An underwater city filled with all the witches/nerds of the female persuasion, and a crystalline utopia of incredible beauty, and some intimidatingly hot servants. Spell or High Water is the second installment of the Magic 2.0 series by Scott Meyer and a rollicking good time.
Our tale follows the comedic talents of Martin and Phillip following their friend Gwen to the city built by all the female programmers in possession of magical powers. Upon arriving they find a set of a confusing world of statuesque male servants, an apparent democracy, and two people who are in fact one person but several hundred years apart in age…yeah that bits a bit confusing.
“Reality is inelegant,” Phillip huffed.
“No,” Martin said definitively. “Reality is stunningly elegant. Our understanding of it is not.”
So while Off to be a Wizard was a tale of training, ineptitude, and fighting off a great evil, Spell of High Water is more of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. It hits all the beats expected of the genre, parodying the more ridiculous of them as expected by this series. Breaking with the established theme however, is that programming and computer jargon takes a back seat in this edition. Sure, you can explain this as the first entry parodying geek and programming culture, while this entry parodies Utopian societies and murder mystery stories, but as the major selling point of the first book was its appeal to the niche programming audience it’s a risky proposition.
In terms of recommending this book, it really does depend on how much you enjoyed the characters of the previous novel. If you loved the theme more, then perhaps give it a pass. Should you love the characters, then you have to read this. You get more of the same with some, and others get fleshed out to a considerable degree. So, if you’re in it for the programming give it a miss, if you’re in it for the story then go forth and conquer…um I mean read.
“Sadly, I find that stubbornness often beats intelligence eventually. Stubbornness will beat anything eventually. That’s the whole point of stubbornness.”
Amazon Link: Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0)