be told, this was an absolutely stellar debut. Thankfully we've not heard the last of Donatti and his crew for there's a whole lot of evil djinn on Earth that need butt-kickin'. For anyone who lives and breathes for Urban Fantasy or for those that want some definite thrills, I believe you will genuinely enjoy MASTER OF NONE.


Other Reviews:

Smexy Books: 4-4.5/5
Bitten by Books: 5/5
Geeks on Fire

Giveaway Details:

I do have one copy of MASTER OF NONE to giveaway. Just leave a comment below to enter. Good luck!

*Contest Open to U.S. and Canada ONLY*

**Must be 18 or Older to Enter**

***Contest Closes Wednesday, April 21st at Midnight U.S. Pacific Standard Time and a Winner will be Chosen Randomly and Announced Thursday, April 22nd**


Bookie said...

This sounds like a interesting read. All the urban fantasy books I read do tend to feature a female lead and a strong romance. This would shake up my reading patterns a bit.

misskallie2000 said...

I love mystery, suspense, intrigue and of course romance. This book has it all. In most of the books I have read, urban fantasy, the strong female is the lead so this book would be different and I think I would love to read.
Pls enter me and thanks for the opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot

julstew said...

I have read good reviews of this book. I would love to read it.

VampFanGirl said...

Be prepared for one hell of a ride, Bookie! Good Luck!

:) VFG


Hey misskallie2000!

Definitely. If you're looking to shake up your reading patters, MON is is for you. Thanks for entering and good luck!!

:) VFG


Good Luck julstew!!

:) VFG

Pamk said...

great review. I've had this on my wish list and your review just intrigued me more.

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Pamk! A reviewer's dream comment right there. Good Luck!

:) VFG

Missy Ann said...

Like you I'm usually reading the romantic side of the UF genre; but occasionally I'll pick up a straight UF and I think it makes for a nice change of pace. And Master of None sounds like a story I'd like to read.

VampFanGirl said...

I totally agree with you Miss Ann. Mixing it up is a great way to keep reading fun.

Good Luck!

:) VFG

elaing8 said...

Great review. I've been seeing this one around.Sounds like a great read.

Leontine said...

I'm in such an uber romantic mood these days but the minute I get my UF groove back, this one is definitely on the TBB list :) As always VFG, you know how to stir my interest and I do enjoy a good thrill ride :)

donnas said...

Sounds really good and interesting. Please include me, I would love the chance to read it.


bacchus76 at myself dot com

Laurie (BittenbyParanormalRomance) said...

This sound good. Please enter me!


throuthehaze said...

Great review! Makes me want to read this :)
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Mandi said...

Nice review VFG! I loved Gavyn's voice...he cracked me up! I didn't miss the romance in this one..In Gavyn's voice..I don't know if I would be really interested..LOL.

I was not bothered by the judgements from the secondary characters...looking forward to book two :)

Myra said...

Sounds great! Count me in please.

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks so much, elaing8! Good Luck!

Hugs, VFG


Happy to have gotten you interested in MON, Leontine!



You're welcome, donnas. Good Luck!

:) VFG


Good Luck Laurie!!

:) VFG


Thanks throughehaze! Good Luck!

:) VFG


Thanks Mandi! LOL! Gavyn in love mode could prove to be funny. He's so self-deprecating, I can only imagine the comments he'd make.

Hugs, VFG


Good Luck Myra!!

:) VFG

Martha Lawson said...

Wow! Awesome review. I would love to read this book, it would be an entirely new kind of read for me.

I follow

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Christine H said...

I'm totally interested in reading this!

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Martha for following and for enjoying my review. Good Luck!



Good Luck, Christine!

:) VFG

pixie13 said...

Great review. Sounds just different enough for me to really want to read it. Please accept my entry. Thanks!


Stacy Stew said...

I love great books that take me on "one hell of a ride."...Stacy

Sophie Renwick said...

A combustible action filled ride??? I'm in!!!

Another great review!!!!!

Lea said...


Awesome review of what sounds to be quite a unique UF. I like first person POV novels and the fact the story is told from the hero's perspective would make for a nice change in a read.

Thank you for the invite.

Tracy said...

Sounds great, please count me in

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...


Great review, thanks for the recommendation and invite! I LOVE Urban Fantasy, and it's another new author for me (yay!). The story sounds great, not many are told from the hero's perspective. Can't wait to give it a try!

Thanks VFG!

Dottie :)

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Awesome! Please count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Tori aka @ggs_closet said...

Wonderful review! I love how this book was written from a mans POV. I expect more wonderful stories from Ms. Bateman.
Don't enter me because I've already read it. :)

Tricia said...

I do like my urban fantasy with a little romance but with enough action thrown in I guess I won't miss it to much. lol Please count me in.

CrystalGB said...

Sounds wonderful. Count me in please.


tetewa said...

I've been hearing alot about this one, sounds good!

Lila DiPasqua said...

Great review! I'm totally hooked! I want to read this one.

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