Review| Off to be The Wizard by Scott Meyer

Book Review of Off to be the Wizard by Scott MeyerOne of my greatest friends is a wizard, minus the wizened beard and the magic. Trust me, if you met him, you’d get it. I mean, he’s really tall and Merliny. So when I saw this book on a bookseller’s recommendation shelf, I knew I should probably get it for my non-magical wizard friend.

I got it home, and then thought about how often I give him books for his birthday and Christmas. Maybe he’d like to get something else from time to time. We haven’t been friends all these years because we sit around reading together. Also, it’s really hard to pick books, as gifts, when you haven’t read them yet. What if the book sucks? Second-guessing my decision, I decided to just read the book and loan it to him if it’s good.

Off to be The Wizard is the story of Martin, a nerdy hacker who stumbles upon a random file that controls the world. When Martin gets himself into immediate trouble using the file to not-so-subtly alter his life, he escapes via time travel to medieval England. Once there, he meets other wizards, and trains in the arts of “magic”.

{It’s probably a good time to say – if you are the aforementioned wizard friend, and you wish to read this book, stop reading my review right about… here. I’ll pass the book to you, and you can formulate your own opinions.}

The premise alone is a big tip-off that this book is quite silly and absurd. If you’re into that kind of thing, and I usually am, you might enjoy this book. Particularly, if you are a nerdy male. In my opinion, the book was fun. That pretty much sums up my take on this book – interesting premise; fun.

My enjoyment was slightly inhibited by the fact that the comedic element was a trifle forced; trying a little too hard. Have you ever heard about the comedic rule of three? Basically, retelling a joke is funny the first three times, and gets funnier with each repetition. After the third time, however, it stops being funny. Certainly, there are exceptions to this rule. Generally speaking though, I think it’s a good guideline for comedy. This book breaks that rule; repeating jokes until they turn into stock material and stop being funny. It’s also worth mentioning that the jokes themselves frequently ran the very limited gamut from obvious to immature.

The other downside, for me personally, was the lack of female characters. This book is a boys club, with only one main female character in the lot. Granted, the story acknowledges this fact. An explanation for the lack of female characters is given, but in my opinion, it was a weak plot devise. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not someone who needs an equal ratio of men to women in every story. However, I do think this story would have benefited from one or two additional female characters.

Despite my reservations, I think there is a big market for this book. If you’re a light-hearted nerd, delighted by sheer silliness, give this book a go. No doubt, fans will roll their eyes at my review, believing I took it too seriously, and that I missed the point entirely. Fair enough.

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