Last year I read the first book in the Magic 2.0 series, Off to be the Wizard and I loved it. It was clever, funny, snarky, full of nerdy, geeky jokes and references, and time travellers being confused by other time travellers. It was a lot of fun and even though I never got around to writing a CBR6 review for it, I remember recommending it to some people.
With good memories of the previous book, I picked this one up and saved it for the start of 2015 so I’d have it ready for the review. I figured it was a light book, an easy read, and I could possibly start the Cannonball off with a bang (no pun intended (ok, maybe a little)) by getting a book read in one day.
It’s January 4th. I think you can tell that that didn’t go according to plan. I liked this book. I really did. I think Scott Meyer is a good writer with a nice feel for dialog and comedy, but I think this particular book could have used an editor. Or a beta reader, really. At the start of the book it’s set up that Martin (the hero of the first book) is a wizard and has taken on an apprentice of his own (a newly-arrived time traveller and really, it’s hard to explain it all without spoiling the first book completely). But then, before Martin can start teaching the new guy, he’s whisked off to the city of Atlantis with his former teacher/best friend to act as representatives of their community of “wizards” to discuss ways to prevent abuse of the system that allows “magic” and time travel.
Once we’re in Atlantis there are multiple subplots: two romances, one series of attempted murder, snarking among the groups of wizards, weird gender role discussions, and time travel paradoxes. There’s also a lot of time spent describing in great detail things that have already been described in great detail (seriously, once we’re told how Atlantis and all the objects in it were created, we don’t need our main characters to continue marveling at it every 5 pages).
Through all this, there’s a very strange third plot about the villain of the first book attempting to regain his ability to time travel. It’s long and feels like unnecessary padding and while it is ultimately important to the very end of the book, the payoff isn’t really satisfying. This section is where some of the best comedy happens, though some of it is repetitive.
I think what would have really worked best for this one is if it were three separate, tight, short stories: Here’s Martin fumbling his way through teaching (which never happens in this book because Martin has to go to Atlantis, so someone else trains the new guy), here’s Atlantis with its murder attempts and romances and time travel paradoxes, and here’s the tension-building return of the villain (I really feel like the ending would have been a hugely funny event and not the anticlimax it turned out to be if this story had been allowed to run uninterrupted).
To sum up: Liked it. I recommend it if you’ve already read the first book. If you haven’t read the first book, read that one and then decide if you want to give this one a go.