Viola Marek is a real estate agent…and a vampire. While the whole vampire thing is a bit of an inconvenience, her biggest problem right now is that the house she is trying to sell is being haunted. The ghost was murdered and refuses to move on until someone solves his murder. Vi seeks out Fox D’Mora, a fraud of a medium and godson of Death, to help with her ghost problem, but the two get sucked into a quest to save humanity alongside a cast of quirky characters.
Do you have any authors that you’ve never read their work, but you love them anyway? Olivie Blake is that author for me and I am so glad that my untested faith was proven to be justified. Her ability to develop nuanced characters, intricate relationships, and a unique story is truly masterful.
The characters are a mix of mortal and immortal, human and otherwise…and none of them are exactly what you would expect. It’s easy to fall into the stereotypes of supernatural creatures that we have been accustomed to over the years, but Blake turns it on its head with the talk of the individual’s ledger throughout. Each character has their own motivations that inform their decisions throughout and make for fun interactions with other characters.
Since there is quite a cast of characters, it was a little tough at times to keep track of them all, especially as I was listening to the audiobook and didn’t have the visual reinforcement that reading the names would have provided. But learning the relationships between all of the characters made it easier to keep everyone straight and also provided a bit of a deeper understanding of each of the characters as well. It was an unorthodox way to form a found family, but I think it worked out really well and they all played off each other well.
The journey that these characters went on was so much fun to witness! It feels a bit like chaos at times, jumping from different characters and occasionally even timelines, but the non-linear nature of the story actually made it that much more satisfying when it all came together. It is clear that Blake has a mastery of the English language that allows her to tell an ingenious tale full of wit, sarcasm, humor, and finesse.
The audiobook is narrated by Steve West who does a beautiful job of bringing this story to life. He understood the nuance of each of these characters and was able to deliver lines with the perfect voice and tone that made them all feel real. As someone who almost exclusively listens to audiobooks at 2x speed, I was actually pleasantly surprised that I had to take time to adjust to the speed at which West reads as it felt faster than other audiobook narrators which I loved but others may not.
MASTERS OF DEATH by Olivie Blake hits shelves on August 8, 2023. You can preorder a copy for yourself here, but as a staple in the SFF world, there are also special editions available from Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, and Indigo now and coming to FairyLoot in November! (Rumor has it that it will be OwlCrate's adult pick for August as well 😉)
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this audiobook from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2023 Book Recommendations."