In the second half of the twelfth chapter of Deep Wizardry, I WASN’T READY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Wow. Wow. I almost wish I could get away with writing a review that was just that because it’s honestly the most succinct way of describing this experience. It’s incredible to me that Duane was able to handle so much chaos in a manner that felt effortless to me. (And now that I’m doing lots of fiction writing, I know it isn’t actually effortless most of the time.)
Let’s talk about the Song.
Duane cycles through the three parts of the Song itself without ever losing me. Initially, we go through the “easiest” part first: the Untouched, the three whales who all reject what the Lone Power offers them. I understood why she spent less time on these three than the other six singers. They’re the most uninteresting, technically, because while they all struggle with rejecting temptation, none of them break from the tradition of the Song. We do get a hint for how powerful that temptation is, given how shaky the singers are in their rejection.
Which brings us to the other scary part of the Song: the three whales who all succumb to temptation as the whales did in the original Song. Like with the Untouched, Duane didn’t go into much detail with them. She didn’t need to; each of them fell before the Lone Power, and they made way for the hardest, most challenging aspect of the Song.
It’s fitting to me that within the Undecided, Duane finds a way to deliver the most horrifying curveball imaginable. It was creepy to think that these three whales – T!h!ki, Fluke, and Areinnye – were all chosen because their own desires and interests closely matched what the Lone Power would tempt them with. For T!h!ki, the Lone Power offered “all the hidden knowledge of the great deeps.” Fluke was offered “the power to hear everything that transpired in the Sea, from the random thoughts of new-hatched fry to the secret ponderings of the continental plates,” which is TOTALLY UNREAL. (And think more on that… it’s not that the Lone Power couldn’t actually deliver on the promise. I’m sure they would. But I imagine there wouldn’t be a world left if they disrupted the Song, you know?
Then there’s Areinnye, who represented chaos and an untrustworthy variable before, at least for a moment. Here, though, the Lone Power shocks everyone (AND ME. ME SO MUCH) by BREAKING FROM THE SONG. I didn’t even know you could do that, but they ruin everything by offering Areinnye REVENGE:
“Take up my Gift and take a life for life,
as it was done of old–“
The Lone Power exploits exactly what we all worried of Areinnye and compels her to attack the only “human” near her, Nita. From this point onwards, this chapter is pure chaos. Once Areinnye breaks from the circle, protocol is thrown to the wind. The whales must rely on desperation and creativity not only to survive, but to find a way to complete the Song before it’s too late. But what prevents them from doing this? OH, YOU’RE GETTING A LIST BECAUSE THERE’S SO MUCH HERE AND I JUST WANT TO DEMONSTRATE HOW MANY SINGLE ACTS OCCUR WITHIN THE SPAN OF THIS CHAPTER:
- First, there is Areinnye’s attack on Nita upsets the Song.
- Then, Areinnye leaves the boundaries of the protective spell, meaning that there is a vacancy in the Song in the part of the Gray Lord, so Nita has to quickly give Kit the Celebrant’s Oath.
- The Lone Power offers Kit immortality for himself and Nita. IMMORTALITY. PLAYING RIGHT INTO KIT’S DESIRE TO SAVE HIS BEST FRIEND.
- Then the Ocean heats up. This all happens in like two pages, y’all. BUCKLE IN, THIS IS A WILD RIDE.
- Right as Nita is about to fulfill her part of the song, a gigantic black kraken attacks her and pulls her away from Caryn’s Peak.
- BECAUSE MOTHERFUCKING AREINNYE BETRAYED THEM ALL AND WENT AND GOT MORE KRAKENS.
- WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS BOOK.
- So, while chaos reigns and no one can even think about completing the Song because they all have to destroy the krakens that are attacking them, Kit loses the language. Meaning his sark is about to reject him, LEAVING HIM A HUMAN THREE MILES DOWN INTO THE OCEAN.
- At this point, I don’t even know if I’m halfway through tracking this unfolding disaster. The reason I wanted to make this list wasn’t to summarize the scene; I don’t feel compelled to do much summarizing in these reviews because the vast majority of you know know everything that happens. But I wanted to highlight just how intense all of this was. The sheer weight of the violence hit me hard, sure. However, this climactic fight was the culmination of so many details and tiny plot threads spread throughout the book that I also felt impressed.
- For example: Nita realizes once Kit loses his language that she can willingly sacrifice herself to save him, which gives her a satisfaction that has nothing to do with the “abstract idea of ten million deaths.” In that moment, this whole Song becomes uniquely personal to her.
- AND THEN ED BLOCKS HER FROM SACRIFICING HERSELF AND DEMANDS THAT SHE HAND OVER ALL HER MAGICAL POWER SO HE CAN CALL FOR HELP. It’s a jarring moment because I was readying myself for Nita’s end, and Ed’s plan made no sense to me. Wouldn’t the Song have ended once Nita sacrificed herself? Why delay it further?
- It seemed even more foolish when the Long Power materialized in this realm AS A GIANT SNAKE MADE OF LAVA. THIS SEEMED TO BE THE WORST POSSIBLE TWIST AND I WAS SO CONFUSED BY ED. WHY NOW?
- (As an aside, I found the Lone Power’s form to be a powerful image, given that Duane references the serpent in the Bible here.)
- Nita ignores Ed and decides to complete the Song herself, and Kit – brave, stubborn Kit, who was so isolated and alone and sad when Nita found him, who had grown into a powerful, certain wizard alongside her – risks his own life to ram the Serpent repeatedly to distract It, all to by Nita more time to complete the Song.
- I love Kit Rodriguez so much.
- Oh, then Areinnye shows up to punch Nita again.
- Oh, and Ed got attacked by her and is bleeding profusely into the Sea.
- OH, AND THEN HE RAMS HER SO HARD IN HER HEAD THAT SHE BECOMES DISORIENTED.
- AND THEN ED WILLINGLY TAKES HER PLACES IN THE SONG AND SACRIFICES HIMSELF BY BITING THE SERPENT, WHO CRUSHES HIM IN ITS JAWS.
- AND THEN ED’S PLAN COMES TO FRUITION: HIS BLOOD IS THE ONLY THING THAT CAN ACTIVATE HIS POWER AS THE MASTER-SLAYER AND BRING EVERY SHARK TO HIS LOCATION, AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF SHARKS SHOW UP AND DESTROY THE LONE POWER AND AREINNYE.
- WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS BOOK.
Ed took Nita’s place, y’all. I don’t think I ever could have guessed this outcome, and I’m going to quote the text again because this is honestly how I feel:
Aching all over, impossibly tired, Nita hung there for several minutes, simply not knowing what to do. She hadn’t planned to live this long.
Because RIGHT? I was so overwhelmed by this chapter that I didn’t know what to react to. I felt sad that Ed was now gone, relieved that Nita was alive, overjoyed that Kit’s sark did not reject him, but… it’s all so much. It’s all so much.
I can’t believe they did it. I wasn’t exactly expecting a negative end, but Duane constructed this finale to make it pretty impossible for me to see a conclusion that didn’t involve Nita’s death. Y’all, I’m spent.
7/15/08, by willing substitution.
IT’S TOO SAD AND TOO HAPPY ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
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:
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