Title: Off To Be The Wizard (Magic 2.0, #1)
Author: Scott Meyer
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Synopsis (from Amazon):
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.
Why I Think Boys May Enjoy This
This book is such a fun hybrid of science fiction and fantasy, it’s hard to decide which it is *more* of. If I had to pick, I’d say it’s science fiction but that this particular application of the story takes place in a fantasy setting. It’s just as likely Martin could have used the computer file to go to a futuristic space opera type of adventure instead, but he played it safe and ended up in medieval England (humorously enough, this was less his own choice than he thought as he was manipulated in a way to end up there — and he wasn’t alone in that).
The core concept of this story is very unique and anyone who identifies as a nerd or geek will likely enjoy it. The characters are not all that complex and don’t really develop that much beyond their initial stereotypes (an 80’s guy, a British guy, etc.) but the point of this story is less the plot and more the humor. That isn’t to say the story itself isn’t enjoyable. There’s a plot. There’s a bad guy. There are twists and turns. Most of them are derivative from a storytelling standpoint but the humor carries the book past that. The medieval England we see is a parodic version, not an attempt at a serious epic fantasy world, which is why I consider the book SciFi-Fantasy and not really fantasy.
The characters in the book are adults and act like adults (albeit very immature ones) so that’s an important note. I still think this book is more than appropriate for 12-13+ readers. There is no real violence because everything is done in a magical setting where the main characters are actually impervious to damage (not pain, though) because of their ability to manipulate the computer file that controls the universe. There are plenty of sexual innuendo jokes (much like one would hear among a group of pubescent teens but nothing too overtly sexual.
Aside from some minor language, there really isn’t any major problem there either. Ultimately, the content inappropriateness level never really rises above some sophomoric euphemisms and giggling computer nerds. Whether the characters are 20-30+ years old or 15 is kind of irrelevant in the story Meyer created. This, in my opinion, is a good thing and opens up the stories to a younger (albeit still mature-ish) audience.