Maddy's explosive entrance cuts the novel's brake lines, pitching readers into a madcap adventure of magic and mayhem. Moore has produced a frenetic romp that makes up for its lack of depth with a whole lot of fun. Although Isobel never entirely comes together as a three-dimensional character, her funk-infused narration does a good job of fleshing out her supporting cast. Glitter-bombed popcorn fiction at its finest.
Scotto Moore’s Battle of the Linguist Mages...is absolutely wild, a wacky dance battle of a book with a wry, grounding edge ... This is a stand-alone novel with material enough for six, leaping from rung to rung of an escalating plot like—well, like a video-game character parkouring her way through an auto-runner. By the halfway point, it had blown my mind twice and accumulated such cavalcades of incident that I couldn’t fathom where it had left to go—but it found places, and it went there. Hyperbole is Moore’s organizing principle, and puncturing it with granular mundanity is his applied mathematics; the result is an audacious, genre-bending whirlwind.
Treating it as a philosophical treatise or a searing critique of contemporary politics would discount the fact that it’s also a riveting romp of an adventure ... Battle of the Linguist Mages reads like Noam Chomsky and Judith Butler conceived a metaphorical child while high on LSD and blasting Skrillex in a basement. It is hilarious and irreverent, and it relishes the intrinsic ridiculousness of real-life mages and superheroes training in a video game that’s a cross between Kingdom Hearts and Beat Saber. In blindingly inadequate words, Battle of the Linguist Mages is, conceptually, very dense ... the most fascinating element is the deftness with which Moore crafts a fantasy epic about characters who role-play fantasy epics. Lying beneath endless music puns, pointed re-creations of Angeleno excess and cynicism about the modern-day celebrity cult is an impressive narrative self-awareness, an acknowledgment of every trope that Moore uses to render the reasonably straightforward core plot (discovery of magical talent, training montage, quest to save the world) as subversive.
The inventiveness and intensity of Moore’s storytelling perfectly blends Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Readers who enjoy gaming will find the novel accessible and appealing.
... [a] wild riot of a science fiction novel ... It’s a twisting story that’s at turns snarky, absurd, and stimulating. Moore’s novel does fall into some awkward exposition and leaps of internal logic that may frustrate some readers, and Isabel’s geeky excitement can overshadow her reaction to real-world consequences of the plot turns. That said, Battle of the Linguist Mages is so fantastically inventive that many video-game fans and sf readers will fall hard for the linguistics-rooted magic and the shimmering adventurous universe of Sparkle Dungeon, not to mention its pop-culture references and fun nods to the quirks of video games and the community of people who love to play them.
Moore...takes readers on a roller coaster of weird in this wildly entertaining gonzo adventure ... Moore’s tale, adapted from several of his earlier plays, is audacious, ambitious, and metatextual, packed with such wild concepts as sentient punctuation marks, musical weapons, and multilayered reality. While the story sprawls at times, Moore never loses sight of his characters’ humanity or the underlying sense of adventure and humor. Readers will love it as much for the outlandish ideas as for the narrative complexity and sense of fun.