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Master of Formalities

  • Au­thor: Scott Mey­er
  • Rat­ing:
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    So, I liked it. That should be clear by the five star rat­ing. So, I'll try to ex­­plain why.

    The au­thor de­scribed it as a cross be­tween Dune and Down­­ton Abbey. I had not heard that and then de­scribed it in the ex­act same way on twit­ter.

    So: ser­­vants of the pow­er­­ful wit­­ness and ma­nip­u­late the events. I will nev­er be able to read Dune again with­­out imag­in­ing Duke Leto "en­­cour­ag­ing" Paul while he faces the pain box:

    "Fear is the lit­­tle death, Paul. Have no fear. No, not like that, NO FEAR I SAID. Is it too hard
    what I am ask­ing of you? NO FEAR. Does­n't get any sim­­pler than that. Fear? Stop hav­ing it!"

    I was al­ready a fan of the au­thor's "Mag­ic 2.0" se­ries. This is not the same kind of book. Mag­ic 2.0 is about ado­les­­cent char­ac­ters grant­ed seem­ing­­ly un­lim­it­ed pow­er, while this is de­f­i­nite­­ly a book about grownup­s.

    For ex­am­­ple, at one point you will con­sid­er Lord Jak­abi­­tus a buf­­foon. And then you will see, through an­oth­er char­ac­ter's eye­­s, why he's not. And then he will rub it on your face. There is a lot of rub­bing of things in peo­­ple's faces, and peo­­ple's faces on things in this book.

    It's fun­ny. Not jokey, but re­al­­ly fun­ny, not fun­ny like a clown, fun­ny like that fun­ny un­­cle that made faces in for­­mal din­n­ers (no, I did not have that un­­cle, but I hope you have one!).

    All char­ac­ters are com­pe­ten­t. All char­ac­ters have goal­s. All char­ac­ters have iden­ti­ties and act to fur­ther their goals com­pe­­ten­t­­ly in the way their per­­son­al­i­ties would al­low them. The ac­­tion makes (most­­ly) sense, ex­­cept where it does­n't mat­ter.

    And it has awe­­some high­­-­­con­­cept gags, like:

    * The mind-read­­ing me­chan­i­­cal chair.
    * Hahn cui­­sine
    * Capozzian cui­­sine

    I can't rec­om­­mend this book strong­­ly enough, ex­­cept that:

    1) Lots of peo­­ple will re­al­­ly, re­al­­ly, re­al­­ly hate it.
    2) I hope those who read it be­­cause I rec­om­­mend it don't hate me be­­cause of it.