The Wayward Mage

The Adventures of Jack Wartnose

Fiction - Fantasy - General
515 Pages
Reviewed on 06/13/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A.S. Norris is a bit of an adventurer himself. As a military officer, he has deployed on three tours to Asia and the western Pacific Ocean and taken several personal trips to Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, he has traveled over half of the United States and backpacked or camped in many of its national parks. Now his life consists of adventures as a family man with his lovely wife and spirited baby daughter. THE WAYWARD MAGE: THE ADVENTURES OF JACK WARTNOSE is his first novel with more coming in the near future!

Follow on social media sites with handle @asnauthor.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Wayward Mage is a work of fiction in the fantasy, adventure, and romantic comedy subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and forms the first novel of The Adventures of Jack Wartnose low fantasy series. Penned by author A.S. Norris, this amusing and action-packed work follows our titular character through several unexpected events, not least the inclusion of his wife and son on his latest quest to uncover the Tome of Time. Jack’s past actions and promises for the future collide spectacularly as he tries to keep his word and please all parties until a swarm of assassins also joins the mix.

Author A.S. Norris has crafted an engaging work that really establishes exactly what to expect from this series and creates an immersive fantasy world packed with danger and comedic opportunity. There’s something very Terry Pratchett in the way that Norris balances his comedic aspects with the engaging sword and sorcery plot, making his characters believably human in their emotions, dialogue, and connection with one another, but also great figures of fun when they’re put to the test against beasts and villains from the wildest corners of the imagination. I really enjoyed the father-son dynamic and the little hints of what might follow for Jack’s wayward progeny in future books. Christian readers will also likely enjoy the moral level of the tale and its links to spirituality, which is well-balanced so as to underpin the story without overpowering it. Overall, The Wayward Mage is highly enjoyable and recommended fantasy novel for fans everywhere, and I can’t wait to see what more the series has in store.

Stephanie Chapman

The Wayward Mage: The Adventures of Jack Wartnose by A.S. Norris is full of ordeals. The gods were worried that the “Dark Lord” was threatening humanity. Wartnose possesses the cunning to draw the foe out from hiding. Wartnose, Brien the ranger, and Skully the thief enter a tavern where Muriel recognizes the mage. Nineteen years ago, she became pregnant with his child. A quick wedding and a brief introduction to his son Jack has Wartnose continuing his quest to find a sacred tome. Likewise, the group faces the quandary of funding their travels. Several side quests have the members facing new challenges. Meanwhile, the past has returned to haunt Wartnose. Will this threaten the safety of his family and friends? Unbeknownst to Wartnose, someone less sinister is also following his path.

A.S. Norris developed excellent characters that were easy to connect with. The book gave the locations and schedules to provide the timeline for their travels. Wartnose was always the leader, depending on visions to guide him. At first, Muriel’s emotional tantrums seemed to be a hindrance. However, I discovered she had more to offer the quest. Selenus was evil incarnate with his scientific abominations. A lone character, Margaret, was seeking Wartnose. She was a formidable opponent. My favorite was Skully. Despite his occupation as a thief, he had a sense of humor and acted with honor in several tense situations. The dialogue gave each character a distinct personality. The appendices were enlightening, with details about job scrolls, topography, accommodation, and guilds. I recommend The Wayward Mage to readers who enjoy fantasy stories with colorful characters.

Asher Syed

The Wayward Mage: The Adventures of Jack Wartnose by A.S. Norris is a fantasy adventure revolving around its titular character, Jack, a novice mage who finds his life complicated when he encounters his long-lost childhood sweetheart and comes face to face with the consequences of his past actions. Bound by a forgotten promise, Jack embarks on a dangerous quest to find the Tome of Time, an artifact believed to have caused a previous world-ending cataclysm. Forced to bring his fledgling family along, including his wife and son, Jack must face not only bloodthirsty monsters and vengeful assassins from his past but also internal conflicts within his party and the financial struggles of providing for his family. To survive these challenges and keep his family together, Jack realizes they will need more than just magic and wit.

What do you do when you've been searching for centuries for the ancient lost tome from the founding mage, Aeternus? You send Jack! And this, fellow readers, is how you make gold in a literary hero's journey, and The Wayward Mage by A.S. Norris is gold. First things first, yes, Jack has a perilous quest before him and brings along his wife and kid. It sounds terrible but in fiction-reality, Muriel has some impressive history that involves, oh, just some casual mercenary work. No big deal. Jack and Muriel, for all the odds stacked against them, are endearing characters. It takes some time with Jack but the mage saves wolf pups, and once he does that there's no turning back in the 'I'm with Jack' department. The writing is very well done and for a novel of its size, the pacing keeps the story moving forward. Occasionally the dialogue can run into paragraph territory, but at least the characters are engaging and we are not simply being talked at by a narrator. Overall, this is a great fantasy read and I look forward to seeing where we head next.

Jamie Michele

In The Wayward Mage: The Adventures of Jack Wartnose by A.S. Norris, a mage is sent on a quest but the danger is compounded by a former flame named Muriel, who presents Jack Wartnose with another of the same name. It's his son, Jack. Jack Wartnose marries Muriel and their shared history both helps and hinders the growing pains of a reconnection that rapidly turns into a lifelong commitment. The quest goes on with wife and son in tow, a family getting to know each other, with others they band up with who everyone is getting to know too. The world depends on the success of the mage in finding the Tome of Time because it was likely the reason for an apocalyptic cataclysm in the past, and the reward to find it is huge too.

Alternating points of view and an exceptionally large cast of characters in The Wayward Mage lay the foundation for multiple directions and offshoots A.S. Norris can explore in the expansive world built for this series. There are lots of moving parts but a reader will not find themselves forgetting where the pieces were set because Norris employs smooth transitioning. Norris also reduces the potential to confuse characters who have identical names by mostly calling Jack Sr by the unfortunate surname Wartnose and calling his and Muriel's son Jack. All involved have their own distinct voice that applies to ancillary characters too, like a gate guard on watch who thinks of his own unhappy union while watching a poor but perpetually pregnant woman tend to laundry. There's a cliffhanger-type ending but luckily the sequel, The Forbearing Mage, is already out.

Foluso Falaye

Jack Wartnose is an inexperienced mage whose quest to find a legendary artifact—the Tome of Time—is interrupted when he discovers he's a father and reunites with a lover he lost for eighteen years. Although he plans to return to his quest, he must also consider fulfilling his duty as a father. Fortunately, his circle as a family man enlarges since he's surrounded by family and friends who contribute to his adventures with unique skills—including support, dancing, beast-taming, tracking, and fighting. Jack and his crew need all the help they can get as they face assassins, monsters, and even friendly fire within their chaotic group. The Wayward Mage by A.S. Norris follows a mage's adventure-filled, dramatic, and humorous quest in an ancient world of swords, magic, and monsters.

Romance is a significant theme in the book, giving it an adorable feel that makes you want to spend time with a lover. Though Jack strives to remain focused on his mission, his spouse keeps him committed to making her feel loved with promises, cute confrontations, and intimate moments. Furthermore, The Wayward Mage alternates perspectives and covers the physical and supernatural realms, portraying themes like lucid dreaming, monsters, and spells. I fell in love with the book's quirky, funny protagonists as they embarked on their dangerous, mysterious missions. The Wayward Mage is a must-read for low-fantasy fans and readers who enjoy humorous, character-rich tales. A.S. Norris crafts these characters so skillfully they are lifelike and likable. I can't wait to read about their adventures in the follow-up novels.