The Practice Effect, by David Brin, is a totally cool, totally fun, and totally non-serious science fiction book with fantasy-like effects. It has one of the coolest ‘magic’ systems I have ever read.
Will you like it? Well, that depends. Do you like hard sci-fi? I do, and I love it. Do you like magic system ‘whodunits’? I do, and I loved this book. Do you like “She hated me before she loved me” romances? I sometimes do, and there’s that too. How about traveling through gates between worlds? How about a robot that misunderstands its orders and ends up saving the day? How about a really cool alien creature that is onboard for the ride? Yup, I love all those too.
Now, if after all that you need me to summarize the plot, this book may not be for you. If you didn’t get that, it’s about a guy who goes through a gate to another world, finds a girl who hates him, and has a robot who misunderstands his orders and saves the day. And a fun little alien who goes along for the ride as he tries to figure out what on Earth is going on with the magic system and how to save himself, the girl, and the entire nation of good guys well, then, there isn’t much hope for you, is there?
The only drawback to reading The Practice Effect is that it isn’t the start of a series. It isn’t even like any other book I’ve read by the same author. It is unique, a one-off, standing alone.