This is my goodreads.com review of the third "Magic 2.0" novel from the series by Scott Meyer (best known for his webcomic "Basic Instructions"). If you haven't read the series, I highly recommend that you do so, starting with the excellent "Off to be the Wizard." The books are extremely clever science-fiction comedy in the vein of Douglas Adams, and should be read by everyone.
An Unwelcome Quest by Scott Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The first two novels in the Magic 2.0 series were fantastic, and while I feel that "An Unwelcome Quest" did not quite measure up to the first two books, it was still an excellent read. Meyer is writing some of the cleverest, most underappreciated stuff currently in print (certainly the best current works in the niche genre of Sci-fi Comedy) and he continues to deftly build his world and characters in creative and entertaining ways. It was extremely rewarding to have a whole novels' worth of the Phillip/Jimmy dynamic that we've only gotten tantalizing glimpses of in the past, and the characters of Tyler, Gary and Roy are far more compelling now that I've gone on this journey with them. Todd was an entertaining villain, though I had a somewhat hard time adjusting from "surly teenager" Todd (that we saw in Spell or High Water and the prologue) to the "surly adult" Todd that tormented the wizards through the story. That said, Todd's interactions with Tyler were some of the best moments of the novel, and I was definitely fully on-board with adult Todd by the end.
Now for some of the issues I had: I really missed the Martin/Phillip interactions that I've grown to love over the course of the series. Splitting the characters into two groups did let us see some fun character interactions that we might not have been able to see otherwise, but I always felt that Martin/Phillip interactions were the highlights of the series, and I feel like this book suffers somewhat from their separation. I also felt like having the second group follow more-or-less in the footsteps of the first group made their journey feel a little tedious. I felt that reading the descriptions of places we've already seen and the dialog of NPCs we've already met made their story drag a bit. Finally, I was disappointed by the lack of Murphy and Miller. They were some of my favorite characters in the series, and they were sorely missed in this volume.
I really liked the ending of this book. Jimmy has become one of my favorite characters, and I especially loved the conclusion to his part of the story. I enjoyed the book overall, and I really hope that we will see more in the series.
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