Book Review – The Last Grand Master by Andrew Q. Gordon

3rd Edition published by DSP Publications, March 2015

In a war that shook the earth, the six gods of Nendor      defeated their brother Neldin, god of evil. For three thousand years, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity and Neldin’s evil was nearly forgotten.

But then Meglar, wizard king of Zargon, unleashes the dark magic of the underworld and creates an army of creatures to carry out his master’s will. One by one, the sovereign realms fall as a new war between the gods threatens to engulf Nendor.

Leading the opposition to Meglar is Grand Master Farrell. Young and untried, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.

Farrell is joined by Nerti, queen of the unicorns and Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen as Farrell’s mate. As Farrell and his new allies make plans to counter Neldin’s evil, Meglar forces their hand when he invades a neighboring kingdom. Rushing to help their ally, Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Cut off from help, Farrell attempts an untried spell that will either turn the tide or cost he and Miceral their lives.

1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, February 2013.
2nd Edition published by DSP Publications, February 2015.

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The Last Grand Master by Andrew Q. Gordon reminds me of why I love reading fantasy series. This book, which is book 1 in the Champion of the Gods series takes the time to set up a realistic world populated by intriguing characters, but doesn’t slow the story down in doing so. It’s not just the two leads—Farrell and Miceral—who are three dimensional but the supporting characters who are interesting in their own right. I loved the unicorns, and their society and relationships with other characters. Very imaginative.

I really liked the fact that there were strong female characters and that not all relationships ended well. People also die, which makes sense, given their enemy and the stakes for which they’re fighting. Having all the characters survive wouldn’t be realistic.

I also liked the contrast between Farrell and Miceral. Farrell is a wizard and for him magic is something he does without thinking about it. Miceral isn’t as comfortable with the idea of using magic for everything, and their differing reactions and perspectives complement each other. They both have something to teach the other. Farrell is much younger than Miceral who comes from a long-lived race, and while he is very confident with using magic, it was fun watching him fumble with the relationship stuff. However, there are consequences for using magic in this world, which limits Farrell, which I very much appreciated. He doesn’t walk away unscathed, and takes time to heal and recover his energy.

There is also a strong theme of family within the story. Farrell has lost his at an early age, but there’s a nice twist to that part of his past, and as his and Miceral’s relationship grows, so does his relationship with others. There’s a lovely subtle scene with a member of Miceral’s family later in the story which I really enjoyed.

I got sucked into the story very quickly, and became invested in the characters within a few pages. I’m glad their story isn’t over yet, because it means I have more to look to.

I’d highly recommend this story to readers who enjoy three dimensional characters, a good fantasy plot, and great world building. 5 out of 5.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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