For the twenty-first book in the challenge, I read Master of None by Sonya Bateman, the first book in her Gavyn Donatti series. This was another Vaginal Fantasy book club book; I gave it two out of five stars. The book and I did not click.
Bateman introduced some interesting ideas, like alternate magical worlds and the djinn (or genies) and magic with very specific limitations and locks, but it’s mixed in with some lumpy characters who frequently serve the plot rather than stand on their own and two-dimensional villains. I can see how Gavyn’s narrative style is supposed to be sort of like Harry Dresden’s; that is, informal, witty, peppered with catchphrases and pop references that help broaden and deepen our understanding of and attachment to the character. In Gavyn’s case, he feels more like a cartoon character than a real person.
It feels a lot like fanfiction, in that it needs polishing and editing and tightening up by a more experienced author or editor. The story would likely need a fair amount of plot re-working and more showing than telling what’s going on in the characters’ heads, but the idea is sound. I think this is Bateman’s first book, and she has gone on to write others, so she has probably learned quite a bit by now and her other books deserve a chance.