Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer
After being on a bit of a horror and dark fantasy diet, I decided I needed something lighter, a palate cleanser if you will. Off to Be the Wizard (2014) by Scott Meyer kept showing up in my recommendations for a light and humorous fantasy. As it turned out, Off to be the Wizard was exactly what I was looking for.
The story follows Martin Banks who is a data entry clerk for a large company. In his spare time he browses the massive databases of these corporations hoping to find something interesting. He stumbles upon a file that, when edited, alters reality. He finds his own personal entry in the file and begins to change his life.
It should be noted that Martin is kind of an idiot. He rarely thinks things through, and it lands him in trouble. He eventually finds himself in medieval Englund pretending to be a wizard. Will he figure out how to safely get home? Will he figure out who the mysterious Merlin the Wizard is? Do they have anything to eat other than stew in medieval Englund? All these questions and more are answered in Scott Meyers’ rather chunky 277-page book.
Meyer has a humoristic style that pays homage to the likes of Pratchett or Adams. The plot is silly, the humor is in the forefront, and the story contains all the pop culture references one can handle. Off to be the Wizard is a thoroughly delightful book as long as you don’t take it too seriously.
It’s hard for me to come up with many downsides to Off to be the Wizard. It delivers lighthearted fun, which is exactly what it promised to do. I did struggle to like Martin Banks at first, but he grew on me. For a while I was having some doubts about whether I could stick with such an unlikable doofus, but his character growth is pretty satisfying.
Off to be the Wizard is available in multiple formats. It even has a digital version with some animations included. I listened to this primarily on audiobook published by Brilliance Audio. It is read by veteran voice actor Luke Daniels. Luke puts everything into whatever he does, and his performance in this novel greatly enhanced the experience for me.
I highly recommend giving Off to be the Wizard a try if you are looking for something on the lighter or silly side of fantasy. As a computer and fantasy nerd myself, this book really hit the mark for what I needed. I’ve already started Spell or High Water, the second in the six-book MAGIC 2.0 series. It’s nice to know I have these books to turn to whenever I need something just a bit different than my usual fare.