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Master of Formalities

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,679 ratings  ·  255 reviews
Even when finding oneself engaged in interstellar war, good form must be observed. Our story is set thousands of years after the Terran Exodus, where two powerful, planet-dominating families—the elegant House Jakabitus and the less refined Hahn Empire—have reached a critical point in their generations-long war. Master Hennik, the Hahn ruler’s only son, has been captured, a ...more
Paperback, 446 pages
Published July 28th 2015 by 47North (first published July 14th 2015)
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,679 ratings  ·  255 reviews

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Executive Summary: A fun little story, but for me not as enjoyable as his Magic 2.0 series. 3.5 Stars.

Audio book: Luke Daniels is one of my favorite narrators. When reviewing An Unwelcome Quest, Mr. Daniels tweeted at me that he had the "next one" in the queue.

Sadly, I think he might have thought this book was the fourth installment of Mr. Meyer's Magic 2.0 series. Much like that series (and everything else Mr. Daniels narrates) he does an excellent job.

Full Review
Between how much I've enjoy
Bruce Gargoyle
I received a digital copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley.

Ten Second Synopsis:
Yes Minister in space.

What a strange and amusing little offering I found this to be! I fear I am going through a minor aversion to science fiction at the moment, simply because engaging in new futuristicky worlds seems to be far too much effort. I must say though, that I thoroughly enjoyed this little romp for the strangely compatible senses of familiarity and originality that it provided.

I did find th
Tyler Patton
Jul 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this one... I'm a huge fan of his Magic 2.0 series and preordered this book promptly after I heard about it. Unfortunately the plot bored me to tears and every single character has no substance nor likability. The only interesting parts were about "sports" and even then it was absurd
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy
Excellent narration. Very fun book. Love the play on words with the characters
The Flooze
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Master of Formalities brings a lot to the table: interplanetary war, sharply conflicting cultures, and...a huge emphasis on etiquette?

That doesn't adequately describe the engaging story Meyer has written. Filled with droll comedy and subtle yet biting commentary, this sci-fi piece includes some surprising twists. I wasn't quite sure of the endgame, and snorted aloud at a reveal in the final paragraph.

I've seen other reviews bring up Downton Abbey in Space in an effort to describe the cast of ch
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really, really wanted to like this book wholeheartedly and without reservation, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards. It wasn't a horrible book, it was a little dull or, possibly, a lot dull. I wasn't overly impressed with the world building or, what to me, seemed to be a lack thereof. At no point in time did I ever feel like I couldn't put the book down (or stop audible).

It's entirely possible that the Mr. Belvedere-in-a-space-opera type of plot is just not my cup of tea, but I honestly
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Eh... I mainly read (listened to) this because the audio book was on sale, Luke Daniels was the narrator (love), and I like Scott Meyer's Magic 2.0 series well enough. Unfortunately, I can't say much more about this other than it was ok. I wish I could give it more than two stars, because honestly.. I wasn't necessarily bored by it, and I didn't DNF it. It just was sort of "meh". The plot meandered and didn't really have any direction. It seemed way too long for the amount of story accomplished. ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting to read a "My-Man-Jeeves-Conquers-Space" kind of story. Maybe it was the comedic past of the author that fooled me or the title itself. Don't get me wrong, the book is quite funny at places, especially when the two empires collide. But the worldbuilding, the cast of characters, and the ample dialogue point to something way bigger. It is a very well written space opera.
It took me a while to get into the story, but at the end of part 1 I couldn't put the thing down. It was a really
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Master of Formalities was a delightful book. It's cataloged as science fiction, but other than that the date is announced at the beginning of every formal meeting (“Know that two thousand, one hundred, and seventy-one conventional years have passed since the Terran Exodus.”) and they must have some very fast space ships to hop from planet to planet almost overnight, there's not a lot of SF here. Rather, it's a humorous, and at times “hysterical” transposition of classic British aristocratic fo ...more
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The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained

If you like to laugh, enjoy reading books, and like to laugh while you read books, I highly recommend you start reading books by Scott Meyer. He wrote the awesome and original Wizard 2.0 series, and I strongly suggest you go check it out.

