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Off to Be the Wizard

Narrated by: Luke Daniels
Series: Magic 2.0, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (27,768 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An io9 Can't Miss Science Fiction and Fantasy title in March 2014.

Martin Banks is just a normal guy who has made an abnormal discovery: he can manipulate reality, thanks to reality being nothing more than a computer program. With every use of this ability, though, Martin finds his little “tweaks” have not escaped notice. Rather than face prosecution, he decides instead to travel back in time to the Middle Ages and pose as a wizard.

What could possibly go wrong?

An American hacker in King Arthur’s court, Martin must now train to become a full-fledged master of his powers, discover the truth behind the ancient wizard Merlin…and not, y’know, die or anything.

©2013 Scott Meyer (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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Story

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Hang in there

When I started this book, I felt some trepidation. I'd heard it was good, but not as good as Ready Player One. But, I wanted to give it a shot. The first part of the book was infuriating - I just kept wanting to yell "How is this NOT a bad idea? Stop being so stupid!". I almost gave up.

Then Martin meets Phillip. Suddenly I could not get through the book fast enough. I warn you to be careful if you listen while you drive - there were points when I laughed so hard I almost had to pull over. Luckily, I was in my neighborhood and could go 5 mph. I loved Ready Player One, but this was better in terms of entertainment. I will re-listen to this soon.

Luke Daniels kills this - I love what he does with Phillip. Phillip is definitely my favorite. He needs his own series!

156 of 163 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Temporal distortion has never been so fun

This series fell into my lap as a suggestion in the Podcast’s Youtube page. I really appreciate that, as it keeps me from having to seek out books blindly.

Let me say, I hadn’t heard of Scott Meyer before this book, but this cat is on my radar now. The man knows how to set up a story, and make it funny. The tale revolves around a guy who discovers a small piece of code that makes him realize that he is living in a computer program, and that he can manipulate the system. In other words, there is no spoon. He can rewrite some of his code and provide all kinds of benefits to himself such as making himself taller, teleport, or wealthier by inflating his bank account, etc. Naturally, this leads him into getting himself into trouble with the law, and before you know it he flees to the past where he plans on setting himself up as a wizard. Now, we all know that nothing good comes from thinking like this, and that things are not going to go as planned. Still, the book really takes off and there is a ton of magic, time travel, thugs, FBI types, and wizards to keep you entranced before you know what hit you.

Meyer never misses a beat, and has a built in rim shot that appears every couple of beats to make you laugh. It is a good mix of funny, ironic, satire, and seriousness that all blends together in one hell of a sweet literary smoothie. I looked and there are quite a few books in this series, and I look forward to getting my grubby mitts on each one, just as much as I do other big names in the Litrpg genre.

One huge benefit for this series is that the book is narrated by Luke Daniels, and like Jeff Hays, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a book that he narrated that I didn’t love. Daniels proves to be as professional and silly as a person can be simultaneously. I think my favorite part was where he imitated sounding like someone speaking into a fan. That was pure narration brilliance. And his portrayal of Jimmy was soooo funny that I squirted milk out of my nose, and I wasn’t even drinking anything.

So, the question is is this book LITRPG or not? There are a lot of things to consider, but I’m going to go with two things. First, the wizards are all self aware NPC’s if nothing else. They know that they are algorithms, and it doesn’t bother them at all. Secondly, they are in a computer game. Of that there is no question. They literally rewrite code in order to achieve things that they want. Just on those two things alone I will say this is LITRPG, it doesn’t matter if it was a “real” human who entered the world or if the NPC’s suddenly became sentient. The end result is that the MC is trapped in a Sims like game and regardless of whether he is “alive” he is a player, and that too qualifies. So for this I’m calling it Lit! Final score for this Litrpg book is 8.1 stars. I can’t wait to listen to more of this wonderful series..

Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

As seen on the LITRPG AUDIOBOOK PODCAST, please check it out on Youtube.com

45 of 47 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Story!

Ah man, this story was great! Very funny and creative. It has a rather modern feel to it, along with a healthy reaction to existentianlism. Definitely believable in it's explanation of coding as a form of magic and the modern and midevil perspectives are interesting. All in all very compelling and enchanting story. I'd reccomend it to anyone who likes a good story.

