Saturday 2 October 2021

Book Review: Battle of the Linguist Mages by Scotto Moore (Fantasy/Sci-Fi)

Title: Battle of the Linguist Mages
Author: Scotto Moore
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: 11 January 2022
Pages: 448
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Isobel is the Queen of the medieval rave-themed VR game Sparkle Dungeon. Her prowess in the game makes her an ideal candidate to learn the secrets of "power morphemes"—unnaturally dense units of meaning that warp perception when skilfully pronounced.

But Isobel’s reputation makes her the target of a strange resistance movement led by spellcasting anarchists, who may be the only thing stopping the cabal from toppling California over the edge of a terrible transformation, with forty million lives at stake.

Time is short for Isobel to level up and choose a side—because the cabal has attracted much bigger and weirder enemies than the anarchist resistance, emerging from dark and vicious dimensions of reality and heading straight for planet Earth!


Battle of the Linguist Mages was certainly a different style of book, and there were things I liked about it and things I wasn't so keen on. Let's start with the positives. On the plus side, I loved the idea behind the piece and the way language and linguistics were woven into the story. The book also had a cult vibe about it that will appeal to all the gamers and general pop-culture fans out there. Isobel is perhaps not a 'likeable' heroine, but she is definitely snarky and memorable. The story opened strongly and immediately caught my interest; however, it started to lose me a little towards the end, which leads us to the negatives. The two principal difficulties I had with the book were: 1) the logic behind the "power morphemes"  was sometimes a bit tangled, requiring a lot of face-value acceptance of how it all worked; and 2) I felt as if the latter part of the book became unnecessarily convoluted. Granted, I was reading late at night and was a little tired, but there were times in the second half when I had to backtrack, because clearly I'd missed something somewhere. Overall, Battle of the Linguist Mages was an entertaining read with a fresh twist, but at times there was almost too much going on. For me, it was a 3.5-star read.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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