"Join our crusade,
your choice will be made.
Isn't it time
for a Wizard in Rhyme?"
-- From the book jackets of each book.
Combining serious lapses in creative judgement with equally-serious lapses in metrical rhyme, Christopher Stasheff's Wizard in Rhyme series of books chronicles the adventures of Matthew Mantrell from Michigan. But he's not just any Midwesterner--he is also the "Royal Wizard" in a hastily-created world very similar to our own, only not nearly so interesting or robust. There are times while reading these books when one questions if the act of writing books for Stasheff is nothing more than giving himself leave to create places that only Prester John ever saw. (Case in point: In The Feline Wizard, book 8 in this series, he does just that).
How is magic done in this bovine universe? Why, with poetry, of course! Bad poetry! And puns! It's akin to reading Piers Anthony, except much longer, even more poorly written, and with fewer references (though not altogether absent) to panties.
The series does, however, have a few points in its favor. First a foremost, they're not difficult to read, and they're geared towards teenagers and and mature younger readers, and Stasheff does, on occasion, bring up historio-mythological places and breathe new life into them. He may upset purists who don't ever want to hear about possible differences in their ideas. If nothing else, the spurring of these ideas in younger minds may, possibly, get them to pick up a book of real repute. And that's a good thing.
All in all, I would not recommend any books in this series to any serious aficionados of fantasy or science fiction. The amazing departure from standard (and even expanded) rulesets regarding the treatment of fantasy can be charming at first, but lags after a short time and the amusement changes quickly to frustration. For adult readers, I give it 2 out of 10 stars. For teenagers and mature younger readers, a 7.6 froggies out of 10.
Books in the Wizard in Rhyme Series
Her Majesty's Wizard
The Oathbound Wizard
The Witch Doctor
The Secular Wizard
My Son, the Wizard
The Haunted Wizard
The Crusading Wizard
The Feline Wizard