Mark Reads ‘A Wizard Abroad’: Chapter 5

In the fifth chapter of A Wizard Abroad, Nita comes clean with her aunt, visits a new place, reunites with a friend, and is shocked by someone else. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.


Under the Hill

I went into this expecting Annie to know that Nita was a wizard, but in hindsight, that actually makes no sense. If she knew it, wouldn’t she be relieved to know that her wizardly abilities were passed on? Wouldn’t she have told Nita the truth about the ghosts? So yeah, my bad, that was such a terrible theory. But that meant it was SO INCREDIBLY COOL to watch Annie realize that her niece was a wizard. 100% worth it, would try again.

But Duane doesn’t linger here at all, and as much as I wanted them to have a conversation about wizardry, this was not the time. They had entered the hill! They were about to meet the Sidhe, the people of the hills! YES. YES. YES. I wanted this book to become more fantastical, and it’s great that it’s doing so in such a distinctly Irish way. The Sidhe are described incredibly here, and one of the things I enjoyed about this was how Duane conveyed the super realness of everything in this world. That’s a very odd thing to describe, but I believe Duane succeeded. These people live in a place that is more concrete, and so, Nita feels like her own world is somehow fake. Which reminded me of the times I’ve been to places like Vancouver or Yosemite, where the picturesque views are so pretty and detailed that they actually look unreal. Like, Yosemite looks Photoshop. I know that’s an absurd thing to say, but it’s just so beautiful, and the size and scale of everything feels impossible.

Now, I can’t speak with any sort of expertise on the Sidhe because I’ve only tangentially known about them from books and other people. (I recall someone at last year’s Dublin event mentioning them.) So I don’t want to go into this and say that I know whether or not Duane’s written about this bit of Irish mythology with any respect. Which I hope she has! But I get the sense that she did her research and that these people are represented as they are because of how they’re portrayed in mythology. But let’s say that you go into this chapter knowing absolutely nothing of the Sidhe. (I’m fairly close to that.) Duane still gives us a sense of their immense power. Their honor. The way they seem intimidating without even trying. And in Nita, we’ve got a character who knows to respect and honor them while also being herself.

Anne’s not all that different from Nita here, either. Both women speak plainly but respectfully to the Amadaun and the other Sidhe, yet they don’t stray from telling the truth, either. Which I saw as a part of their wizardry; wizards tell the truth, y’all. (And from a writing stand point: it’s so cool to see how consistent Duane is on this.)

So, what do we learn from all of this? Well, the re-enactment of the old battle between the Lone One might be necessary after all. I noticed a similarity between this and Deep Wizardry; wasn’t the Song like this in that regard? This is physical in a different sense, though, and the thing that these people need to stop is from a past existence; it’s not the Lone One trying to conquer this world again. (Which is a weird idea anyway, since the Lone One was accepted back into the Powers after High Wizardry.) But aside from talking of the mythology, its importance, and the logistical problems of the Treasures, there’s actually no real plans made. And I get that! I don’t even know how they’ll approach this problem, but it’s also indicative of the kind of wizardry done in Ireland. It’s got to be discussed and planned.

You’re a Wizard, Nita

I JUST LOVE DISCOVERY SCENES WHERE ONE CHARACTER GETS TO TELL A LONG-HELD SECRET. YES. THANK YOU. Duane’s treatment of Nita’s wizardry is so satisfying because it gives her an outlet she didn’t have before.S he has an ally! She has someone she can go to that isn’t the next town over! AND ANNIE IS SUCH A GREAT CHARACTER, TOO. Oh, the possibilities are endless. I want more history lessons from her. I want everything. EVERYTHING.

Surprise #1

Nita ran to her trailer door and threw it open. On the bed, Kit looked up in surprise, blinked at her. “Hi, Neets. What’s the scoop?”


“Well, I mean, you promised your folks that you wouldn’t come back to see me. But I never promised anybody anything. Because nobody asked me!”

AHAHAHAHAHAAHA KIT, YOU ARE MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. I genuinely believed that Nita would be in this by herself. Plus, given how complicated and frightening this errantry might be, I found it comforting to know that Kit was willing to provide support. I mean, YES, he totally came because he missed Nita (AWWWWWW), but he also knows he’s a better wizard as a pair.

Can we also acknowledge how cute it was that Nita showed off Kit to Annie immediately? Super cute.

Surprise #2

I don’t know how to deal with this. I DON’T. I was satisfied with the scenes where Nita showed Kit around via bicycle, and I just felt so good knowing they were reunited. And then Duane has to go and deliver a mystery that perplexes me more than anything else I’d seen so far. Given that wizards show up as they’re needed – there are few coincidences in this world – then I believe Kit arrived just on time to learn that Biddy is not who they thought she was. Look, how do I even explain this???

She saw Biddy look up; she saw the lightning lance down at the truck. The breath went right out of Nita in horror, for there was simply no way she could quickly extend her shield so far. But Biddy lifted her hand abruptly –

–and the lightning simply went elsewhere. It didn’t strike anything else, it didn’t miss; it just stopped… and went away. There wasn’t even a thunderclap.

Note that she does this WITHOUT WIZARDRY. NO WIZARDRY AT ALL. How??? How is that even possible in this world? My guess (which I made on video) was that Biddy was the Power that the fox warned of. That would explain this, right? Oh god, I hope so.

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.
This entry was posted in A Wizard Abroad, Young Wizards and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.