Author: Sorin Suciu
Length: Roughly 372 pages
The Scriptlings is a tongue-in-cheek contemporary fantasy aimed at geeks and mortals alike. It has been best described as the unlikely, yet strangely charismatic lovechild you would expect if Magic and Science were to have one too many drinks during a stand-up comedy show in Vegas.
Alternate blurb which the author prefers:
“Every computer geek has dreamed about becoming a wizard, but in The Scriptlings wizards are computer geeks.” – written by Garrett Robinson.
This light contemporary fantasy pulls together a number of different subplots and points of view to produce an entertaining and well-written story. The characters are plays on very familiar ideas and tropes with their own twists and intricacies to make them interesting and individual personalities. There are a few little things thrown in to make it entirely its own story, and it’s all wrapped up with a well-paced plot. Altogether, it’s a very enjoyable read and a pleasant break from the more serious fantasies.
There’s no doubting that this isn’t a serious fantasy and shouldn’t at any point be taken as one. The fact that the magician’s names are obscene and literal toilet humour is the first big clue there. That being said, this is well constructed and uses familiar character types to put together a good story in and of itself.
Readers will find the manipulative ‘vampire princess’, the computer geek, the hunky bad guy, and the crazy old man who isn’t entirely in touch with reality within the pages of this book. Each of them are familiar tropes, but they all have individual personalities with backstories and believable thought processes, aims, and goals. The view point changes between them (and a couple of other interesting characters) to weave a narrative which contains humour, romance, intrigue, and the potential for the end of the world. Each viewpoint stands alone, and while it may sound confusing, it works very well to flesh out the story as a whole and pull the reader in.
There are some characters that are interesting takes on the norm which add a little something extra to the entire story. They add to the humour, but also grant another layer of narrative and character development. All in all, the characters were very well done and formed a cohesive and amusing cast.
Given this story is about magicians, there needs to be a note about the magic system. The entire system is based on computer code, which adds interesting quirks and little technology- and ‘geek’-themed humour. This means that it’s very modern. It brings magic into the modern day and means it appeals to a wide range of people. Magicians are no longer crotchety old men who’re bent over fading tomes while they try to hide arcane knowledge. Instead, they’re conniving, strategic, and experimental as they weave together technology with ancient workings and familiar needs and desires. That, then, relates into the main conflict and gives the reader something to consider.
The pacing is exactly as it needs to be, with no superfluous description, exposition, or dry spots. It moves along quickly without leaving out anything that the reader may need at a later point. The story moves through different time periods with a secondary story woven into the main narrative. That isn’t necessarily an easy thing to pull off, but the author slots them together to produce a well-timed, smooth story which slips into a fulfilling ending. No threads are left dangling, and the characters complete their arcs in a satisfactory way.
This book will appeal to anyone who wants something light, entertaining, and humorous. The humour isn’t the entire focus of the book, but the tone is consistent and sure to bring a smile to the reader’s face on a regular basis. The author succeeds in balancing the act of putting the characters in grave peril and risking the entire world as they know it while maintaining the humour and levity. This is something for those times when you need a break from the real world, some amusing escapism without slipping into anything absurd. It’s great for all lovers of fantasy, geeks, nerds, and those who just want a bit of a giggle.
You can watch Garrett Robinson’s 5 Minute Books review of this here.
A gamer by vocation and an office dweller by dint of circumstance, Sorin lives in the beautiful city of Vancouver with his wonderful wife and their vicious parrot.Born in Romania, Sorin has stubbornly resisted the temptation to learn English for well over twenty years. When he finally gave in, it was not work and nor was it video games that weakened his resolve, but rather the mindboggling discovery of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and Monty Python. With such teachers, it is no wonder that, much in the same way some lucky people learn to ride before they walk, Sorin has learned to be funny before being fluent (even if he says so himself).