In the seventh chapter of A Wizard Abroad, OH GOD, EVERYTHING HAPPENED AT ONCE AGAIN. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
The opening of this chapter really is the calm before the storm, isn’t it? Kit is there! We learn that Tom helped with a spell for the Treasures! The local papers are starting to report on “Silly Season,” which is their explanation for all the sideways occurrences. Given the random and absurd nature of these flashes, I found it entirely believable that the local media would take a humorous approach. A tiny dinosaur! Eating sheep! Most people would react in the same manner.
As an entirely separate thought: I still think Biddy is the hidden Power.
Anyway, I expected Duane to mostly focus on the complexities of Nita’s interactions with Kit and Ronan, who meet for the first time in this chapter. THIS SITUATION IS RICH WITH POTENTIAL. Obviously, Kit was gonna feel weird about the whole thing, since he’s got feelings for Nita. Mutual feelings, I might add, though they’re not exactly the same. It didn’t take him long to realize that Nita’s relationship with Ronan was complicated, too. I didn’t get the sense that Duane was trying to build a love triangle or anything; instead, this is a bunch of teenagers trying to figure out how to behave towards one another, and add a foreign culture on top of that to make it even more challenging.
Which is why I was approximately 100% unprepared for the sudden and violent appearance of the Fomori (also referred to here on out as the drows). Look, y’all, you should just know at this point that I love scenes where the weird, the absurd, and the downright terrifying burst in on our world. Duane goes SO MUCH FURTHER THAN I WAS READY FOR as the newest sideways flash brings a veritable army of drows to Bray, and they FUCK. SHIT. UP. All they know is destruction, and the destruction wrought here is unreal. They tear apart anything in their way; one of them punches holes in a bank. And when Kit tries to destroy one of them, IT SPLITS INTO A SECOND VERSION OF ITSELF. Of course, the whole time I was preoccupied by something glaring: THERE WERE TONS OF NON-WIZARDS WITNESSING THE CHAOS AND I DID NOT KNOW HOW DUANE WAS GONNA DEAL WITH THIS. How??? You can’t explain away vicious gravel monsters who are punching their way through everything.
So what does Duane do to solve this? SHE DOUBLES DOWN. I had completely forgot about the debt that the Sidhe owed Nita, but holy shit. Not only do drows invade Bray, but then an entire wave of faeries on horseback pours into their world to defeat them and pay off a debt. It’s a beautifully written sequence, first of all, but the same thought plagued me. This was a lot for a non-wizard to experience all on its own, but all at once??? I have a hunch that at some point, Duane is going to open up this world in a really cool way, but I did understand the need to “patch” time so that things wouldn’t be more complicated than they needed to be. How could the Wizards deal with the public learning of their world and the sideways flashes? It’s a temporary fix that had to happen. Also: HOW COOL IS THAT WIZARDRY.
I would have been satisfied and thrilled by this chapter if it had ended there, but NO. THE QUEEN. THE QUEEN HAPPENS. They get to go into Sugarloaf to see the Queen of the Sidhe, and EVERYTHING ABOUT IT IS INCREDIBLE. First of all, I couldn’t help but be amused by Nita refusing to ride her own horse. Hey, she’s consistent! But you got to ride faery horses, Nita. APPRECIATE IT. I BARELY GET TO RIDE REGULAR HORSES. When Duane brings us to the Queen, it’s a spectacle in every sense of the word, from the complexity of her hair to her beauty to the way she talks and I just felt regal in her presence, y’all. REGAL. And I love that while she’s intimidating just by existing, I never got the sense that she was cruel or unfair. Indeed, she wants to be helpful.
So she gives up Fragarach, and in my favorite twist so far, only one of the three young wizards can hold it. You better believe I went into that scene convinced that Nita would be the one to do so, BUT NOPE. IT’S KIT. I love this SO MUCH. It was unexpected, and it also gives Duane a chance to put Kit into the action. If he wasn’t meant to be in Ireland, I’m sure the Powers would have found a way to prevent that. So this is a huge thing!
I CAN’T WAIT TO READ MORE.
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