Even when finding oneself engaged in interstellar war, good form must be observed. Our story is set thousands of years after the Terran Exodus, where two powerful, planet-dominating families - the elegant House Jakabitus and the less refined Hahn Empire - have reached a critical point in their generations-long war. Master Hennik, the Hahn ruler's only son, has been captured, and the disposition of his internment may represent a last and welcome chance for peace.
Enter Wollard, the impeccably distinguished and impossibly correct Master of Formalities for House Jakabitus. When he suggests that Master Hennik be taken in as a ward of the House, certain complications arise. Wollard believes utterly and devotedly in adhering to rules and good etiquette. But how does one inform the ruler of a planet that you are claiming his son as your own - and still create enough goodwill to deescalate an intergalactic war?
©2015 Scott Meyer (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved
This book has a lot more depth that the Magic 2.0 series. The characters and story of this book and The Authorities are much more entertaining and developed than those in the Magic 2.0 series (and they've had 3 books). This was great, get it.
Witty, smart, entertaining
ranks alongside the 'Off to be the wizard' trilogy.
Great narration by Luke Daniels, there were often times when you thought someone else was doing a new character voice.
Meyer certainly gets you to care for the characters and frustration builds as things don't start to go their way.
Picked this up after listening to the Off to Be A Wizard books. It wasn't as good of a story, but performed quite well (as you'd expect). The characters are pedantic and the struggles they face are boring. It's a cool world with microscopic robots that can do anything, two great houses at war for generations, servants in love. But what the author does (or rather, doesn't do) with his characters and the world he's created is disappointing.
"Meyer and Daniels do it again."
Master of Formalities is a lot different, but at the same time, very much the same as the Magic 2.0 series. It's different in that the plot is not at all like Meyer's previous books. However, the characters and Daniels performance of them are very reminiscent of them.
What Meyer's does best is create characters that are on the surface more like caricatures (in that they seem over the top) but as you get to know them they have a depth to them. There's a strange charm that he gives to even the villains of his novels. It's hard to describe, but I love it.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story, but who doesn't mind it getting a little silly. This is not hard core science fiction. It's very entertaining.
I am a huge fan of Scott's work. Magic 2.0 is a fantastic series and this completely new and unrelated story is really very entertaining.
There was a bit of a slow start that rapidly accelerated into a nuanced commentary on diplomacy, sports, politics, and war. It even touches on some one world government conspiracies. Bizarrely, it approaches these topics with absolute humor and levity. Not very sci-fi at all, aside from basic setting and plot devices.
One star removed for the slow start, but otherwise highly recommended.
"Slow start, strong finish"
It was a hard book for me to get into, but I'm glad I stuck with it. About half way through, I started to appreciate the brilliance and then ending was satisfying. Well done and enjoyable story.
"Ultra polite hilarity is considered good form!"
Scott Meyer’s sense of humor combined with Luke Daniel’s hilarious performance and interpretation of character voices inspired outright laughter.
This whole audio book amounts to a great comedy as one listens to the antics of a very stiff, duty bound and polite staff as they try to manage a daily routine that starts spiraling out of control when the royal family takes in Master Hennik, an unwilling and unpleasant political pawn turned royal family member.
The entire cast of characters interacting is so great that it is really hard to pick a favorite character. But Hennik is just so hilariously rotten and petty when he is trying to irritate Wollard and the rest of House Jakabitus that he has to be on the top of the list.
Every scene where Wollard is trying to calm down Queen Jakabitus after Hennik successfully embarrasses her is hilarious.
When Queen Jakabitus' son chooses to use Hennik's torments for self improvement and develope more of a backbone rather than letting everyone continue to take advantage of his quiet and reserved nature.
Listen to this book. It's hilarious, clean, laugh out loud fun.
"Tale of an absurd political system, set in space"
Scott Meyer is a talented story crafter. I think his Magic 2.0 series is brilliant, and I've gone back and listened to those a 2nd time. This book is clever, and on the whole it is enjoyable, but it does start slow and has moments where I feel no sentient creature would do such things, formalities or no. (There's really not a lot of action in this book--it's more of a story of dysfunctional politics.) I did make it through the entire book and was relieved to find I felt satisfied--there were moments when I thought that might not happen. So, yeah, it's good.
Luke Daniels is a brilliant audiobook performer. I've loved every minute of the Magic 2.0 series and Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series. (That's off the top of my head..I'm sure there are others.) I think his performance on this book brings the experience up a whole star.
