Book Review: The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England

By Brandon Sanderson 

4 Stars 

In this standalone novel, a man is magically transported to medieval England with almost no knowledge of who he is and how he got there — except that he’s a wizard. Equipped with small, magical healing devices built into his body and a copy of a book titled The Frugal Wizard’s Guide to Surviving Medieval England, our protagonist must overcome numerous obstacles to regain his lost memories and navigate his way in a foreign world. There’s just one problem: his guidebook exploded upon his arrival, and now he must sift through the remaining papers to try and survive amidst the angry mythological gods, a menacing cartel boss, and his struggles with amnesia. At first, the beginning of the novel, where the protagonist fell into the world, was abrupt and unsettling for my first read, so much so that I ended up dropping the book for a while. After picking it up a few weeks later, I was surprised to find that the book was incredibly enjoyable. While the tone of this book followed a similar comedic style as Tress of the Emerald Sea, a previous book that the author had written, I found myself becoming absorbed into the story more quickly than with Tress.

The protagonist was believable, interesting, and relatable, and it was satisfying to read about his journey to overcome his modern issues in a medieval land. The combination between modern jokes and medieval references took a little getting used to, but strangely enough, it was a good mix. Readers can learn both about the historical setting of medieval England while at the same time connecting their own experiences to those of the main character. I enjoyed reading about the other characters as well — unlike some standalone books I’ve read where the side characters do not add much to the narrative, the ones in this book added depth to the story and helped progress the plot. Also, I wasn’t expecting the comedic side of the book to really appeal to me, but I ended up enjoying the humour in the novel and the many references to modern culture. I would say, however, that the humour may appeal more toward younger readers as opposed to adolescents. Overall, this is a fun, light-hearted book that readers can enjoy in their spare time. The drawings were also a wonderful bonus! 3.7 stars rounded up to 4.   

Reviewed by Amal  

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