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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 members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ian
  • Gosport
  • 16-09-15

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • al
  • 29-01-15

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.


10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Robyn
  • escaping to another world
  • 24-05-17

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great story with a great speaker

A friend sugested me this story a few months ago. I should follow his advice more often.
I greatly enjoyed the story and the speaker is very nice to listen to!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • Cumbernauld, United Kingdom
  • 19-09-15

ok

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

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Nerdtastic Adventure

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I loved the premise of this book and the humour was great. The only downside of this book for me is that I hoped for the story to be a little more epic and/or gritty but if you go into this book just expecting a fun time and some quirky characters, you'll have a lot of fun with it.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the idea behind the book and found the characters quirky and fun to read about. Luke Daniels has done an amazing job at bringing the characters and story to life.

What does Luke Daniels bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Luke Daniels surprised me. I'm new to listening to Audiobooks so I haven't got much to compare this narration to but having said that, I can't imagine there are many out there that can bring a story to life like he does. He does a really good job at giving each character a distinctive personality, or at least portraying their personalities.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were many fun times in the book that had me grinning from ear to ear but in all honesty, there was something missing in the emotional department, I think this is why I was hoping it would be a little more epic and gritty rather than a fun, light hearted adventure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kelly Pivik
  • 04-03-17

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!

106 of 110 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • The2ndhorseman
  • 10-10-16

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.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 16-04-15

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.

113 of 132 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-03-14

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".



97 of 118 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alexi Rain
  • 18-01-15

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!

36 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Joe Kraus
  • 26-09-16

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.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • T. Bryant
  • 30-07-17

Couldn't make it past 20%

The premise is excellent but the main character was enough of an unlikable idiot that I lost all interest in hearing how his story turned out.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rain
  • 03-07-17

Outstanding book with an exceptional performance

I don’t know why I picked up this book. I am a straight fantasy reader and this book has no real magic. Fortunately, I decided to check out the sample (for some reason I can’t fathom) and I could not put it down. This is now in my top favorite books of all time, and the only one without magic. I literally cannot believe how much I loved it.

The humor is fantastic, the writing is brilliant, and the story is captivating. I can’t say I didn’t spot the villain from a mile away, but reading it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Every single day, I looked forward to getting my work done because it meant I could read more of this awesome book.

There is nothing I didn’t like about it. I am a huge fan of the author. I look forward to reading everything else he has and ever puts out.

Now, a book and a narrator can be amazing on their own without fitting together. In this case, the narrator could not be better suited for the book. He understood and performed the humor and characters’ personalities perfectly. His voice and production quality were great, making it easy to listen to it for hours on end.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ted
  • 27-09-14

Meyer Can Tell A Story

I can imagine a dad reading this to his child, and enjoying it at least as much as the listener. Of course there are the required dense paragraphs of double-talking scientific gobbledygook that modern sic-fi authors need to numb the reader into suspending disbelief. And of course I don't pay attention to any of it. Why not just employ a shortcut like warp-drive oe whatever to move us into the plot? Hey, I paid for this thing to be amused, entertained, maybe even awed. Not distracted by a magician's trick.

Ah well, everyone's doing it today. In fact I even gave up Neal Stephenson who eventually gave up writing plot for just so much "look at how smart I am" blather. But Meyer gets over that stuff and tells a fun Harry-Potter kind of story.

I liked it. Definitely because of the great job that Luke Daniels did in reading to me.

30 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Laphunga
  • 27-08-18

Worth Every Penny.

It was free.

This book reads like it was written by a 12 year old. Maybe that's the target audience? Except they wouldn't get the retro pop culture references, which aren't that funny if you do get them.

The author clearly doesn't understand much about computers, probably just enough to be dangerous. I would not give him root access on any of my servers. The author doesn't understand actual computer nerds, and can't plot logical actions for them to take. He sets up rules and breaks them. His characters fail to take basic precautions or anticipate consequences, especially towards the end of the story. A group of supposedly intelligent people shouldn't be that stupid.

The book just comes across as pretty dumb. I'm glad that at least I wasn't subjected to the spelling errors, since I listened to the audio version. I did notice at least one grammatical error, which the reader just blithely breezed through without pause.

Otherwise, the reader isn't bad. His accents are ok, and he delivered the (bad) material well enough to get a laugh out of me a couple of times.

Overall though, it's a hard no. Just don't. This book is like a stray cat hanging out on your porch. It's kind of cute, but scraggly and disease-ridden. If you feed it, you'll just encourage it to stick around, which nobody wants.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful