Young Adult - Sci-Fi
504 Pages
Reviewed on 06/08/2012
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Author Biography

John Dahlgren is a Psychologist and a member of the Swiss Psychologist Federation (FSP). He has been working as a marketing director at a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland since 1998.

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, he grew up close to the vast and untamed nature of Scandinavia and became influenced at an early age by the Nordic sagas, fairytales and mythologies. This environment fired his imagination and inspired him, to later become a fiction/fantasy writer. He has studied creative and fiction writing at Oxford University where he earned high praise for his work. Dahlgren is mostly known for his Sagaria fantasy series.

Besides his regular work, he is now engaged in several book projects, for both younger readers and adults. He’s also a script writer and composer.
Dahlgren lives in Neuchâtel, Switzerland with his wife and two children.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rita Vetsch for Readers' Favorite

"Sagaria" is an intriguing and action-packed fantasy novel written by John Dahlgren. The world of Sagaria is found through a magical portal in the forest. It is fourteen year old Sagandran Sacks who discovers the portal through his grandfather, Melwin. When Melwin is captured at night, Sacks must muster up enough courage to transport himself to Sagaria in search of Melwin. During his quest, Sacks encounters an evil entity named Arkanamon who has dark plans for Sagaria and the Earth with the help of the Shadow World. He establishes alliance with an unlikely band of misfits including a human-sized frog, an eccentric wizard, a princess named Perima, and a small but fierce rodent. They must all combine their strengths and skills to defeat the stealthy Shadow Knights and monstrous Worgs throughout their journey. Will they be able to find Melwin and save both Sagaria and planet earth?

Well, John Dahlgren hits it out of the ball park yet again with "Sagaria". I thought that he couldn’t possibly top his first novel entitled “The Tides of Avarice,” but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I absolutely LOVED "Sagaria" just as much as "Avarice!" I am very impressed with the layout of this masterpiece of a novel. The chapters play out like a major motion picture movie and the language is very easy to comprehend for any teenager or adult. I am just blown away by Dahlgren’s creativity, organization, and solid gold plot in this novel. He makes the readers feel as though they are part of the story, and it truly takes a very talented author to be able to accomplish that! The cover of the book is also captivating and very noticeable to any reader walking by. You just have to pick this book up to see what it is about and you will not want to put it down. This fantasy novel has it all: from never-seen-before villains, enchanted forests, quests and magic, to three dimensional characters and brilliant imagery that fill this novel full of fun surprises and entertainment. I know that Dahlgren’s books will be picked up by some huge motion picture company or made into mini-series events. They have great potential to succeed in every form throughout the world! I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to read both of Dahlgren’s fantasy novels and if I could give him 10 Stars, I would have!

Stephanie D.

"Sagaria" by John Dahlgren is an action-packed, quirky fantasy novel for young adults. We start with Adventurer Extraordinaire Flip, a young mouse, who is woefully misunderstood by his community of Mishmash in Sagaria. Then, back in the familiar setting of twenty-first century America, we meet Sagandran, a bespectacled, kind boy, the sort that bullies are drawn to. Mom and Dad have split up and he is unhappy. But at least he has a holiday with grandpa Melwin to look forward to, until he finds that one of the bullies has a summer house next door. However, what looks like being a disastrous vacation becomes the best he has ever had when he discovers a family secret and has to rescue his grandpa, and a whole world - Sagaria. Flip and Sagandran cross paths in Sagaria and meet some new friends including Princess Permia, Lord Tombin and Samzing, the wizard, as they help battle the evil of Shadow World which threatens Sagaria and Earthworld. Can Sagandran, 'The Boy Whose Time Has Come', unlikely hero that he is, meet the occasion and defeat the Shadow Master?

John Dahlgren’s writing is a joy to read. His characters are original and delightful - even the hideous worgs with their boils and unpleasant smell. An author who can describe someone’s face as “a boulder strewn hillside” is not your everyday kind of writer. Dahlgren uses his non-native language with endless humor and skill and creates the most incredible universes with his words. This is quite a long book but you wish it was longer since it is so totally enjoyable. This will undoubtedly keep the youngsters in your household spellbound and happy.

Tamera L.