I would eagerly try more from Scott Meyer, though Master of Formalities isn't my favorite book by him.
Is it too much of a spoiler to say "the twist near the end"? I mean, shouldn't most stories these days have some twist?
"Scott Meyer and Luke Daniels"
what a combo. don't look just buy. light comedic entertainment with quotes of gold. -
"Looking forward to the sequel"
This new Scott Meyer book takes place in the interesting context of a very formalistic future. The story involved a fair bit of set-up, as I imagine it is intended to be the first in a series. This set-up made the the story initially feel a bit slow and left me wondering where it was heading. But the action and the pace picked up in the second half, the pieces fell into place and, in the end, I found the book very satisfying.
I really appreciate Scott Meyer's writing style. He produces genuinely funny and cleverly written stories. He never gets pretentious or pedantic. He impresses with his skill and with subtlety, and not through the (over)use of a thesaurus or clever references to obscure tidbits of knowledge. I look forward to the next instalment in this new series.
Luke Daniels is a great narrator and, for me, the voice of Scott Meyer.
Highly recommended, especially to other Scott Meyer fans.
I simply adore the Meyer's Wizard series, and really enjoyed the Authorities. I found this book to be way too clever for it's own good, to the point where it was flat out confusing. The whole story setup was just too odd. I really enjoy Meyer's wit, but there was a line that got crossed where things stopped being witty, and just became absurd for me. It's at the point where I'm doubting I'll even finish the book. Seriously, I stopped listening to this at some point, and listened to the Wizard series again.
"First 15 chapters are reeeeeally slow"
I never read the print version, but the audio version is excellent. The accents really brings out the characters in the story.
Master Henick is hilarious!
Just endure the first few chapters. The story gets better, trust me.
"Political formality has never been so boring"
The plot follows painfully illogical and unlikely plot driving points only to set the scene for aha moments similar to what M. Night Shyamalan is known for.
This book would not be recommended as the main theme of the book centers around "Sports" which is idiotic and war which set up a interesting use of cloning but does not capitalize on it. So little happens in the book yet it all is done through monotonous chartering and some "Sports".
If I wanted to sleep at the movies with a background of people only talking all the time then that is a movie I would go see.
If you liked Off to be the Wizard you will like this. It's not quite as funny but it's a great read.
Like Daniels performance was great as always.
Fantastic Hitchhikers guide humour. Brilliantly performance with colourful characters and an interesting back story. I will be listening to this one again.
"enthralling performance, excellent read"
like all Scott Meyer titles, if you see the twist coming you're not looking hard enough.
Since "Off to be a Wizard", I started listening to audiobooks from Scott Meyer and I just find his sotries great! Simple, but with unexpected twists, no extreme violence, happy endings (so far, I do hope that continues!) and easy listening. I relax and laugh with his books and for me it's the perfect companion for power walks in the morning!
"Odd pronunciation slightly spoils a great story"
It's interesting that Luke Daniels is an audiobook narrator. I find his way of reading somewhat offputting and distracting. Some words he outright mispronounces (shone like "shown" rather than "on" - maybe that's an American accent thing, however; I'm British) but the most distracting is that sentences like '"Alright," he grunted.' are read as if two distinct sentences: '"Alright." He grunted.' as if the character said "alright" and then followed that with a grunt. Maybe I'm reading too much into this but it was certainly distracting to me.
On the plus side, the characters' voices (and accents) are pretty consistent and distinct (or similar where appropriate).
I quite enjoyed the story. It's a bit of a slow starter, but I did get into it and found it enjoyable. I won't spoil the story but I must admit I saw a different outcome coming towards the end. Still, the one I got was also fun and interesting.
Not as great as the Magic 2.0 series but a fun story which I enjoyed throughout.
Scott Meyer knocks it out the park with a sci-fi take on his wonderful dry and awk
"Loved this tale and outstanding narration"
One of my favourite of Scott's books so far. Well developed characters, good story (if not a tad predictable at the very end) and excellently narrated. If you liked the Magic 2.0 series or The Authorities then you'll definitely enjoy this.
"Entertaining, but the magic 2.0 books were better."
The narration was generally very good with a few jarring miss pronunciations.
I would recommend this book, it has some clever ideas and fun characters. If I could, i would give it more than four stars but slightly less than 5 stars.
"Abit hard work but okay"
I didn't enjoy this book as much as Scott Meyer's other books, but the story was written well, I just lost track of people in the story because of their names
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