Mark Reads ‘Deep Wizardry’: Chapter 12, Part I

In the first half of the twelfth chapter of Deep Wizardy, Nita and Kit begin the long and terrifying descent to the location where the Song will be sung. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards

EVERYTHING HURTS.

The Beginning

I still can’t escape the feeling that this is just as much a science fiction book as it is a fantasy novel, and that is THE COOLEST SHIT EVER. I felt like I was learning about the deep ocean while also being immersed into a fully imagined fantastical world. On top of that? I felt guilt. A lot of it. Humans, as a whole, have been pretty damn wasteful and careless with this planet, and Diane Duane does not even remotely care about how uncomfortable this might make the reader. But it’s necessary information within this story! Wizards are trying to slow the entropic death of the universe, and things like pollution contribute to that. IS THERE A WIZARD RECYCLING COMMUNITY? What about wizards employed for oil spills? Forest fires? CHEMICAL EXPLOSIONS???

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. I found the long, descriptive introduction in this chapter to be utterly necessary to the story. Not only does it help build this world further, but it sets the stage. Duane creates a pervasive and unsettling dread in these pages before the first attack, and I felt pretty anxious while reading this. The sheer size of all of this was truly unfathomable to me. How do you even conceive of a space so big? So crushing? So dark? So oppressive to one’s soul? And if the terrors of the deep weren’t enough, Duane makes sure to remind us that air will be in limited supply. She makes sure to let us know that the Lone One isn’t going to let these creatures make it to their destination without a fight, either. Then there’s Kit, who rapidly begins becoming a sperm whale, and all of this is happening AT ONCE. Like, honestly, who do you think I am? What do you think I can stand?

“Anything else?” S’reee said. “Any questions?”

“Is there time for a fast bite?” Roots said, sounding wistful.

TRULY ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS, Y’ALL.

Seaquake

It’s not long before Duane begins her relentless reign of horror upon these characters. If it’s not one thing, it’s FOUR THOUSAND OTHER THINGS. Literally. I counted them. But the seaquake is such a huge first thing for them all to deal with, y’all. I never thought how weird it would feel to creatures who use sound and sonar to see. A quake would be devastating to them, as it was for Nita. BUT THEN PART OF THE CLIFF-SHELF BREAKS OFF AND PLUNGES DOWN AND HEADS STRAIGHT FOR AREINNYE. And my first fear was that Areinnye would die. I honestly was afraid this was going to be the case and the Song would be ruined. Then, I thought that Kit would have to take Areinnye’s place, and then that thought was replaced by another fear:

The next thing Nita felt was the shock of a spell being broken by forces too great for it to handle, as the rock-shelf came crushing down on it, smashing it flat against something both soft and hard.

I thought it was Kit’s body. Gods, y’all, it was such a scary moment, so I’m glad it was only a few sentences later that I learned that both Kit and Areinnye survived, though not exactly unscathed. And was there any time to recover from this? NO. NOT AT ALL.

Release the Krakens AGAIN

Because THEN THIS HAPPENS:

Thick black sucker-tipped arms whipped up from the disturbed ooze on the bottom, grasping, flailing in the light.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME. SERIOUSLY. I expected a round of attacks. I didn’t doubt that the Lone Power sent them to distract and hurt those traveling to complete the Song. But the sheer relentless and chaotic nature of the sequence here was a complete shock to me. It goes on for what feels like an eternity, and I don’t intend for that to be a criticism of the text. As S’reee explains to Areinnye:

“The krakens are here for the same reason the quake was – because the Lone Power wants them here. We’re supposed to use up our air fighting them.”

This is why this section needs to be lengthy and taxing. It had to be frightening, and I needed to feel like it should have ended right when it kept on going. Duane takes us far past any point of comfortability with this sequence before she eases out of the assault. I was tired, point blank, and the Song hadn’t even started. Kit was turning into a sperm whale, so completely that I now wonder if that might be the horrible twist waiting for me in this chapter. I’m only halfway through this, and we barely get a couple verses before the split. I was really stoked on all the awesome creatures, though. I’d been waiting for that THIS WHOLE TIME, I KNEW THEY WOULD SHOW UP. Sometimes, when I want to feel like I am insignificant and ignorant, I go watch YouTube videos of deep-sea creatures. It’s a great exercise, y’all.

Oh, right. One more thing.

The Twelfth Singer

“Ed – If this is the Song of the Twelve, how come there are only eleven of us singing?”

WHY DIDN’T I THINK TO COUNT ALL THE CELEBRANTS? OH MY GOD, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS BOOK. THE LONE POWER IS BOUND AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA AND THEY’RE THE TWELFTH SINGER AND THIS IS THE WORST. I DON’T LIKE THIS, LET’S TURN BACK AND LET THE WORLD DISINTEGRATE

Okay, I’m kidding. I JEST, FRIENDS. I love that the Sea’s Tooth is located at a place where lava spills into the ocean. Symbolically, it’s perfect, isn’t it? It’s where change happens every second of every day. It’s where creatures adapt to an environment no others can live in. It’s where the Lone Power is bound, and where the world might be saved… or ended.

MY BODY IS READY. Just kidding, it’s not.

Diane Duane is still offering a massive discount on the first 9 books in the Young Wizards series just to this community, so please take advantage of this deal while you still can:

http://bit.ly/markreadsYW

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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