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By Nothing really matters on 07-21-16
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.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
By Joshua Kring on 08-04-15
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.
60 of 64 people found this review helpful
By The Super-duper Amazing Silver Golem on 03-06-16
Ultra polite hilarity is considered good form!
What made the experience of listening to Master of Formalities the most enjoyable?
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.
Who was your favorite character and why?
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.
Which scene was your favorite?
Every scene where Wollard is trying to calm down Queen Jakabitus after Hennik successfully embarrasses her is hilarious.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
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.
Any additional comments?
Listen to this book. It's hilarious, clean, laugh out loud fun.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Jim Whitfield on 03-02-16
Tale of an absurd political system, set in space
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
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.
Would you be willing to try another book from Scott Meyer? Why or why not?
I would eagerly try more from Scott Meyer, though Master of Formalities isn't my favorite book by him.
Which scene was your favorite?
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?
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Dubi on 09-14-16
Downton Abbey in Outer Space
Scott Meyer's novels have been getting incrementally better with each offering. In his first departure from his Magic 2.0 series, he hits a home run. At least with me he does -- looking at other reviews, Master of Formalities is firmly in love-it or hate-it land.
Three elements made it work for me. Most important is humor. When an audiobook makes me laugh out loud in the street, I'm going to like it. Especially funny is Hennik, son of the Hahn emperor, captured by rival House Jakabitus and adopted rather than executed or imprisoned. Being from a culture where the highest art is annoying those around you to the extreme, Hennik's antics prove to be downright hilarious.
Master of voices Luke Daniels, who can sometimes choose vocalizations as annoying as the best Hahn (cf. Philip from Magic 2.0, whose voice is reprised here for Lord Jakabitus, though he doesn't have enough lines to be a problem), has chosen a perfect accent for Hennik (and for his even more annoying father, when he appears on the scene). Meyer has written some riotous scenes for Hennik, and Daniels improves on them with a well-chosen and well-executed voice.
But humor alone is not enough. This book is cleverly plotted, as various factions try to either resolve or exacerbate the war between the Jakabitus planet and the Hahn home world and characters act out several subplots. And it makes some good points about larger issues -- political correctness, soldiers coming home from war, building character through adversity, and sports, to name a few -- without ever losing sight of its prime directive -- laughs.
Best of all, despite being superficially science fiction -- set in the far future on distant planets with speculative technologies -- this is really Downton Abbey in outer space. There are the erudite members of the ruling family and their servants. The title character, the master of formalities, is exactly like the head butler. There is the cook, her none too bright assistant, the head maid, all the different servers -- and the rules and manners are all very much like those of a Victorian noble house.
Being a fan of the PBS series, and a growing fan of Meyer (who is operating in Scalzi territory), I really like this one. The story is completely resolved, but the very funny last line clearly sets up potential future entries in what may prove to be another series.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful