By: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 2012
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: March 23, 2012
Sage is a thief. A boy who lives at Mrs. Turbeldy’s Orphanage for Disadvantaged Boys, Sage possesses a quick hand, fast legs and a sarcastic mouth that seems to ‘shoot-off’ at the worst possible moments.
One day, as he’s running away from the butcher with the pilfered meat in his hands, he runs directly into a sour-faced, slightly annoying man by the name of Bevin Conner. It seems that Mr. Conner is going to be Sage’s new master, and although the young lad tries to run away, the ‘guards’ that Conner employs - Cregan and Mott - make sure that Sage’s freedom remains just out of reach.
As Sage is thrown into the back of a carriage with three other orphan boys: Tobias, a well-educated, slightly evil young man; Latamer, a sickly, pasty-faced boy who suffers from some sort of ailment; and Roden, a large tanned dim-wit - Conner’s plan is soon revealed, and one boy pays the ultimate price.
This all has to do with the treachery and intrigue that is happening behind the throne in the world known as Carthya. Bevin Conner is a loyal member to the royal family and he needs a boy - only one - to help him succeed in a plan to stop treason and halt a war that is almost ready to begin.
As the boys follow the training they’re given - too scared to fight or run from the nobleman - they stumble across everything from a young, mute girl within the Conner household who may just become Sage’s only protection; to a once future Queen who has no idea that her betrothal may just be nothing more than an empty promise.
Sage is an incredibly fun character who can stand face-to-face with his sometimes violent master and the other boys who he must win against in order to survive. His smart mouth, wit, and his ability to keep secrets in order to attain what he’s after has readers following his adventures with pure excitement.
Quill Says: A plot that, when exposed, will leave readers breathless. This is a truly fun YA!