Apparently, awesome and original is something Scott Meyer is very, very good at, because Master of Formalities was just as awesome and just as original.

Master of Formalities is a lot Downt
Andrew Stirling MacDonald
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Meyer continues to cement his place as our generation's master of blending science fiction and comedy together. In Master of Formalities, Meyer creates the perfect blend of epic political space opera with interesting and compelling personal growth and interaction between the characters at the center of the narrative.

Comparisons to Douglas Adams are inevitable, and well-deserved - the book references pays deft homage to classics like The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul - but Meyer has never been
Jun 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf

Publisher: 47 North

Publishing Date: July 2015

ISBN: 9781477830918

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publisher Description: Even when finding oneself engaged in interstellar war, good form must be observed. Our story is set thousands of years after the Terran Exodus, where two powerful, planet-dominating families—the elegant House Jakabitus and the less refined Hahn Empire—have reached a critical point in their generations-long war. Master Hennik, the Hahn ruler’s only
Jul 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
I tried, I really did.

I adore Basic Instructions (and if you haven't read that webcomic, go right now. Sorry if you had other plans for the day, but you'll thank me.) I actually almost got sucked back in just looking up the link, and I've read the entire run at least twice. I actually enjoyed his Off to Be the Wizard series, so I figured this would be at least a nice diversion.

Man, I tried. I really tried, twice. I got to page 332 and just couldn't get any farther. It was neither funny nor inter
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Will by: 166
A delightful and unexpectedly gripping comedy of manners (and sport) in an aristocratic society of the fare future galaxy. The Masters of Formalities have to deal with the war between two noble houses, complications in the kitchen, and disgruntled heirs.... making sure that everything is done in proper form. While nothing going on is exactly what it seems. Will eagerly look for more by Scott Meyer
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author described it as Downton Abby in the Dune universe and I can definitely see that. I saw the Dune relation right away with the ruling houses in a post-Earth future. I've long enjoyed Meyer's humor and combining that with a space-opera story told through the eyes of the palace servants definitely clicked for me.

I'm unsure if this story is a one-off or setting up a new series but I would be willing to revisit this universe.
H James
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book concludes with enough loose threads that the overall feeling is that of a first entry in a series rather than that of a standalone work, but it's witty enough that I would welcome a follow-up.
What to say about Master of Formalities ? Well, I didn't really like it. It wasn't horrible, but the whole story didn't seem go to anywhere, and, having finished, I don't feel that it went anywhere in the end either. There was no build-up, no big confrontation, no major issues to be resolved, just like the sound a balloon makes as it deflates across the room. It kept meandering with no real purpose and everything that was happening had me frustratingly yelling at my car (where I listen to the au ...more
Richard Eyres
I enjoyed Scott Meyer's Magic 2.0 series, so it was only obvious that i check out this book as well. It is not as enjoyable as Magic 2.0, but i appreciate what it was trying to achieve. My major concern of the book was the really unlikable characters - i know some where not meant to be liked, but the ones you wanted to cheer for - were also a little rubbish.
There were some great moments in the story, but also a fair few stinkers as well.
All in all, i am glad i read the book, but i doubt i would
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Quite funny in places and a very unique story. Not as entertaining as the Wizard series.
Rashelle Lindquist
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
There is no reason to not like this book, there is also no reason to love this book. It’s a fun read and a good way to pass the time, not something I would re-read.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun-fantasy
I will answer your most pressing question first:
Yes, there is a guy getting hit in the crotch in the book, just like in all four of the Magic 2.0 books. Yes, somehow it is tied into the plot intrinsically. I thought Scott Meyers couldn't beat how he ret-conned Merlin's crotch shield from a weird inexplicable gag in 'Off to Be the Wizard' into a major plot point in 'An Unwelcome Quest', but he totally did. There is basically an entire chapter dedicated to the art of the crotch-hit in 'Master of
Caroline Mersey
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-copies
Imagine if you will, a cross between Yes, Minister, and Jeeves and Wooster. Then set it in space. That's the premise behind Scott Meyer's new novel Master of Formalities (published 28 July by 47 North, one of Amazon's imprints, who were kind enough to give me a review copy through NetGalley).

