Wisdom of the Ages


Young Adult - Fantasy - General
260 Pages
Reviewed on 10/17/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Robert Bernardo is a retired businessman who has been writing fiction stories for over a decade. He is currently working on the sequel to Wisdom and plans to have Something Big in the near future.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

Recruited by an evil entity to spend a hundred days at an academy for hand-picked students, a teenage boy faces odd and life-threatening circumstances that affect his future in the young adult fantasy novel Wisdom of the Ages by Robert Bernardo. Bombarding unsuspecting people with water balloons, Johnny Bishop causes a boy riding past on his bicycle to crash and suffer a head injury. A few days later, Johnny receives a summons to appear in court. When Johnny and his parents approach the decaying judge, an intoxicating green fog escapes from his mouth, encasing and holding the family captive. Johnny is sentenced to one hundred days at Kilborne Academy, effective immediately. Under the influence of the green fog, Johnny is unwillingly transported to the academy. On his first day at Kilborne, Johnny dies from over-eating. However, the unique power of the green fog gives him eight more lives. With sharks in the lake, crazy nymphomaniacs, and many other bizarre creatures, events, and people coveting his demise, can Johnny survive long enough to make it back home?

Containing a hint of the supernatural, Wisdom of the Ages by Robert Bernardo is an eerie YA fantasy. It is an intriguing novel complete with action-filled scenes, interesting characters, and a chilling plot. Although the beginning of the story is enigmatic, the heart of the story is fascinating. The imagery of the story world is outstanding, and the storyline flows flawlessly once the plot commences. It is a unique and gripping story with a fantastic backdrop, bizarre elements, and outrageous characters. Together they create an enthralling and extraordinary novel that will delight young adults who enjoy horrifying fantasy novels with a twisted antagonist and a supernatural flavor. It is an entertaining story that unfortunately stops on a cliff hanger, leaving the reader anxiously waiting for the sequel.

Pikasho Deka

Wisdom of the Ages is a surreal, horror-fantasy adventure story by Robert Bernardo. Johnny Bishop finds himself at his sister's house, having disappeared from the world for the last decade, and having no recollection of his memories. During the last decade, Johnny has not aged a single day and is bewildered at the changes in the lives of his loved ones. With the help of his longtime accomplice and rival Marty, Johnny tries to piece together his memories. Johnny's quest takes him to the Kilborne Academy, where he's got nine lives to pass his hundred-day sentence. Johnny starts involuntarily traveling back and forth in time, during which he meets a certain Mr. Fitzhugh. Fitzhugh reveals to Johnny that he's the most powerful entity on the planet and that he controls how the world is run. He also explains that Marty would become the anti-Christ, and the apocalypse is coming.

Wisdom of the Ages is one of the weirdest books I've read this year. And I mean it as a compliment. Due to the non-linear nature of the story, it is pretty satisfying to read the ending as all the pieces fit together like a perfect jigsaw. Robert Bernardo's use of some shockingly horrific scenes in dreamlike sequences provides a Lovecraftian flavor to the narrative. Despite being a horror fantasy novel, there is a surprising amount of gallows humor sprinkled throughout the book. I was particularly impressed by Bernardo's ability to weave together different timelines of Johnny's life and make a concise and coherent narrative. Wisdom of the Ages is not for everyone, but fantasy and horror fans should definitely enjoy this.

Vincent Dublado

Wisdom of the Ages by Robert Bernardo is a delightful weaving of suspense, mystery, humor, and fantasy. Ten years have passed since Johnny Bishop flew in from Texas for the weekend to help move his mother to a nursing home. But after spending the night at his sister’s place, he disappears on a Saturday morning without leaving any trace. Johnny can only recall that he died but spent his eternal repose neither in heaven or hell, but a place called Kilborne Academy. Now he struggles when people ask him about his whereabouts during his long absence; to tell the truth would put humanity at risk. But he had to return from the dead to fulfill a great task, and now that the people in his life have moved on after his death, settling into the rhythms of his return will prove challenging as he wants answers in order to return to the life he once had.

The effect of Wisdom of the Ages is surprising and immediate. You will feel its spell in the progression of Johnny’s search for answers. This is a story about truths and lies, and it paints a reality check of how the world will continue to evolve when you die—a thought that is saddening but humbling at the same time. Bernardo writes with brevity and wastes no time getting into the core of Johnny’s dilemma. The premise of this novel may be too fantastical, but you will support the majority of its ideas and humorous situations like those within the confines of Kilborne Academy. It’s not difficult to muster a level of empathy for the characters, and this book is worth reading for the theme it presents.