40 of 45 people found this review helpful

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IT WOULD BE IDYLLIC, IF NOT FOR THE CORPSES

JUST BECAUSE YOU CALL SOMETHING, SOMETHING, DOESN'T MAKE IT, IT.
If you like John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton, then you will love this. During the first hour, I thought this is cute, but it is going to grow old. Over nine hours later, I am still laughing. As the story grows, it gets funnier and more interesting. If you are driving be careful, you may miss your exit, it is that engaging.

TECHNICALLY I AM OLDER THEN YOU, I WAS JUST BORN LATER
I am 56 and barely understand computers, so this was not aimed at me, but I loved it anyway. It was a fun light book, with plenty of surprises. After a while some of the jokes become predictable, but they are still funny. There is a little Connecticut Yankee in here, an updated version. This has time travel, wizards, Lord of the Rings, orcs, etc...

SILENCE SO THICK, YOU COULD LEAN ON IT.
I can not say enough about Luke Daniels. His performance is above and beyond. This would be a great book to read, but I believe that Daniels makes it so much more. Don't miss out on this experience.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ME EAT ANY OF THAT STEW?
I will be getting the sequels.

129 of 152 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Fun and funny... amateur but enjoyable

The opening of the book had me worried... it was sloppily written, in fashion to get the plot moving as quickly as possible. The protagonist isn't well thought out... he's smart enough to be an elite hacker, but his intelligence is otherwise absent from anything he does thereafter... for the entire duration of the story.

The character discovers that he has the powers of a god, but this is quickly forgotten by both him and apparently the author. Like in the movie "Bruce Almighty", we're supposed to believe that our character is so unimaginative and selfish that the only thing he can think to do with his powers is to improve his own little life in small and insignificant ways.

But before you can get to frustrated with the story, Meyer throws you backwards in time, and the story takes a turn for the weird(er). Here in the past, Meyer has thought things out a little bit more. If he researched the time period, it doesn't really show... but he has built an amusing cast of characters.

Here the book starts to take on the flavor of Cline's "Ready Player One", one of my favorite light reads. Meyer's characters are funny, and the humor is geared at an audience who is familiar the life of 1980s computer geeks.

Everything stays fun and light. I wasn't bored for an instant. Oh, and the narration was hilarious.

The ending was satisfying within the scope of the story... but then, the scope of the story was very small.

As a listener, what I really longed for was for our hacker protagonist to play around more with the code he's discovered... outside of this one little pocket of use that he's fixated on in the past. Play with more variables... discover things... surprise me.

Anyway, Meyers has a lot of promise. I hope that he continues writing... and that next time he takes his writing to the next level.

Good listen for the price. I recommend it if you liked "Ready Player One".



104 of 127 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Geekfest of good times.

Any additional comments?

I found this book because my favorite narrator, Luke Daniels, is reading. As an added bonus, I also fall into the demographic--White girl nerd who started with tech in the '80s.

Now, I know that previous viewers have said this is more for guys, but that is untrue! In life, I've found, nerd > gender. While we may not make the "obvious jokes," we have certainly heard enough of them to make us smirk when the obvious jokes pop up...so to speak. Oops, I think I just broke the first rule of Magic.

But I digress. Mr. Daniels' narration was perfection, as always! The storytelling was nimble, witty, and filled with nerdtastic goodness. Unlike another reviewer, I found Martin's reactions to be completely believable and probable, considering the circumstances. I also thoroughly enjoyed the bits of nostalgia. All in all, a highly recommended read!

41 of 50 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Fun, but Limited

Any additional comments?

This is not a well-written book. For the first quarter of it, that’s part of its charm. Meyer is so clever, so warmly funny, that he powers through not quite knowing “the rules” of writing a novel. Our hero, Martin, discovers an obscure data-set on the internet, one that includes his name along with millions of others. He changes his height, out of vanity, from 5’10” to 6’1” and realizes he’s changed his actual height. He realizes, that is, that he’s found the database of existence, and that he can alter his personal statistics as he pleases: his wealth, his location, his place in time.

