Book Review – Spell or High Water by Scott Meyer

Spell or High Water by Scott Meyer

Spell or High Water by Scott Meyer

The blurb interests:

The adventures of an American hacker in Medieval England continue as Martin Banks takes his next step on the journey toward mastering his reality-altering powers and fulfilling his destiny.

A month has passed since Martin helped to defeat the evil programmer Jimmy, and things couldn’t be going better. Except for his love life, that is. Feeling distant and lost, Gwen has journeyed to Atlantis, a tolerant and benevolent kingdom governed by the Sorceresses, and a place known to be a safe haven to all female time-travelers.

Thankfully, Martin and Philip are invited to a summit in Atlantis for all of the leaders of the time-traveler colonies, and now Martin thinks this will be a chance to try again with Gwen. Of course, this is Martin Banks we’re talking about, so murder, mystery, and high intrigue all get in the way of a guy who just wants one more shot to get the girl.

The follow-up to the hilarious Off to Be the Wizard, Scott Meyer’s Spell or High Water proves that no matter what powers you have over time and space, you can’t control rotten luck.

I liked the first book, but there was some obvious self-publishing and first-book amateurishness.  It was hard to distinguish a lot of the characters because they’re just men referred to by first name and hardly described at all after the initial introduction.

The second book has all the strengths of the first book, a lot fewer of the weaknesses and a bunch of new tricks up its sleeve.  The biggest (and most impressive) new trick is that the author did a lot with the narrative structure in this book, messing with the reader’s impression of the plot simply by the arrangement of the chapters.

As in the first book there are some standard sci-fi tropes like time loops, but they’re handled in a smart way so they don’t feel worn out.

The humor is also improved somewhat since the first book – at some points I was actually (quietly) laughing out loud.