In the first chapter of Deep Secret, I really have no idea what’s going on. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Deep Secret.
HELLO OH MY GOD WHAT DID I JUST READ.
It’s time to start a new book on Mark Reads for double features, so let’s talk some rules for any new folks who happen to be joining me on this journey:
1) Please do not spoil me or anyone else. If you’ve never experienced a Mark Reads review series, I am approaching this book without any spoilers. I didn’t read any of the excerpts, I have the series name blocked on Tumblr, and I am eager to read this without knowing one single thing about it.
2) Use rot13.com to cypher spoilery comments and thoughts. You are allowed to talk about spoilers and generally sob about how I said that one thing and will be destroyed later. That’s what all the gibberish is in the comments. Firefox and Chrome also have plug-ins that allow you to cypher without going to the site!
3) Please read the Site Rules about commenting conduct. My moderators and I do our best to make this a safe, inclusive community. You may be warned about using certain language or slurs, so please take care to think about what you’re posting. Spoiling or excessively inappropriate behavior will get you banned. The only exception to posting slurs that may be considered ableist is when you are quoting the text. You’ll notice that I will also warn about those words before the video readings, too! I recently changed my policy to read the words aloud so that I wasn’t making myself anxious about trying to change or leave out words when recording videos, so if you are triggered by such words, please read the warning before the commissions.
4) Have fun discussing the book! Share opinions! Non-spoilery fan-art! Songs! Music videos! Your opinions, positive and negative! This is as much a critical analysis space as it is a fandom space. Our intent here at Mark Reads is to make this safe for you to celebrate and analyze this book as you feel you want to, so please nerd out, geek out, or analyze to your heart’s content! I do read the comments, and may often reply to things! This is my IntenseDebate profile so DO NOT ACCEPT IMPOSTORS. Well, no one’s actually tried to be me around here before, but you never know. It’s the Internet, and we’ve seen our fair share of weirdness in this community, right?
5) There are some chapters left for video commissions, and you can claim them for $20 a chapter here. The page lists those chapters already claimed.
6) Welcome our new moderator, ppyajunebug! Maya has been a longtime contributor and supporter of the Mark Does Stuff universe, and I know her personally. We needed a new mod to help with DWJ spoilers, and as a DWJ fan, she was perfectly suited for the job. Please thank her and welcome her! And it also bears repeating that y’all should thank the moderators of my sites whenever you can for their work at keeping this place spoiler-free and inclusive. They rule!
WHICH MEANS NOW I CAN START MY FIRST DIANA WYNNE JONES BOOK EVER.
It figures that I took nearly four years to finally get around to reading a book by one of the most requested authors for Mark Reads, and I PICKED THE ONE THAT WAS ABOUT PARALLEL UNIVERSES. If I haven’t made this clear enough before, I love parallel universes more than most things. (Evidence: My reviews for His Dark Materials, which y’all should read because YOU NEED TO.) Holy shit, y’all. THE MULTIVERSE. INFINITE PARALLEL WORLDS THAT EXIST ON EITHER SIDE OF A SPECTRUM OF MAGIC. AND MAGIDS WHO CAN TRAVEL THE LATTICEWORK BETWEEN THEM. WHAT THE HELL, I NEVER KNEW I NEEDED THIS IN MY LIFE BUT I NEEDED THIS IN MY LIFE.
I’m sure I’m going to spend a great deal of time in these opening chapters just shrieking at things I love. You know, I don’t even know that I can pinpoint why I love parallel universes or where that love came from. I’ve just always enjoyed stories about them??? And this is already a trip. Granted, I don’t exactly understand a lot of what’s here, as Jones hasn’t defined some of the terms or the rules of her fictional universes or anything. HERE IS WHAT I GET:
- There are an innumerable amount of universes, and the only reason I’m saying that is because we aren’t given a number. Rupert mentions that there either is an infinite number of worlds that grow in number daily, or there is a finite number that no one knows. Regardless, there are a metric fuckton of worlds. That’s a reliable form of measurement.
- They exist across a spiral nebula that largely resembles a Möbius strip.
- Worlds can be “negative magically,” which is called Naywards.
- Worlds can be “positive magically,” which is called Ayewards.
