Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A complex tale of wizardry

In this eighth book in Diane Duane's "Young Wizards" series, the youngest wizards are left to fend for themselves. Their ancient enemy has orchestrated a cataclysmic event that is causing the universe to expand exponentially more rapidly, which is affecting not only the wizards and their powers, but the rest of the nonmagical population as well. As objects in the universe move farther away from each other, people move farther away emotionally, becoming easily angered and paranoid - which exacerbates an already difficult global political situation. The older, more experienced wizards inform Nita and Kit that shortly the the older wizards will lose their powers completely - and they will eventually forget that wizardry even exists.

Nita, Kit, and their other talented young wizardly friends (several from other planets) quickly realize that while the increased expansion of universe is alarming, fighting the symptom will not help. They must understand the cause. Their search takes them across the universe to hostile worlds where they must act on their own, without any guidance from their mentors. The stakes are high, but the wizards are committed and willing to make enormous sacrifices in their war against their dark enemy.

This series, which began with So You Want to Be a Wizard, is one I've been enjoying from the very beginning. The characters change and grow with each book, and there is very little recapping of previous books, so it is especially important to read this series in order. My library shelves this in the juvenile fiction section, but the vocabulary and complexity of the story would be difficult for elementary-age children (phrases like "inimical atmosphere" and "dark matter aggregates" might be a bit off-putting to some readers). But I like that Duane doesn't pull any punches. She has a story to tell, and she's going to tell it in the words that best suit it.

The space travel and alien worlds hold appeal to fans of science fiction, and fantasy readers will enjoy the complicated spells and wizardry. These elements, combined with complex personal relationships and insight into alien (and our own) minds make for an exciting, compelling read where much is at stake - and so much is worth fighting for.

1. So You Want to Be a Wizard
2. Deep Wizardry
3. High Wizardry
4. A Wizard Abroad
5. The Wizard's Dilemma
6. A Wizard Alone
7. A Wizard's Holiday Book
8. Wizards at War

Wizards at War by Diane Duane (Magic Carpet Books, 2007)


  1. This is one series I've wanted to read for ages. I've even got the first 4 or 5 of them. I definately need to move the first one up tbr mountain.

  2. I haven't read the first one in ages - but I got it from the library's used book sale a couple years ago because I think it will be fun to read to my kids. I seem to remember the earlier ones being a bit simpler, geared towards younger readers. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

  3. Sounds like a very unusual series!

  4. It really has changed as the series has gone along. Diane Duane has written a lot of science fiction for adults, and I think the series has transformed as the characters have gotten older, allowing Duane to play more in the science fiction area that she evidently enjoys so much. But the combination of magic (along with its rules) adds a lot of surprises along the way. You're right - it is pretty unusual!

  5. You have just reminded me that I really want to start reading this series!

  6. Good to see you, nymeth! I bet you'll enjoy this series - let me know what you think when you get to them!


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