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Off to Be the Wizard [Kindle in Motion] (Magic 2.0 Book 1) Kindle Edition
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What gave rise to these three phases? The first phase, wanting to like it but not, was due to the writing. I'm not sure if this is Meyer's first full-length novel or not, but prose in the first 20% or so of the book is flat and boring. Meyer uses lots of passive voice and very monotone descriptions. Imagine someone uninterestingly describing something that might be interesting if not for their boring description, and you'll have the right idea. Eventually, and thankfully, Meyer finds his writer's voice and the prose really becomes a pleasure to read. There's a lot of dry wit and it really is very charming.
The second phase, not wanting to like it but liking it anyway, is due to Meyer's lack of deep research into Medieval England, where our protagonist finds himself. In the age of Wikipedia, I was a bit disappointed that Meyer seemed to pretty well write Medieval England based on his idea of it. The locals of the time speak fairly modern English, which was the main thing that irked me, and didn't seem too put off at seeing things like saran wrap or sequin robes. This really messed with my suspension of disbelief.
However, as I continued reading I hit the third phase, acceptance on the books own terms. Off To Be The Wizard clearly wasn't meant to be a serious treatise on Medieval England, and though Meyer does make some very good critiques on various issues in the book, neither was it meant to be a parody. It's simply a good, fun book, with some silly moments and lots of good humor. Once I accepted that, I couldn't put it down.
So do I like this book? Well, I had already purchased the next in the series by the time I'd gotten to 95% of Off To Be The Wizard, and I eagerly look forward to starting that one next.
It took me a few pages to get the feel for Scott Meyer's writing style. Initially I thought the beginning was a little awkward and it got better after the first chapter. But after finishing the book and re-reading the first few pages, I realize that I just needed those few pages to adjust. So if you aren't sure, at least make it through the first two chapters before deciding.
My reading of this book slightly annoyed my family, because I would frequently laugh at it, but then couldn't tell them why it was funny, because I didn't want to give them any spoilers. I will definitely be passing this along to my teenager, and I recommend it to anyone who identifies in some form or fashion as a geek &/or nerd.
Amazon only let me choose from "No," "Some," or "Explicit" for sexual content. I would have chosen somewhere between "No," and "Some" if they had finer selection options. There are innuendoes and references to explicit writing, but there is not really any sexual content within the book. Most of the innuendoes are on a level where young children would miss them completely, (please don't take that as a recommendation of this book for young children) but older children, teenagers, and those of us who still feel 12 on the inside will find them quite funny.
The violence is fairly minor and essential to the plot.
(FYI I won this as an e-book in a goodreads giveaway.)
Fun, but I don't think I trust it enough to read the second one. There was nothing really clever about the book, despite most of the characters being computer nerds who chose to live in a different time and give themselves magical powers. The humor was okay, but it grew old, and the characters didn't get any deeper.
Martin never grew. I wanted to see him thinking about things, working hard, making mistakes. What I got instead was someone who sort of resembled a computer character. Seriously. The plot was far more interesting than a computer game, but the characters themselves were barely two-dimensional. What are Martin's ambitions? He seems to want Gwen to like him, and he doesn't want to get arrested. That's about it.
I liked that the book didn't grow inappropriate. It danced around those issues, though, and I'm not sure about the second one. One running gag was that whenever the wizards mentioned their staffs, they said, "Rule one: don't make the obvious joke!" So mature. I guess that's what happens when all the wizardesses choose to live in Atlantis.
The bad guy is new, at least. He has different ambitions built around the idea that reality is just a computer game, and that he can't change the past. If that were true, why not change the world to make it more interesting? His punishment is interesting, even if it is easy to get around. I'm mildly curious to see what he would do next.
Time travel is tricky. SM managed it better than most, especially since his book declared that changing the past doesn't change the future. It gives time travelers free reign, but it also gives him leeway to do whatever he wants with his characters in the past. It was necessary to keep from making a bunch of plot holes. Why wouldn't so-and-so just go back in time and attack the bad guy before letting all these people die and bad things happen? Ah, because it doesn't work that way.
A writer has to deal with potential plot holes. Another way is by having characters discuss the "why don't we try . . . ?" and having other characters explain why that won't work. However it is, you really don't want readers sitting and asking all the "why didn't they . . . ?" questions. That makes characters and writers look dumber than the reader.