Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0, #2)

Write on: Thu, 03 Aug 2017 by  in Archive Read 4001

3.5/5 stars. 

Spell or High Water is a good follow-up to Off to Be the Wizard.  Admittedly, a bit of the novelty factor from the first book did start to wear off and I find this volume to be weaker but the narrative retained its enjoyable comedic tone.

Martin and Philip were invited by Gwen to Atlantis, a safe haven for all female sorceresses from a society which is far from friendly to those whom they deem as witches, where a grand summit to gather all the leaders of all known wizard colonies in the world will be held.  In the meantime, Jimmy was masterminding his way of getting back in time through the two federal agents who were looking for Martin back in the 21st century.  

Firstly, I will have to stress that this story is best enjoyed via audiobook.  The narrator truly brought out the best of what the author had to offer.  In the few times when I was just reading it off the pages, I found that while it was still funny it was nothing compared to listening to Luke Daniels acting out each character to perfection.  Sure, some the voices sounded a bit exaggerated but in the spirit of the comedic turn of this story, it is appropriate.  

The good cop, bad cop representation of the two (unluckiest) federal agents was corny and clichéd but I had to admit I really had a good laugh over it. Like I’ve said in my review for the first book, you should not take this too seriously.

Miller and Murphy employed an exaggerated version of the old good cop/bad cop routine that Jimmy liked to call “violently unstable rage-aholic cop/ friendly, talkative youth pastor cop.”

Meanwhile, in Atlantis, Martin and Philip met the Britts, and got entangled in a web of murder and intrigue.  The plot around the Britts was at times long-winded and thoroughly confusing as their very co-existence created a time-travel conundrum that resulted in regular alliteration of its theoretical possibility.  And of course, while all that is happening, Martin was still trying to win the girl.

The worldbuilding element of Atlantis was pretty darn cool.  That it was all created by a woman kind of makes sense from an aesthetic point of view. However, a society that was solely ruled by women did result in certain aspects which were not exactly tasteful in my opinion.  While some readers might feel offended by how such a female-dominated society is portrayed, I took it in stride as a form of parody given the deliberate comical narrative of the story. 

Seriously, or perhaps not so seriously, some of the action scenes could belong in a campy slapstick comedy.

He saw the fearsome creatures, the wall of flame, the large audience, and the international task force of wizards, all clearly ready for action, standing in what he had to admit were mostly bad imitations of kung-fu poses. 

Although the writing is easy and direct, the author has a way of playing with and putting together iterations in a whimsical fashion that fits the narrative.

He was half of a two-man task force, assigned to investigate and possibly solve a series of possibly connected impossible occurrences that were possibly crimes.

While this was not as good as the first, partly due to some long-winded sections and partly due to the ‘villains’ who annoyed me, I still find it enjoyable enough to want to continue with the next books in the series.  It’s rare to find smart comedy like this and one with an amazing narrator as well.  Last but not least, I love the whimsical 8-bit graphics covers



A self-professed geek and proud of it, I started reading at a tender age and never really stopped until work got in the way for several years.  I regained my voracious appetite for books a few years back and then started to enjoy writing down my thoughts.  I am more of an emotional/instinctual rather than a critical reader. 

Aside from reading, I enjoy outdoor sports (running, hiking, cycling, an occasional frisbee game), photography and travelling.