Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Massive amounts of fun - a must read!, 13 May 2014
This review is from: Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0) (Paperback)
Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0 #1) is Scott Meyer’s debut novel, and while originally released in 2013 as a self-published effort, it now sees the light of day via Amazon’s 47North imprint. At a quick glance Off to Be the Wizard comes across as a little tongue-in-cheek, has elements of both sci-fi and fantasy, and is wrapped up in an awesomely retro pixel cover. In truth, this is a novel that is written with love which makes you want to keep on reading page after page, and, above all, is simply so much fun.

After discovering that reality is just one big program, Martin Banks starts experimenting with the file that governs the rules. He can increase his height, teleport to specific coordinates in space and time, and inflate his bank balance just by changing some numbers. And he has fun doing all of these things, at least until things start to go wrong. In a last ditch attempt to escape capture, Martin flees to the past – medieval England to be exact – where he can use his new-found powers to be a mighty Wizard! And, of course, he finds that he’s not the only one to reach the same conclusion…

The premise for Off to Be the Wizard – that reality is just one big computer programme to be controlled if you know how – isn’t new or ground-breaking, but Meyer takes the idea and manages to make it fresh and exciting. While the early aspects of this reality-bending plot device are simple (who doesn’t want to add a nice amount to their bank balance?!), it’s when Martin makes his way back to medieval England that things get really interesting. We discover that not only have many others had the same idea, but they have worked together to create a controlled way of using the file to do their magic. And not everyone believes that history shouldn’t be changed, but finding out the details is all part of the enjoyment.

Martin, Philip, and all the other Wizards we come across each have their own unique character. Not everyone is as innocent as Martin, or as snarky as Philip, but the small group that becomes the focus are highly entertaining. While everyone is now together in the past, not everyone is from the same point in the future, and this allows Meyer to fill the narrative with plenty of witty pop culture references. There are some particularly amusing recurring jokes between the group that plays on this aspect, and it all adds up to give the novel a great feel.

Off to Be the Wizard is a very easy read. It’s light-hearted and completely entertaining. Meyer knows what he’s writing and the story doesn’t take itself too seriously, hitting just about every note you’d want. Reading this novel reminded me of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, giving me that same feeling and putting a big smile on my face at every turn. It’s full of love, pokes fun at many, many things, and is simply a joy to read. I can’t recommend this novel highly enough, and the sequel – Spell or High Water – is at the top of my anticipated list. A must-read.
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