- Worlds can move from one Ward to another WHICH IS SO FUCKING COOL I CAN’T STAND THIS. And it’s not an instant thing, either. They can acquire or learn magic (I think?) and move slowly towards the Ayewards side of the multiverse.
- At the precise center of this Möbius strip multiverse is the Empire, started by Koryfos the Great, who conquered a bunch of worlds and might have actually been the start of the multiplicity of worlds.
- (I just sort of realized that if someone finds this site and doesn’t know that I’m reading this book unspoiled, they might think I’m summarizing the novel. WHICH I AM NOT BECAUSE I’M PROBABLY STILL WRONG ABOUT ALL OF THIS.)
- (Did you know that Mark Reads/Watches have appeared in class syllabuses? Like in colleges? I always keep this in mind while making super horrible puns or gay jokes, and then I make lots more of them. And swear a lot. I’m serious. COULD SOMEONE ACTUALLY VERIFY FOR EVERYONE ELSE THAT THEIR TEACHER OR PROFESSOR HAS PUT MY STUFF ON THEIR READING LIST? I’m not making this up!)
- Anyway, back on track. Magids!
- 100% truth: I don’t understand what they do.
- They can travel through the various worlds through some lattice thingy, but I don’t get what they do! Rupert goes to oversee a case belonging to the Empire, and his job is “certify simply whether or not the accused had broken the law as stated.”
- Why? Why must he do that?
- And then there’s this: “In many ways, of course, a Magid is the equal of any ruler.” WHY? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.
- THEN I LEARN THAT TIMOS IX, THE CURRENT EMPEROR, IS EXTREMELY HORRIBLE. Well, the laws of the Koryfonic Empire are horrible, too, and that’s probably part of the basis for what happens to Timos IX’s son.
- WHO IS EXECUTED AFTER A BRIEF TRIAL FOR FINDING OUT WHO HIS PARENTS ARE.
- WHAT THE HOLY FUCK IS GOING ON. HOW IS THAT A THING? HOW DO YOU DO THAT?????
- I mean, I’m guessing it’s a way of keeping the Emperor safe and in power by eliminating any heirs or possible claims to the throne? If that’s the case, why don’t you require Emperors to not have children? I mean, y’all are already dressed like members of the Catholic Church, aren’t you? WHOMP WHOMP.
- (I suspect I know the answer why: because the Emperor has power, and how dare you punish them!)
- A character dies in the first 10 pages of this book, for the record.
- And he’s not the only one.
- Rupert is called back by his brother Will, who we learn is part of three of the Venables brothers, who are all Magids! And they were trained by Stan Churning, who is unfortunately about to die. 🙁
- Newsflash, Mark: Cambridge is in England. Where Diana Wynne Jones is from. NOT BOSTON.
- “The answer is that all Magids lead double lives. We have to earn a living.” Okay, they’re not paid to do… Magid stuff? Oh god, I still don’t get what the Magids actually do.
- Then I meet Stan, and he’s ridiculously charming, which is DEPRESSING. I meet him in his literal last hour of life!!!!
- I think I’ve been giving the framing device for this story: Rupert is tasked with finding Stan’s replacement, much like Stan found Rupert, Will, and Simon when he had to replace three Magids who all died within six months of one another.
- And reincarnation. It might be a thing. And you might be able to request to become anything you want. Including a centaur! LOTS OF CENTAURS IN THE AYEWARDS!!!! Oh, that’s so exciting.
- There’s a weird sense of secrecy to what the Magids do? I mean, they can openly be Magids in the presence of the K.E., but Stan mentions hiding centaurs on Earth or having to bring Simon into the world of the Magids because he “saw too much.” I DON’T GET IT.
- “Then one day you get told, ‘That’s it, boy. Deathday tomorrow,’ and you know it’s true.” Wait, is Stan speaking literally here or figuratively??? I CAN’T TELL.
- The most intriguing thing about all this is Stan’s revelation that he was the first person of Earth to discover the multiverse and gradually move it Ayewards. As a Magid? Is that what they do?
- And just when I’m getting rather attached to Stan, he dies, and there’s no evidence that his promise of hanging about while “disincarnate” ever came true. Goddamn, this is already brutally sad IN THE FIRST CHAPTER.
Please note that the original text/videos contains use of the word “nutjob.”
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