As humanity has colonised the stars, and civilisations and cultures have diverged, proper etiquette has become ever more important in regulating how cultures interact. A central Council of Arbiters supplies
Katy Hexberg
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the future humanity has left earth and populated many different planets. All 'civilized' worlds have agreed to 'arbitration' which means all the world leaders agree to be guided by "Master of Formalities". The duty of the Master of Formalities is "to inform those around us of what the consequences of [their actions] will be and to suggests a course of action that will be less ... consequential." Each Master of Formalities is constantly in contact with the Arbiters to find precedents for almos ...more
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
After a slow beginning, the book picks up and is able to trot along at an enjoyable and promising pace, sprinkling witty and slapstick humor in its way. However, it wraps up suddenly and in a predictable fashion, that is not in keeping with the middle of the book, which was disappointing. I found myself speaking aloud the lines that Luke Daniels hadn't yet uttered and wondering what happened to the author that made things speed along so bizarrely. Several loose ends were mentioned and never addr ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
The premise of this book is really intriguing. The narrator (audiobook version) does an excellent job. But I simply couldn't get into the book and enjoy it the way that comes naturally to my favorite stories.

There we're times where I sensed something was supposed to be funny. The juxtaposition of ideas and concepts which occasionally amused me but mostly fell flat. Either because of the expense they took at the characters with in the book or a pessimistic humor. Amusing for the sheer absurdity o
Sean Randall
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
A staggering disappointment, worthy of Rob Reid
. I think [author:Douglas Adams
, John Scalzi, Grant Naylor when I look for funny. I look to Rick Cook, to Simon Hawke and yes, to Meyer Off to be the Wizard was ribtickling.

Humour is, I guess, a particular thing. This was not, particularly, mine.

Jamie (Books and Ladders)
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Actual Rating: 3.5*

I quite enjoyed a lot of aspects of this one but there were some things I didn't really enjoy. But it balanced out for me in a way that made me like it more than I did not like it. Full review to come on Books and Ladders
Jan 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 2016
I enjoyed the universe and characters Meyer created in this book. I like the Magic 2.0 series more, but it was still an entertaining read. I'm curious if he intends to make this a series as I was left with a few questions about some characters/plot points at the end.

Also, Luke Daniels is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators for audio books.
Sarah Booth
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I’d say 3.5.

Carl Nelson
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars. The dry humor of Scott Meyer's Master of Formalities is the perfect foil for its ludicrous events, and his situations are both a riotous sendup of the comedy of manners genre and a skewering of social norms. Two millennia after humans leave Earth, House Jakabitus and House Hahn, rulers of their respective planets, are embroiled in a generations-long war. The staff that serves the Jakabitus family has their decorum severely upset when Hennik, the boorish son of the Hahn ruler, is capture ...more
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Scott Meyer has been a radio DJ, a stand-up comic, a writer for video games, an office manager, and a pretend ghost bellhop.

He is the creator of the comic strip Basic Instructions, and has now written a novel.

He and his wife live in Florida, to be close to their cats.
“people who care will always be at the mercy of people who don’t.” 4 likes
“There was nothing remarkable about him at all, save for his eyebrows, which were noticeable from a surprising distance. They were chaotic thickets of tangled, wiry hairs, extending in every possible direction from his brow ridge. His eyebrows overshadowed and dominated the rest of him, as if he weren’t so much a man as an eyebrow delivery system.” 1 likes
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