Meyer gets through all of that background quickly and without pretension. Martin realizes his powers, gets into trouble, and flees to what he thinks is the security of medieval England, in only 50 pages or so. Meyer is so inventive and brings so much joy to his task, that it’s hard not to get caught up in the fun.

The second and third quarters slow down considerably, though, and the final quarter more or less hits a wall. A couple chapters of Martin training with another “wizard” might be nice, but more than half the book on that is overkill. And, as all that unwinds, there’s no real plot left. The final part means exaggerating a minor conflict into the central one, and there’s really little at stake.

Still, reading this hasn’t been a disappointment. I’ve enjoyed it, in substantial part, because its what-the-hell approach makes me appreciate the art of several other books all the more.

1) Claire Norths’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is really a gem, one of my favorite surprises of last year. It too tells the story of characters who play with time lines, but it takes its potential contradictions more seriously and answers them with deeper wisdom and care. When I find myself wondering here, for instance, why no changes in the past affect the future, I admire North’s subtler answer to that, where individual choices in the past can slightly alter the future – changing an individual’s wealth maybe – but not dramatically: no forestalling Hitler’s rise. North’s is a joy of a book, one that rises well above this one, and it’s rewarding to be reminded of it.

2) Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is actually about something. Where Meyer’s book sets out to entertain, or maybe to make a kind of revenge-of-the-nerds claim, Twain uses almost the exact same setting to make an argument about the nature of modernity. As far back as 1889 Twain saw some of the dehumanizing aspects of technology. His hero shows up some of the foolishness of chivalry, but, in the end, he shows all the more clearly the Holocaust potential of the industrial world. It’s an argument about human nature, one that’s far more deeply funny than this book, and one that’s simultaneously disturbingly predictive.

3) Any number of genre novels I’ve read recently do what they set out to do. The hero saves people, the heroine falls in love with him. Meyer tries to subvert the formula, his love story never gets off the ground and his Gandalf/Dumbledore figure is decidedly silly, and he gets some legit laughs out of it. Still, he’s clearly playing against expectation. When Charlie Huston or Jason Starr tells a good story, one where character types walk in the door in the opening pages, it’s all the more impressive to realize they’ve held my interest while obeying the demands of genre.

I have no plans to read any more Meyer, and I can’t recommend this one in good conscience, but I feel oddly good about having read it. This writing business is tough. It’s hard to get it right, and Meyer, in getting a lot wrong, reminds me of the joy and optimism I feel any time I sit down in front of a brand new blank page.

24 of 30 people found this review helpful

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A plausibly interesting idea ruined.

I have a tendency to like these sort of What If explorations. For example I really quite enjoyed the following three:
1. Bobiverse Trilogy Dennis E. Taylor (all three books excellent)
2. Nexus series by Ramez Naam (all three books excellent)
3. Awaken Online Series Travis Bagwell (only read first book, quite interesting although not in the same league as 1 and 2)

The base premise of Oww to be the wizard is interesting (discovering you are in a simulation and can alter it) but everything from that point onwards is just ghastly. I must admit I did not manage to finish this, which is unusual for me.

The main issue for me is that the main character is an idiot. And I don't mean in a charming self-effacing ironic sort of way. He is just incredibly stupid. From the very moment he discovers his ability to manipulate reality, almost every single choice he makes is foolish, thoughtless, ignorant or all of the above that it ceases to be interesting.

I kept thinking "OMG why are you doing that?" There are so many ways that this could be entertaining and it manages to avoid even accidentally stumbling into any of them.

My strong recommendation is to avoid this.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Pure fun!

I don't give five star reviews very often, but this was one of the most enjoyable recordings I've purchased from Audible. I enjoyed every second of the book, and when I wasn't listening to it, my husband and I (who don't often agree on books) were discussing it. Frequently, I literally laughed out loud. "Off to Be the Wizard" is just fun.

