In the tenth chapter ofÂ High Wizardry, Kit and Nita get closer to Dairine while learning of an important chance she may have. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to readÂ Young Wizards.
It is so nice to come back from a three week break in reviewing to a chapter like this. Ah, thereâ€™s so much worldbuilding here, and thereâ€™s character development, and EMOTIONS EVERYWHERE. I love it. LETâ€™S DO THIS.
Thereâ€™s so much delicious detail packed in to a very tiny space within this novel, and I find it rewarding to pick up on new things. The very idea of a Stationmaster is cool, but a Rirhait? OKAY, YES, AWESOME. Duane doesnâ€™t do that thing that some science fiction entities (cough Star Trek cough cough) do where theyâ€™re limited to humanoid depictions of alien species, so the Rirhait isâ€¦ sort of like a centipede? Even that feels limiting, of course, but itâ€™s the understanding that Nita and Kit have of the creature, so thatâ€™s the basis Iâ€™ll go off of. The Stationmaster is unnamed here, but theyâ€™re still an important character. I noticed that within the fabric of this world, thereâ€™s an inherent respect for wizards and wizardry, and I love that this is unquestioned. Yes, Nita does what she can to adjust to the idea that just invoking wizardry can get her things, but mostly? She and Kit just have to move on.
We learn of the history of the Crossings, how it mostly found by accident, and how it has come to be a technical marvel where â€œworldgates were generatedâ€¦ at the drop of a whim.â€ Thus, itâ€™s easy to imagine that the Stationmasterâ€™s life is busy as hell. So Dairineâ€™s little flight from the BEMs? Well, to call it â€œdisruptiveâ€ would be an understatement. Yet when Nita and Kit watch the â€œsurveillanceâ€ footage of the chase, the fight isnâ€™t an abstract thing or an anecdote. The Crossings was host to something really scary, and not knowing definitively if Dairine survived it makes it all the more horrible.
The Lone Power
Yet the reason Dairineâ€™s Ordeal is so important comes to the fore through this. The Satrachi/BEMs are just dupes, placeholders who did the Lone Powerâ€™s bidding through manipulation. However, this helps Kit and Nita come to a realization:
â€œI know. Kit, do you think â€“ Tom said something was about to â€˜tip over.â€™ Some major change. Do you think what he meant was that the Lone One was about to loseÂ completelyÂ somewhere?â€
Itâ€™s an intriguing concept, especially since it hinges on aÂ choice. Yes, Kit and Nita have â€œdefeatedâ€ the Lone One in smaller and bigger battles, but not in a significant way to make It disappear. But what if Dairineâ€™s Ordeal is about compelling the Lone One toÂ choose to rejoin the Powers? What if itâ€™s not about some big defeat or battle, but a conversation, a spark of hope that the Lone One can be part of the universe in a more positive way? Itâ€™s entirely possible that Picchu is right: Dairine has the right raw materials at the right time to affect something like the Lone Power. ButÂ how?
Yâ€™all, the Lone Power isÂ tired.
And itâ€™s here that the story shifts to something deeply personal for the two main characters. After the events in the first couple books, Nita and Kit have come to understand evil in a way they could not have anticipated. Thereâ€™s something to be said for how young they are, too! I often bond with other people about how I didnâ€™t get to have a rosy childhood/upbringing like most people. In a sense, neither have these two either.
Through this experience, though, Nita and Kit have become best friends, which is complicated by their mutual attraction. Whether thatâ€™s more physical or emotional is sort of beside the point at this stage of the story; both acknowledge fairly openly in chapter ten that itâ€™s real and that it exists. Thereâ€™s a fear they canâ€™t ignore either: what if this ruins everything?
â€œSo,â€ and her voice stuck again, and she had to clear her throat to unstick it. â€œI like you, thatâ€™s all. A lot. And if you start liking somebody that much, well, I still want to keep the team going. If you do. Thatâ€™s all.â€
AHHHHHH THIS IS A MORE MATURE CONVERSATION THAT MOST ADULTS HAVE, AND I LOVE THAT DUANE WRITES THESE TWO LIKE THIS. Itâ€™s not to suggest that this isnâ€™t difficult for either of them, and we definitely can sense the awkwardness from Nita. But theyâ€™re willing toÂ try, and that matters a lot!
CAN WE JUST ACKNOWLEDGE HOW SPITEFUL THE LONE POWER IS TO CAUSE A STAR TO GO NOVA JUST SO IT CAN KILL NITA AND KIT? THE LONE POWER SACRIFICES THE SATRACHI IN AN INSTANT TO MAKE THIS ATTEMPT, AND ITâ€™S SO, SO AWFUL.
WHAT THE HELL, EVERYONE.
Diane Duane is still offering a massive discount on the first 9 books in theÂ Young WizardsÂ 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.
– IÂ 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.Â My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
-Â Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook!Â I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!