2 out of 4 stars
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Leon the Sage is a formidable warrior who dons a scythe as his weapon of choice. He begins his journey with no recollection of who he is or where he comes from. A voice in his head, however, is a guiding force leading him to what he only hopes will be the answers he seeks. In the book Sage by Mike Frassetti, Leon collects a few friends along the way, as well as a few enemies. In his party, we find Cyrus, a wayward prince who is being hunted by his aunt to steal the throne, Gia, heir to the Silent Assassins, and Hannah, a vampire who is more human by nature than most.
As their journey progresses, the four form relationships and bonds with one another through the various battles and tribulations they encounter. The end goal gets closer and closer as they fight for the good of the kingdom and protect the lives of the innocent.
Let me start with the positives. The cover art is absolutely stunning. It gives off a comic book vibe and there is no doubt that Pipin Tobing, the illustrator, is hugely talented. There are also illustrations at the end of the story depicting a few scenes as well as a few characters that were just as fantastic. Because of the artwork, I had an easy time picturing the characters as the story evolved. In fact, I would have loved for the entire story to be in a comic book format. It lends itself to a panel-style arrangement, and I could see the story being broken up into various volumes. I feel like Mike Frassetti’s writing style is more suited to this design than to novels.
I came to this conclusion about halfway through the book when I realised that the characters were flat. There was no growth in any of them, nor was there any movement. Gia, for example, spent the entire book either in a fight, brooding about something, or practically comatose. Without fail, she was in one of those states. The other characters were similar in that regard. A novel cannot work without some form of character growth, but perhaps a comic book can.
The other thing I wasn’t too pleased about was the sexual content. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with this being a prominent theme in a book, but there are ways to go about it. In Sage, it was immature. Most of the time, the male characters came across as creepy, and the female characters just wanted to have sex. Everything turned everyone on. Constantly. There was a part where Gia was passed out (one of her few states), and Cyrus urged Leon to have his way with her. Thus commenced a discussion about consent. In the end, Leon and Cyrus agreed not to mention it again. There were many moments where I just shook my head wondering why these things were included in the book.
Because I felt like the author was making the story up as he went along, and there was no real direction a lot of the time, I have come to a rating of 2 out of 4 stars. This story could be amazing, and there is no doubt that the author has talent, but it needs to be tightened up. There are entire chapters that can be deleted due to their sheer rambling nature. The editing was also sub-par; I found countless mistakes that could be easily fixed by a thorough proofread.
This is a story that I would love to read as a graphic novel or comic book. The potential is huge, and I can say for certain that it is one that I would look forward to. As a fictional novel, however, I think it missed the mark.
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