I've read some of the other reviews of the book, and I think that many of the complaints about it are valid. The protagonist is not drawn very well and has very few attributes (likeable or otherwise). However, he stands as an audience surrogate. This book may as well have been written in second person like those old Choose Your Own Adventure books. You discover things alongside Martin and the things that surprise him, surprise you. There are little hints throughout the book that tell you where the story is going, but even if you miss them (and you will probably miss at least a couple), the situations Martin finds himself in are genuinely entertaining even without the overarching plot. So even though I generally like my characters better developed, I didn't have any issues with characterization in this story.

Luke Daniels did an excellent job with the narration. He added vocal tics to some of the characters that made the book feel more like a radio show than a narration. His delivery really added to the overall joy I experienced listening to this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding book with an exceptional performance

I don’t know why I picked up this book. I am a straight fantasy reader and this book has no real magic. Fortunately, I decided to check out the sample (for some reason I can’t fathom) and I could not put it down. This is now in my top favorite books of all time, and the only one without magic. I literally cannot believe how much I loved it.

The humor is fantastic, the writing is brilliant, and the story is captivating. I can’t say I didn’t spot the villain from a mile away, but reading it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Every single day, I looked forward to getting my work done because it meant I could read more of this awesome book.

There is nothing I didn’t like about it. I am a huge fan of the author. I look forward to reading everything else he has and ever puts out.

Now, a book and a narrator can be amazing on their own without fitting together. In this case, the narrator could not be better suited for the book. He understood and performed the humor and characters’ personalities perfectly. His voice and production quality were great, making it easy to listen to it for hours on end.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 10-07-15

Matrix meets mediaeval fabtasy

Put it this way, the story is like a mash up of the matrix, ready player one and mediaeval english fantasy. like those? then this is for you. Some parts are really original, but weren't embraced to their full potential. The basis for the story allowed for many possibilities and scenarios, but the resulting plot just seemed extremely unlikely and almost forced to set up the theme mashup. If you put logic aside and just forgive it's shortcomings in setting up the scenario, its a unique story that worth a listen. Can't fault the performance though, great job acting out each character.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 03-19-17

Not What I Expected

What made the experience of listening to Off to Be the Wizard the most enjoyable?

The narration.

What did you like best about this story?

The characterization, mostly due to the narration, allowed me to be interested enough in the main character to stick with the story to the end to see what happened to him.

What does Luke Daniels bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

If I had read the book I doubt I would have finished it, not because there is anything inherently wrong with it but just because it is not the type of book I would normally read/listen to.

The excellent narration was enough for me to stick with the book to the end and feel that it was not time wasted.

Any additional comments?

I think so much more could have been done with this story as the idea is a good twist to the more popular Virtual reality type books out there.

I don't want to sound too disparaging of this book because I understand that my major disappointment with it is due to my own personal taste being different from the genre rather than it being anything to do with the book itself. I was in two minds whether to buy it or not and in hindsight I should have picked a different title.

However, even though it is not the type of genre I would normally read or listen to it did hold my interest long enough to finish it and thus not ask for a refund.

So, if this is the type of genre you like then I think you will like this book as it's well written and well narrated. I've given it a 4-star overall rating to be fair to the author.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Robyn
  • 05-24-17

Light-hearted fun

The editor's blurb pretty much sums this book up. If you like the tone of the blurb, then you'll like the tone of the book.

In a nutshell, this is light-hearted, good fun. And it doesn't pretend to be anything it's not.

That said, it's also quite a clever, humorous take on "if the world and life were actually a computer programme" meets "time-travel". Written and narrated with a little spring in the step.

A worthy spend of a credit for the pure entertainment factor.

In a world gone a little bit mad of late - this was a great little escape to simpler times/ life / magic..............and the good guys might even win.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • 09-16-15

Enjoyably ludicrious

I have been contemplating this book for some time. I was dubious about it but finally decided to take a punt and I was very pleased I did. Reminiscant of the Myth Adventures series by Robert Asprin and with hints of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde I found this fun and enjoyable. As they say in the book it 'avoids the obvious joke' and the humour grew on me. Although the story in very fantastical, it is still well thought through. The characters are likeable and believable (for a fantasy novel) and I am looking forward to the next books in the series.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • al
  • 01-29-15

Gum and geeky-ness

An enjoyable tale which made me laugh several times, while being quite clever. Very light and extremely enjoyable even if your not a fan of wizard stories.


