Title: Masters of the Veil by Daniel Cohen
Published: March 1st, 2012 by Spencer Hill Press
Source: Finished autographed copy from BEA 2012
Grade rate: B+
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.
I had selected Masters of the Veil a few months back as my ‘Waiting on Wednesday’ and Mr. Cohen contacted me to see if I wanted a guest post , which I totally did (see it here). Therefore, I was very excited to get Masters of the Veil and to meet Mr. Cohen at BEA, I started reading the book right away and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
To me the book was initially a blend of Harry Potter (inevitable comparison as the book is about magic) and The Warrior Heir. Obviously this is not a copy of other books, but an original take on magic and its use. The book started slowly with a lot of world building and it was a bit confusing at first, and I’m sure that’s exactly how Sam felt.
Sam is very popular in school, he’s handsome and with an almost guaranteed professional football career, until he inadvertently uses magic and in a second all his dreams are lost. He is whisked away to Atlas Crown, where he undergoes a crash course in magic, the Veil and all it provides. I think one of my biggest hang-ups with the book is the fact that Sam is so fixated on football and on being a jock the he expected to receive ‘special’ treatment/considerations.
Other characters were amazing if somewhat mysterious. May, Bariv and Rona are all great role models that come from great adversity. Other characters from the magical community and the school are well built and distinctive. Glissandro was my favorite because he found a way ‘talk’ with music. Daphne was okay and Petir is the typical high school bully.
The bad guys from the Tembrath Elite were quite twisted, and deceiving and a bit creepy too.
Atlas Crown is in and by itself a character (as much as the Veil is). So many strange things happen in the magical community that is a testament to Mr. Cohen imagination. There are singing flowers, trees that move, a talking snake, and swarm of bees that guard the forest. The idea of wearing a ‘second skin’ (a glove) to do magic was pure genius. It is a truly wonderful place, but very foreign and had to adjust to, especially as Sam is older than most when he discovers his ‘talent’.
The time with the Tembrath Elite went by really fast, with minimum descriptions, even though he was with them for about three weeks. Sam was a bit naïve, but then again, people in Atlas Crown were not too crazy about him.
The plot was well crafted, imaginative and mysterious. The writing was easy to follow and as I say, a bit slow at the beginning.
Overall, Masters of the Veil is a great start to a magical series, I will definitely read the next book.
About the Cover: The cover is a close up of Sam’s second skin (glove) that is made from the skin of a very special snake. It’s black with the reflection of stars on it. I also like the font that is used on the cover and throughout the book.