Mark Reads ‘High Wizardry’: Chapter 4

In the fourth chapter of High Wizardry, HOW DO YOU EVEN EXPLAIN THIS TO AN OUTSIDER? Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.

I am just so impressed by the direction Duane has taken this story. At the end of the last chapter, I assumed that she would immediately follow it with Nita’s attempt to get her sister back. Instead, COMPUTER WIZARDRY.



I’m now realizing how Diane Duane hinted that this would be the direction of this book because of the nature of wizardry. Nita and Kit have a specialty within wizardry based on what they’re innately good at. If that’s the case, Dairine’s specialty would most definitely be with computers. Still, it took a while for me to be able to wrap my mind around this concept. How could a machine like that be adapted for wizardry?

The odd format of this narrative helped me to understand that. I’m so used to the straight-forward manner of the previous books that I was delighted by how Duane jumped band and forth between the opening scene and the present tense and everywhere in between. In this specific case, we learn that the computer’s arrival precipitated Dairine’s first bit of wizardry, which wasn’t traveling to Mars. No, there’s so much more she does before then. And shit, I’m now realizing why she was so rude and snappy to her sister. SHE WANTED PRIVACY SO THAT SHE COULD GET ON HER NEW LAPTOP.

And about that. I love that Dairine’s discovery of wizardry is so different from Nita’s. She knew about it before she ever saw a manual, and yet, she doesn’t realize what’s happening on her new computer until the laptop appears beside it. And even then, she tackles this whole experience like it’s just another complicated problem to be solved. It’s in character for Dairine, since she’s so desperate to never feel like she doesn’t know something. Thus, her foray into wizardry is contains more frustration and comes across with an intensity that we didn’t really see in Nita.

The whole thing happens within feet of her parents and not all that far from her sister, and yet, Dairine is quick and clever enough to keep it all hidden from everyone. That’s important, though; it’s not just there to be a plot point; it’s a character trait. Dairine is more inclined towards secrets, which makes me think if this had been reversed, Diarine would have found a way to hide wizardry from her family. Here, she tucks the laptop into a pocket of magic (!!!!!) and is utterly unbothered by traveling to Manhattan by wizardry because WHY WOULD SHE BE AFTER WHAT SHE JUST EXPERIENCED. Thus, the museum becomes largely uninteresting to her because there’s something else looming in the near distance: Dairine now has a device that can do magic.

She approaches this laptop with wonder and childish excitement, and that means she does things that are wondrous and foolish in equal measure. (Which makes me wonder what her Ordeal will be. Is this it?) She smartly decides to see if there’s an instruction manual, THEN SHE DOESN’T CLICK ON IT, then she goes straight for travel, and she sends herself to Mars. So close to the safer option, yet so far away. I can’t fault Dairine all that much because while I’m often a stickler for following instructions when it comes to thinks like recipes or LEGO builds, I am also a rebellious little shit. If I found out I could safely travel to Mars, I probably would.

So I can’t deny that I admire Dairine for what she does here. The sheer scope of what she does here is unreal, y’all. She travels to Mars. She sees the sky from mars. She feels the wind. She looks at Olympus Mons while standing on the surface. SHE THEN TRAVELS TO THE TOP OF OLYMPUS MONS, THE TALLEST MOUNTAIN IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM. She looks at JUPITER from the mountain. JUPITER!!!

I am assuming, then, that High Wizardry is going to track Diarine’s decision to follow the aliens (!!!!) who left the plate inside the crater of Olympus Mons. SPACE TRAVEL. THIS BOOK MIGHT NOT EVEN UNFOLD ON EARTH AT ALL. How is it real? How have we been allowed to experience this? DIANE DUANE IS TOO GOOD TO US.

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:

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards.
– 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 have been announced here.
- 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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