Battle of the Linguist Mages is a mad bastard of a book, and that is high praise. On the one hand, it’s a pretty familiar story (young woman learns that magic in a video game has real power) with familiar elements of course there are nefarious forces arrayed to exploit them AND her)… but they are arrayed and deployed in such wonderfully odd and balls to the wall weird ways that I was delighted. Oh and then there’s the fact that my analytical ass was caught flat footed by plot developments that I never quite saw coming. “Oh of course X and then Y and then Z… wait, we skipped Y? Well [bleep!], then Z and we all know that A is going to… HUH!?!?!”
So our heroine, Isobelle, is the Queen of Sparkle Dungeon, a VR MMORPG that can only describe as “What if World of Warcraft was created by ravers?” All glitter, DJs, rainbows and fluorescent outfits. It’s nuts and it makes sense and I kind of want to play it now. The game involves spell-casting (“diva-casting”) using spoken phrase of phonemes to create magic… and that’s where the plot drops in. And nefarious plots and rebels and, like I said, I was kept guessing in the _best_ way possible. If you’re up for some cyberspace shenanigans with a nod to Snow Crash and a huge heaping helping of “Party Monster,” I highly recommend it.
–Chris Blakeley, Seattle, WA
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