“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.”
Sometimes you just need to read (or in my case listen) to something fun, something akin to a popcorn movie and Off To Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer is just that. It’s funny, entertaining, and above all, fun. It’s a book where you turn your brain off and just enjoy the ride.
Martin was a solid protagonist who discovers something wonderful. While he does discover a file that alters the world, he is by no means a genius and that does make him quite relatable. He is not some genius, he is a normal guy who just happens to have stumbled on quite a discovery. His journey from an average joe to a good wizard was fairly effective even if expected. Philip serves as the mentor to Martin and I found their interactions and conversations to be quite hilarious. The book really starts to pick up when they meet one another and seeing their relationship grow was quite nice. The other supporting characters such as Gary provided their own funny moments and lines. Merlin or Jimmy serves as Philip’s main rival and their rivalry provides some of the funniest moments in the book. While I did like the characters, they are not the most complex or layered characters and they should not be for a book like this. They have their own quirks and traits that make the likeable and entertaining, but they are not ground breaking. This is not a con, just a heads up for those looking for deep characters. I listened to the audiobook and found the narrator to be pretty good. His variety of accents and unique voices really helped elevate the book, so I do recommend the audiobook.
The plot is fairly predictable and some decisions make you scratch your head, but it does enough to keep you going. It does take some time to pick up, notably when Philip and Martin meet which is where the actual magic begins. Now I do appreciate the creativity of the world that Meyers creates. The magic itself was quite different from most fantasy books. It is a bit more sci-fi that fantasy in that regard. The magic requires manipulation of the file and the wizards can even create macros to help them cast more complex magic which is quite unique and a bit refreshing. The humor in this book clicked for me, yet it can be quite silly. What people find funny is different from one another and others may find it silly and at times, crass.
I have been reading some pretty heavy books recently and reading Who Let The Gods Out? and Off To Be The Wizard was a good change of pace. Off To Be The Wizard is not going to win any awards for literature excellence, but not every book should be. It’s fun, funny, and extremely entertaining.
Rating: Must Buy (I can’t believe I forgot the rating)