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Monday, April 9, 2012

ARC Review- Masters of the Veil

TITLE:  Masters of the Veil               SERIES: Veil Trilogy
AUTHOR: Daniel Cohen                  PUB DATE: 3/1/12
PUB: Spencer Hill Press                    FORMAT: ARC, 300 pgs
SOURCE: from pub in exchange for honest review

Life can't get much better for Sam Lock. Popular, good-looking, and with a future as a professional football player. every guy at Stanton High School wishes he were Sam. That is, until his championship football game, when Sam accidentally links with an ancient source of energy known as the Veil and reveals his potential to become a powerful sorcerer.Sam is whisked off to Atlas Crown, a community of sorcerers who utilize the Veil as a part of everyday life. Once there, he trains beside a mute boy who speaks through music, an eternal sage who's the eyes and ears of the Veil, and a beautiful girl who's pretty sure Sam's an idiot.As it becomes clear Sam's meant for power magic-the most feared and misunderstood form of sorcery-people beyond Atlas Crown learn of his dangerous potential. An exiled group of power sorcerers are eager to recruit Sam, believing that he is destined to help them achieve their long-held goal. If they succeed, they could bring about the downfall of not only Atlas Crown. but all humankind


THREE WORDS: Original & Great World-Building

MY REVIEW: Daniel Cohen’s  Masters of the Veil is an enjoyable YA Fantasy with captivating world-building and original fantasy elements.

Sam Lock as it all- looks, popularity, the envy of his classmates and an almost guaranteed career has a pro-football player. But at the big championship game Scott taps into some intense power and literally freezes his surroundings and costs his team the game. A mysterious beautiful woman, May, shows up and tells Scott that he as the ability to connect with the Veil (magic) and the potential to become a powerful sorcerer. May whisk Scott off to Atlas Crown, a magical community of sorcerers, where he must learn to control and harness his power. Scott trains with a mute boy who becomes his friend and a hot girl who won’t give him the time of day…but his biggest problem is a group of evil sorcerers who want all the Veil’s power to themselves and plan on using Scott to get it.

On the surface Masters of the Veil has a rather well used premise- young character learns he/she has magical abilities, is whisked off to a school/community/camp to train and must go up against the villain-but Daniel Cohen has taken this premise and infused it with his own original and fantastic fantasy elements and well-developed world to create a story that is new and refreshing.

 The book starts off a bit slow and it did take me a couple of chapters to really “get into” the story, but once I was in, I did enjoy it. The world-building is really wonderful. Cohen has created a magical world that is vivid, enchanting and whimsical, yet dark at the same time. From flowers that make music to trees that bend and move to bushes that change colors depending on the mood of the person passing by to all the wondrous magical abilities the characters possess, the world of Atlas Crown is as fun to explore and discover as Wonderland or Narnia.

The main character Scott is likable enough, but I did find it hard to connect with him. I suppose I just don’t have a great deal in common with a football obsessed, slightly cocky, teenage boy. However, I do think his character grows a great deal throughout the book, which I liked a lot and by the end of the book I was definitely invested in Scott’s journey. I really liked Glissandro, the mute boy who communicates with music; he’s an intriguing character and I feel like there’s a lot more to his backstory and I look forward to learning more about him. At this point I don’t really like Daphne, Scott’s crush and potential love interest. I found her arrogance and superiority complex quite annoying and I wasn’t thrilled by her and Scott’s chemistry…but I’m interested to see where this relationship goes.

The story itself contains a great deal of backstory and introduction; Cohen really seems to spend most of book one setting up the trilogy as a whole. This has both positive and negative effects on the story. On the positive side, I feel like all the backstory and history allowed me to be really immersed in the story and has me intrigued about where the story is going. But, on the negative side, this book lacks enough exciting action or captivating conflict. There is action and conflict toward the end of the book that involves the well developed villains…I just wish there had been more.

The ending is both sad and hopeful and will leave readers wanting more.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Masters of the Veil is a fun, fresh fantasy that delivers an intriguing story and fantastic world-building, and is a great first volume in what is sure to be an excellent trilogy.
3/5 Cupcakes

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Daniel A. Cohen was just your average business student. Microeconomics, finance, marketing… you name it, he had to do a PowerPoint presentation on it. One dark and stormy night, he was bitten by the radioactive realization that memorizing business jargon could possibly be the most boring activity known to man. After gaining eagle-eye vision, abs that could grate cheese, and a talent for imagining things (including his cheese-grating abs), he wrote his first novel and began his epic battle against the formidable business jargon. He continues to fight the good fight by playing saxophone and writing YA fantasy, forever hoping his Veil trilogy will help inspire others to join his cause.


Amy said...

This book sounds interesting. I really enjoy football and magic so it sounds pretty good to me. It's too bad that the MC was a bit hard to connect with though. Thanks for the wonderful review. This book seems like a good start to a series.

Sarahbotbonkers said...

A male protagonist! I think I'll pick this up. I need a breath of fresh air. Great review! :)