Welcome to the magic world of Sagaria, where everything is not as it seems. This delightful tale embraces Sagandran, a young man who was bullied most of his life because of being small and weak. But Sagandran has no ideas of the wonders that await him. Sagandran journeys to spend the summer at Eagle Lake with his grandfather, also known as the crazy inventor. But this time his grandfather reveals a secret he has been hiding for many years. Grandpa Melwin has been a guardian to a secret portal at the bottom of a well that leads straight to the wondrous world of Sagaria and now the responsibility is being passed to Sagandran. As the Master of Shadows threatens Sagaria, Sagandran finds himself on a quest that will help him discover that being weak and small means nothing in the face of honor and commitment.

"Sagaria" by John Dahlgren is a wonderful tale of mystic adventure. This charming tale has a fairytale quality mixed with everyday realism. Sagaria has woven magic on every delightful page. Grandpa Melwin’s descriptions of the well and how he found Sagaria and met the queen are vibrant and colorful. Equally captivating are all the enchanted creatures living in Sagaria. Sagandran becomes an impressive character as he discovers his true life purpose. The story flowed smoothly and was a lot of fun to read. John Dahlgren is a remarkable author with a gift for storytelling. I look forward to future tales from him.

Anne B.

The setting for this tale is the world of Sagaria. There was a festival in the city of Mishmash in honor of the birthday of Jinnia, the chieftain’s daughter. Flip had a crush on Jinnia but she was interested in Tod, his least favorite person. Tod was a bully and his favorite target was Flip. When the crowd begged for a story, Tod began spinning one of his lies. Flip challenged the storyteller but the crowd just laughed. The people believed there was an abyss beyond the mountains. Flip was determined to prove them wrong. The scene shifts to Sagandran, a teenager. The school bully Webster and his two friends Blunkett and Sprode made Sangandran their target. It was the last day of school before holiday break. Sangandran looked forward to visiting his grandfather at Eagle Lake. People in Eagle Lake considered his grandpa eccentric. But he told Sagandran about the gateway to Sagaria. And Sagandran was enjoying his visit when grandpa disappeared.

Sangria is a fantasy novel for young adults. I very much enjoyed this tale, especially the message behind the text. John Dahlgren addresses the topic of bullies in this story. Both Sagandran and Flip are bullied repeatedly; they are also intimidated by their tormentors. However, through their adventure they develop self-esteem, courage and self-confidence. Their adventure is fraught with danger and yet they manage to overcome their adversaries. I love a good fantasy novel and this one is better than good: it is great! Dahlgren is a talented writer. I will be watching for more of his books.

Alice D.

Flip the rat runs to his little house under the curling roots of the old pine tree where there is a sign that reads "Flip: Adventurer Extraordinaire". Flip doesn't come back with souvenirs from his expeditions beyond his hometown of Mishmash. He draws what he sees on his maps. And the people of Mishmash laugh at Flip and say he is not right in the head. Flip loves Jinnia, daughter of the town chieftain, and takes on rival Tod's challenge to bring back something from beyond the mountains. Meanwhile in nearby Earthworld, human boy Sagandran Sacks is bullied and called "Frogface". He goes to Eagle Lake on his vacation to be with his beloved grandfather Melwin but Melwin goes out walking and disappears as he falls down a well. Sagandran goes after his grandfather down the well, crawls down a passage to a brick wall where a sign states that it is the "Gateway to Sagaria." He also finds nearby the crystal on a chain that his grandfather wore around his neck. Sagagran finds himself in a world with a castle overlooking a village of friendly people. From here, encouraged by Queen Mirabella, Sagandran, Flip, a princess named Perima, the man-sized Frog Sir Tombin, and an old wizard begin a journey to defeat the Shadow Master Arkanamon of the Shadow World who wants to defeat Sagaria and EarthWorld. But will this brave little band succeed?

Author John Dahlgren has written a brilliant fantasy for readers of all ages that take Sagandran, little Flip and his friend Memo, Princess Perima, Sir Tombin Quackford the man-sized frog, the old wizard Samzing, the amazing horse Snowmane, and a series of helpers on a quest to conquer the evil Shadow Master. Their journey is a long one as they meet one challenge after another but readers of fantasy and science fiction will not be deterred. The characters of Sagandran, Flip, and all the others are well-created for this type of book. The plot moves from one challenge to another as the reader of fantasy and science fiction would expect. "Sagaria" is highly recommended for lovers of the genre and readers who enjoy a well-written book.