13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • H. Bacon
  • 07-22-15

Light and breezy, but could've been much more

I think I expected a bit too much from this book and consequently it didn't quite deliver. The excellent reviews and innovative idea for the novel suckered me in, but I found it a bit wanting. Perhaps even a bit simplistic/childish (although what should I have expected, I hear you ask!?).

The story was a very straight-forward A to B affair and the humour never got beyond me thinking it was amusing, rather than actually laughing out loud. I think I was just a bit underwhelmed by it all, to be honest.

Having said that, it was in no way a bad listen and I'm still thinking about getting one of the follow-ups because I like the whole concept of the piece so much... but the fact that I have been spending my credits on alternative books might tell you all you need to know!

The narration was excellent.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sir-O
  • 04-10-19

Superb!!

Glad I downloaded this book, it was constantly coming up in my recommended books section, will be getting the rest of the series!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chia
  • 08-08-15

great story with a great speaker

A friend sugested me this story a few months ago. I should follow his advice more often.
I greatly enjoyed the story and the speaker is very nice to listen to!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-05-19

Review

Very well told and easy to follow along. Will be reading the 2nd one although sometimes It can be confusing if you are unsure of tech stuff

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-24-19

Great narrative!

So easy to listen to all the way through. Definitely would recommend for anyone looking for a good immersive story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JK1
  • 01-15-17

Enjoyable read

Interesting premise. Light & easy read. I'd recommend it if you want something light & humorous.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • citta gazze
  • 11-26-18

Hilarious story, excellent performance

The story is hilarious (great premise!) and the performance is just as enjoyable. Luke Daniels does great voices and never misses a beat. I enjoyed this so much that I've been listening to the other books in the series and find them all very entertaining. Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-13-18

Good concept up but failed to deliver

The idea behind this story is good, but the execution not so. The middle of the story drags on with no climax, and the final act is swift short and the climax is a hill rather than a mountain. Relies too heavily on geek pop culture/stereotype

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • J
  • 06-25-16

A rollicking adventure

Enjoyable and light entertainment. A bit twee in parts but it is a wizard story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Victoria
  • 05-13-15

a new Douglas Adams

I have bought copies of this series for my dchool library. perfect for the geek at heart!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jack
  • 05-27-15

Brilliant :)

Great book! Addictive, hilarious and caters to the demographic of nerds and geeks perfectly. 10/10 Simply amazing :)

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Takudza
  • 02-24-15

Absolutely Brilliant

I really couldn't ask for more. It was funny, the plot had no holes and the characters believable. The narration was exquisite. I highly, whole heartedly recommend this book. I've already downloaded the rest of the series.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrea
  • 09-23-19

Disappointingly shallow (specially if you like women at all)

I was recommended this book as a fan of Ben Aaronovitch so if that’s your style then don’t bother with this.
The concept is good and most of the time travel related holes are well enough plugged that you can get on but there are literally two female characters in the whole book. One is his mother who has about three sentences and the other is so completely 2-dimensional that if she stood sideways she’d be invisible. This is clearly written by a socially inept male who has only ever flirted unsuccessfully with women or pretended they weren’t there.
The male characters are also pretty shallow and there seems to be little effort to explore motivations beyond ‘I miss my old car’ or ‘I want to live in middle earth’. I kept waiting for a twist but it never came. It tries to be funny to make up for lack of depth but I can’t say there were any actually memorable lines.

I did actually make it to the end of the book but it was mostly to see if the characters would make anything truly exceptional with the original plot device. They didn’t.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-12-19

A fun and amusing adventure.

A bit of a light hearted cousin of Ready Player One. Very enjoyable indeed.
Especially if you have a bit of geek in you.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • A Annereau
  • 08-30-19

worth it!

It took me a while to really get into this story. The narrator was quite different to those I have listened to recently, and the authors writing style was very different too. I actually gave up after only a few chapters. With some convincing from some friends I went back to it, and I am really glad I did!