In the tenth chapter of A Wizard Abroad, the wizards prepare for battle. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
It feels surreal how close to the end of this book I am. Part of that is due to the fact that just in terms of timing, I started this book right as I began to write in advance of my month-long trip. That means I got to read nearly every chapter of this book in a very short amount of time, which is rare in the Mark Does Stuff world. Then there’s the whole beautiful coincidence of me traveling abroad immediately after finishing this book, and I just feel all sorts of things about A Wizard Abroad that never were intended. That’s one of the fun aspects of doing what I do. Books can mean an infinite number of things to us, and I want to explore why that is.
For example: I desperately want to spend the night in a castle. I’ve never gotten the chance to do that. (I have, however, spent the night in a hostel in Ottawa that used to be a jail. It was awesome, and I would totally do it again.) So, just by virtue of the setting, I was already 100% into this. GOOD JOB, DUANE, CORNERING THE MARKET ON MY UNIQUE INTERESTS. It’s also fascinating to me that at this point, none of this seems strange to Nita at all. She wakes up in a castle and then goes and watches a demigod of sorts forge a spear made out of the nucleus of a star. It is ENTIRELY ORDINARY TO NITA CALLAHAN.
Where Duane focuses her tension instead is the promise of the coming conflict. This is a normal occurrence for Nita, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready for the fight that’s about to come. The sheer amount of unknown variables is what scares me the most. Sure, I have an idea what the story is; the history has been repeated multiple times. But what if this doesn’t work? There’s literally no back-up plan at all, and that’s my worry. What if the Treasures are not enough? What if Ronan can’t channel the Champion at the right time? I HAVE NO IDEA.
Plus, there’s more reason for angst within this chapter alone. There’s Biddy, who admits to Nita that she’s more or less forged her own death into the Spear. This is it for her, and I’m now preparing for the fact that she’ll die by the end of this book. She’s lived an incredible life up to this point, but her own body can’t last much longer. It’s Nita’s conversation with her that causes Nita and Kit to frankly discuss their own mortality. If one of the Powers is going to die, who can guarantee that either of them will survive? Again, Duane puts these teenagers on the same level as the adults. It’s Nita who reminds Biddy of her duty to Ireland and to the wizardry constructed around her name, not the other way around. And as frank and honest as Biddy is about death, so are Nita and Kit. AT FOURTEEN.
Honestly, their conversation back in the castle is one of the most mature things I’ve read in a YA book, y’all. It’s done so well, namely because thse two accept that they’re doing dangerous things and they’re willing to die for what they believe. AT. FOURTEEN. But I imagine that it’s also possible to derive some inspiration from what they talk about. Mortality isn’t an easy thing to discuss, but Nita and Kit provide an opportunity for that to happen.
The final third of this chapter covers the act of ensouling the Spear. The wizardry itself felt much more visceral than what I’ve read in this series, and I think that’s due to the fact that it ended up with an inanimate object feeling alive. The power called to it was such a new thing for me because of it’s living nature. This is not like a wizardry for a utilitarian purpose! It’s a summoning, and thus, Duane imbues the scene with a frantic urgency:
What was coming definitely meant well… maybe a little too well for mortals to bear. It wanted all things healed, everything made well, no matter what pains it cost: everything being put right, straightened, filled–
YEAH, THAT’S PRETTY INTIMIDATING. But it’s nothing compared to the unnerving sensation the Spear gives off after the wizardry is completed. THEY CAN FEEL IT LOOKING AT THEM. That’s especially so for Ronan, which put to rest any concerns I had for him being unable to connect with the Spear. Lord, that thing was made for him. What’s he going to be like during the fight while holding it???
Mark Links Stuff
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