In the tenth chapter of High Wizardry, Kit and Nita get closer to Dairine while learning of an important chance she may have. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
It is so nice to come back from a three week break in reviewing to a chapter like this. Ah, there’s so much worldbuilding here, and there’s character development, and EMOTIONS EVERYWHERE. I love it. LET’S DO THIS.
There’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 doesn’t do that thing that some science fiction entities (cough Star Trek cough cough) do where they’re limited to humanoid depictions of alien species, so the Rirhait is… sort of like a centipede? Even that feels limiting, of course, but it’s the understanding that Nita and Kit have of the creature, so that’s the basis I’ll go off of. The Stationmaster is unnamed here, but they’re still an important character. I noticed that within the fabric of this world, there’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 “worldgates were generated… at the drop of a whim.” Thus, it’s easy to imagine that the Stationmaster’s life is busy as hell. So Dairine’s little flight from the BEMs? Well, to call it “disruptive” would be an understatement. Yet when Nita and Kit watch the “surveillance” footage of the chase, the fight isn’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 Dairine’s Ordeal is so important comes to the fore through this. The Satrachi/BEMs are just dupes, placeholders who did the Lone Power’s bidding through manipulation. However, this helps Kit and Nita come to a realization:
“I know. Kit, do you think – Tom said something was about to ‘tip over.’ Some major change. Do you think what he meant was that the Lone One was about to lose completely somewhere?”
It’s an intriguing concept, especially since it hinges on a choice. Yes, Kit and Nita have “defeated” the Lone One in smaller and bigger battles, but not in a significant way to make It disappear. But what if Dairine’s Ordeal is about compelling the Lone One to choose to rejoin the Powers? What if it’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? It’s entirely possible that Picchu is right: Dairine has the right raw materials at the right time to affect something like the Lone Power. But how?
Y’all, the Lone Power is tired.
And it’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. There’s something to be said for how young they are, too! I often bond with other people about how I didn’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 that’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 it’s real and that it exists. There’s a fear they can’t ignore either: what if this ruins everything?
“So,” and her voice stuck again, and she had to clear her throat to unstick it. “I like you, that’s all. A lot. And if you start liking somebody that much, well, I still want to keep the team going. If you do. That’s all.”
AHHHHHH THIS IS A MORE MATURE CONVERSATION THAT MOST ADULTS HAVE, AND I LOVE THAT DUANE WRITES THESE TWO LIKE THIS. It’s not to suggest that this isn’t difficult for either of them, and we definitely can sense the awkwardness from Nita. But they’re willing to 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 IT’S SO, SO AWFUL.
WHAT THE HELL, EVERYONE.
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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