Class Dis-mythed

January 5, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads)

classClass Dis-mythed by Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye

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If there’s one book in the new series that feels like the old books, this is it. Skeeve, in his self-exile from M.Y.T.H. Inc. to learn proper magik, is saddled with several people who want to learn magik themselves, so he becomes the teacher to a bunch of apprentices. They’re a various crew, all related to other characters who have appeared in the series (one of them is the nephew of Markie, who was last seen as the antagonist in Little Myth Marker), and Skeeve comes up with ways to teach them the practical uses of magik, even though some of his students know more than he does.

What makes the book feel familiar is the student-teacher relationship between Skeeve and his students. It’s strained at times — there are multiple students, so that relationship is broken across several characters, and that relationship doesn’t feel consistent — but for the most part it works. Skeeve has moments where he can speak at length to different subjects, which is something I hadn’t realized was missing in these new novels. The puns still seem forced, but the rest of the humor feels more natural, and the novel starts to show signs of the charm that made the early books so entertaining.

The ending was a bit of a let-down for me, as it took what felt like the end of the story and took it a bit further — about 80 pages further, in fact. Skeeve has finished his training, and we finally learn why the students were so determined to learn, and why they acted so strangely in a few scenes. It felt like that could have been the next book in the series instead of a tacked-on ending at the end of the third act; in fact, that whole part of the story felt rushed, so I wonder why the authors didn’t make that the next book in the series. I think it would have worked well standalone.

The books in this second half of the series are definitely not as good as what Asprin did by himself, but at least here I started to see some of the hints of what made those other books so much fun. I hope I see that again in the remaining books.

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