The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England
By: Brandon Sanderson

Quick-take: Amusing though a bit heavy handed.

Dan's Review

I am a big Brandon Sanderson fan. I have over 20 of his books on this site. I had given up on reading him a while back because everything he wrote was a long-running, never-ending series. I am happy to see he has started writing some standalone novels.

The Frugal Wizard is part of his "Secret Project" series. My understanding is these are story ideas he had knocking around in his head for a while and decided to turn into actual books. I chose this one because I thought the premise sounded interesting.

A modern man with modern knowledge is suddenly transported to Medieval England. What happens next? Does he immediately rise to the top and become king? Will he invent modern medicine and other tools to transform the world? Will he just get killed immediately because he cannot assimilate properly? Sadly, these interesting ideas are never really answered in this book.

It wasn't enough to just transport the person, Brandon Sanderson decided to put the man waaaay into the future and give him significant augments (enhanced healing, vision, hearing, etc). Basically, a superhuman has now been transported.

Brandon Sanderson also felt the need to explain how the person arrived. It was through interdimensional travel through a touring agency. There were interludes of humor using marketing copy between the chapters. I thought it was funny the first few times but eventually decided the jokes ran too long. I had the same complaints with his Alcatraz series.

The medieval people spoke a lot of modern English and had modern references. Brandon Sanderson actually conceded this fact, but I am willing to overlook it. I could not read this book if everybody spoke like Geoffrey Chaucer. Once you get past all that, the story itself was decent. However, that is a lot to forgive for just a decent story.

Score: 3/5 stars. There was a lot of potential here. Unfortunately, the focus seemed to be more on humor than story, and the humor was not that great.

More Books

Check out another review.