Thoughts on Pages #16: Off to Be the Wizard

Friday, April 24, 2015

(photo credit: Amazon)

Last summer, I discovered a little fantasy called Ready Player One. It became one of my all-time favorite books, let alone one of my favorite novels I read last year. Since then, I've been trying to find a book with a similar feel, but to no avail...

...until now.


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.

(Synopsis from Amazon)


Martin is fabulous as a main character. This is actually an adult fantasy novel, so he's 23 years old - actually older than the protagonist in Ready Player One.

Martin has a good head on his shoulders, and he's an absolute joy to read. His reactions to things around him are especially realistic, even when everything around him gets really, really crazy.

The supporting cast is also phenomenal (Phillip and Gwen are my favorites!). The villain is also awesome (I won't give him away in this review, but he's simultaneously hilarious and ruthless, and it works for this universe, and you definitely root for the good guys to win).

Across the board, everybody's well-written and also relatable, something you don't often see (but always welcome) in stories like this.


The story is predominantly about technology, but it's also about time travel, and it's done exceptionally well.

The setting jumps from Seattle to Europe in a hurry, but it's Europe high-fantasy style, almost to a cartoony extent. And I love it. The way the landmarks are described are just as delightful as the dialog and narrative itself.

My Thoughts

Basically, this book is Ready Player One meets Monty Python meets The Princess Bride. And it's absolutely brilliant.

I haven't laughed so hard at a book in a long time. It's a comedic romp through a stylized medieval fantasyland, and I absolutely loved the protagonist and how he reacted to it all. The comedy gets a bit juvenile in places, but there was no language (which is awesome for a book like this), so the fact that the book was clean more than made up for that.

The only time I actually had doubts about it was when there was a question on theology - as in, "oh, are we just one big computer program? Did God create the program?" etc. - that felt unnecessary, but I'm nitpicking here. This was such a fun read, and I'm so glad I picked this one up.

I give Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer five Commodore 64 computers out of five. I picked up the sequels, so I'll definitely be seeing what Martin Banks is up to in the whole series.

So that was my review of Off to Be the Wizard! Have y'all heard of this series?

Also, if you have any book recommendations for me/want to see what I like and want to read next, check out my Goodreads page!

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