The Warrior Sage is a young adult high fantasy novel by Paul Mills.
Chael dreams of a greater life than that of a simple farmer and when he and his sister take the long journey to Darvenlure it soon becomes clear that he may just get what he wished for.
Along the road they meet a disarming and overly charming sorcerer and after his sister goes missing Chael realises it's the work of this black sorcerer. Frantic for her safe return he begins an epic journey that put's him against great evil and guides him on the path to learn the way of the Warrior Sage. He just hopes it will be enough to battle for the safe return of Taelarae as he discovers that she may hold the key to their very existence.
The warrior sage features all the usual trappings of a high fantasy novel, we have evil magic users, fantastic creatures and and general good versus evil / black versus white style to the story. It's narrated in such a way that feels very much like the short stories you read to your children before they themselves are old enough to read, or indeed when they are still learning (ie pre-teen and not young adult). This is of course natural as the author wrote the book as an extension of his story telling to his children however as such the prose doesn't flow as it would in a standard fantasy novel and while reading there is the thought in the back of your mind that you should be reading this out loud to small children.
If you are intending to use it as a bedtime story it works perfectly, and the younger reader will likely find a very easy reading and well paced story however it doesn't work quite as well for the intended young adult market. This isn't so much a criticism of the novel but more that it seems miss-placed as a young adult book. In a way this doesn't fit in to any standard slot, it is almost unique in that it's the type of book you read to your child but yet is also written on a fairly grand scale.
The story itself is fairly straight forward and the pace fast enough that the reader doesn't lose interest but the characterisation is somewhat lacking as is that all important sense of disbelief but again this is treating the book as one you would read yourself.
Ultimately The Warrior Sage is a very difficult book to quantify, aiming this at the young adult market to me feels like a mistake - it just doesn't work as that kind of novel. Ideally the target should be the parent wishing to read to their child and in that respect the novel works excellently, with descriptive dialog and a great good versus fairytale-esque storyline but as such it's also fairly unique.
Written on Wednesday 25th May 2011 by Antony.
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