• Off to Be the Wizard

  • Magic 2.0, Book 1
  • By: Scott Meyer
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (30,815 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.

What listeners say about Off to Be the Wizard

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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!

196 people found this helpful

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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

170 people found this 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.

148 people found this helpful

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Bad fan fiction, entertainingly read

I came into this book with high hopes - it had been compared to Ready Player One, which was a really fun young adult style wish-fulfillment romp for grown up geeks. I understand the comparison, since this is also a wish-fulfillment romp for grown up geeks, but, man, is this book bad.

It is badly written, and not just in a first novel kind of way. It is full of awkward phrases and mediocre descriptions, sure, but the problem goes deeper. The novel is set in Medieval England, but there is no attempt to actually engage with the setting which is barely described, and everyone acts (and talks) like 21st century stock characters.

It is badly plotted. Very little happens overall, and much of it makes little sense. This would be okay if the author wasn't trying to justify consistent rules for the universe he creates, but Meyer spends a lot of time setting up the world and magic system, making all of the glaring logic problems hard to ignore. Further, much of the joy of a time travel novel is seeing the interaction between the time traveler and the setting, but the main character is entirely incurious and Meyer uses the excuse of an "alternate timeline" to avoid any consequences of their actions.

That leaves us with the humor, which many people seem to like. I am a fan of geek reference humor (see: Scalzi, Stross, Ready Player One, etc) but this generally fell flat, though there were some cute moments. More troubling is the fan-fiction feel to the whole novel, where all the main characters are all-powerful computer geeks in a world full of dumb brawny people. And, of course, there are no women in the novel for reasons that are, ultimately, both stupid and insulting. At least the reader does a game job, providing excellent, completely over-the-top voices to accompany the story.

The reviews of the book repeatedly mention that it is good value for money, since it is a cheap self-published novel. It may be worth the money per page, but it isn't worth 10 hours of your time. There are many better books out there to scratch your geek wish fulfillment fantasy.

140 people found this helpful

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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".



113 people found this helpful

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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!

49 people found this helpful

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Young (white male geek) adult fiction

Any additional comments?

I would have enjoyed this book quite a bit when I was a pre-teen/teenage geek. If you are one now, then feel free to stop reading this review and go ahead and read & enjoy this series as light fiction. But as an adult I found the main character (and other characters), setting, and plot all disappointing. Has such a limited view of people, society, etc. that it is almost offensive in how insular and unaware it is (and yes, I am a white male geek!). As humorous SF/Fantasy it is supposed to be light, but falls short and just feels flat and contrived. My memory tells me that even Piers Anthony was better, and certainly this book is not even a pale echo of humor/parody as written by Terry Pratchett, John Scalzi, Connie Willis, Douglas Adams, Steven Brust, etc. Read those authors first, then don't come back to this book. (As for the narration -- it was good; light in tone befitting the materials. I would listen to other books read by Luke Daniels).

49 people found this helpful

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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.

47 people found this helpful

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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.

43 people found this 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.

42 people found this 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.

31 people found this helpful

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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 people found this 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.

10 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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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!

7 people found this helpful

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    4 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.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachel
  • 12-09-15

Rules of Wizarding.

If you could sum up Off to Be the Wizard in three words, what would they be?

Whacky, Fun, Lighthearted.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Off to Be the Wizard?

Martian passing off clingfilm as magic.

Which character – as performed by Luke Daniels – was your favourite?

Phillip, he just injects the character with so much personality.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Do not make the obvious joke.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ryan Morrison
  • 07-25-15

The start of a brilliantly funny series

If you could sum up Off to Be the Wizard in three words, what would they be?

Funny, engaging characters

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The geeks will inherit the earth

Any additional comments?

The reading of this well written, funny and engaging book with strong characters is brilliant. In what is fairly rare, the narrater is an American who can do a good range of British accents. In fact the voice range is as good as the story itself.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 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.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • 09-19-15

ok

easy listening not much thought required good but not if your looking for high fantasy.

5 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anna Simaki
  • 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.

3 people found this 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

3 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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    3 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 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matt
  • 09-09-15

Harry Potter meets The Matrix

This was a fantastic book full of nerdy tech references and all the good parts of the fantasy genre. It was performed very well, with the use of some great voices for each character. Overall, it was enjoyable and I plan on continuing with the rest of the series!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • geebrkez
  • 04-08-22

Good story, a few bugs

The audio of some of the characters voices was too quiet
why don’t the wizards all have private instance’s of the shell program