Book Review: “Sorcerers Wanted” by Zachary Shatzer

Zachary Shatzer’s books never fail to make me laugh out loud. They’re absurd, over-the-top, fast-paced and hilarious, and Sorcerers Wanted is no exception.

The best way to describe it is, imagine a spoof of Harry Potter and all the Potter clones that followed it, but done with the sensibility of the movie Airplane!, only in book form. I won’t summarize the plot, because it’s too zany, and anyway, you don’t read a book like this for the plot. There’s an evil sorcerer called Pobius who has conquered Arizona, an even eviler and much cooler sorcerer named Doomsboro who has conquered Chicago, and a school to train young sorcerers to fight back against them.

This school is where our protagonist (who is unnamed, but sometimes referred to as “Mitchell” or “Doofus”) begins his journey. He’s not what you’d call a real success in life, having failed at pretty much everything he’s ever tried, but he tries to remain upbeat.

There are just too many funny lines to even count in this one. Like this, describing Doomsboro’s use of a TV game show to capture the public’s imagination:

It’s hard for most people to choose defiance against evil when they have to give up televised drama as part of the deal.

Or this, on his use of propaganda:

These papers now cranked out nothing but propaganda about Doomsboro. How strong he was, how handsome he was, how tyranny and malevolence were actually cool and benevolence was only for old fogies who can’t keep up with the times.

“Coolness” is a major theme in the book, and in fact the use of the intangible concept of being cool is used by all sides in this complex magic war. Which is critical for our protagonist, who is about as uncool as it gets.

And like an earlier Shatzer book, there’s a fictional text mentioned in this one that I desperately wish actually existed: The Cowboy Sorcerer, by Jenkins Crabston, a novel that combines Crabston’s “experience as a sorcerer and his love of movies set in the old west.”

This book so, so needs to be real.

As for Sorcerers Wanted, it’s a wonderful comic romp that had me guffawing uncontrollably. Highly recommended for when you want to just kick back and read something light.

[Audio version of this post available below.]

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