|Review Summary: The Last of the Sages, Julius St. Clair, Book 1 of the Sage Saga|
|Writing Craft||4 Out of 5 Stars|
|Characterization||3 Out of 5 Stars|
|Believe-ability||1 Out of 5 Stars|
|Readability||3 Out of 5 Stars|
|Additional Comments:||Great potential – just not quite imagined yet|
“In the kingdom of Allay, Sages are born.
Powerful warriors with supernatural abilities that would rival the strength of whole armies. And there is an academy that trains such warriors, forging them out of young, ordinary students. Few survive, but if there is any hope for this now desolate kingdom, the tests must be given to all that enter its walls.
One such student is James, a self-proclaimed slacker that has just been forced into the academy by his father. And if he plans to see another day, he will have to weather through four lessons in life: determination, maturity, trust, and love… ”
Ever read a book that you really want to like, but there is just something getting the way? That’s exactly how I feel about The Last of the Sages. Each time I began to uncover brilliance, an apparent oversight would emerge.
Writing Craft – As far as grammar goes, this is one of the better edited free Kindle books that I’ve come across. Julius St. Clair (awesome name by the way) exhibits technical writing skill and I enjoyed the arrangement of character dialogue and setting up of scenes.
Characterization – James, the main character, is quite the anti-hero. He begins his journey with few likable qualities, but like a diamond, the pressure of the Academy nurtures shining attributes (Courage, Loyalty, HUMILITY), making him more palatable. The peripheral characters leave a bit to be desired. James’ friends and family from the village are dull and one-dimensional. However, the teachers and students at the Academy have a bit more depth, even though their desires and motives remain relatively unclear.
Believe-ability – Unfortunately, the novel really fell short for me on its believe-ability. You could tell me that the world’s politicians were secretly extraterrestrial leprechauns and I would believe you IF you had a well-crafted argument. This book appears to be set in a medieval-esque time period (I mean, they fight with swords), however, I vividly remember James describing a lunch lady, hairnet and all. There are other inconsistencies – indoor plumbing, as another example. Is this a post apocalyptic world where they don’t have access to the materials to make guns (or hairnets)? Sell me.
In addition to setting inconsistencies, the story’s pacing left me scratching my head. In a matter of days, James goes from inept, narcissistic loser to driven, self-sacrificing team-player. His realization of love also happens in a blink of an eye. Like good for you, but I’d be worried if someone hated me on Wednesday and then was willing to die for me on Thursday.
Readability – After a slow beginning, this story picks up pace (to its detriment at times) with an intriguing plot full of secrets and twists. Provides a quick and entertaining read for the most part!
Overall, with a bit of polishing and additional planning, The Last of the Sages could be a really great read. The book ends with the group on the cusp of an exciting adventure, so I am definitely considering reading the next novel in the Saga.
Have you read The Last of the Sages or another book that you think has some real potential?