In the first half of the third chapter of Wizards at War, the process begins. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
This book is ALSO going to hurt me, isn’t it?
This might just be my own perception here, and I’m fine with that. I have a very complicated notion of family and what it means to have a home. That’s probably not surprising to anyone who has stuck around here for a while. This isn’t necessarily about that, though. It’s about other people. I remember every person who did the same thing Nita did here with Sker’ret. It was basically an open secret in high school that I was living on my own, bouncing from floors to couches to laundry rooms. Part of the reason the news spread so quickly my junior year was because it smashed the common perception that I was a goody two-shoes or a mama’s boy. I had built a reputation for being super smart and way too nice and always unwilling to break the rules. Finding freedom from my home life empowered me, and people saw that change.
While some folks were just nosy or unhelpful, there were a handful who instead offered me kindness. They didn’t know the details of what had happened and often, they didn’t even ask. Instead, they simply told me that if I ever needed somewhere to crash for the night, I could count on them. If I needed a meal, I could just give them a call. One of my friend’s parents actually hired me to do chores around the house that they needed done but didn’t have the time for. I’d work for four or five hours on Saturdays, doing yard work or organizing a garage for cash. Those weekends helped me eat. Pay for bus fare. Afford all the costs of going to school that many kids don’t ever have to think about.
I don’t know what’s going on in Sker’ret’s family. The details aren’t as important as Nita unconditionally granting him a place to stay if he needs it. That’s something you don’t forget.
BUT APPARENTLY I FORGET TERTIARY CHARACTERS WHO PROVIDE NECESSARY THINGS FOR NITA. I mentioned this in video, but Duane repeatedly grounds her fiction in things that are just utterly real. I’ve enjoyed the way the Young Wizards series has intertwined this fantastical life within a pretty ordinary existence for American teenagers. Y’all, THEY WENT TO THE MALL IN THE LAST BOOK. So while this awful future hangs over the main characters’ heads, we still can’t forget that they have to maintain a semblance of normalcy in their outward-facing lives.
Enter Dr. Millman. Oh, what a GREAT character, y’all. He’s sympathetic to Nita, and that’s understandable. He knows wizards, so he knows that WEIRD SHIT happens. It’s often unexplainable to non-wizards, and he accepts that. At the same time, Duane doesn’t write him as a mere solution to this problem. No, he’s very much a full character in his own right. He’s suspicious; he asks questions; he wants to slake his own curiosity. And even though he wants to help Nita, he only does what he can within the limitations of his job. I loved this part in particular:
“And I’m reluctant to lie about this, not just because lying is wrong, but because it undermines my relationship and my contract with the school.”
He’s doing something that is justifiably selfish. I know that word has a negative connotation, but I don’t see it as a negative thing in ever context. Dr. Millman can’t risk losing his job and his ability to help other students over this. Sure, there’s the whole END OF THE WORLD thing hanging all over this, but what if Nita, Kit, and Dairine solve this problem, but then Dr. Millman gets fired? Is that worth the risk?
Seriously, where’s Dr. Millman’s backstory? I WANT IT.
The Rodriguez Household
I don’t think Kit’s parents are going to be too thrilled about him being thrown into another wizardry so soon after the last one, and that’s complicated even more since this problem is so huge and frightening. And what of Carmela? She’s so comfortable with the Speech and with the weirdness of the universe that part of me thinks she won’t be phased by any of this, you know?
This chapter is split in half due to length, but even thus far, I appreciated that Duane had both characters jump into solving this mess so quickly. Nita dealt with her new housemates and the problem of school, and Kit is already trying to determine what caused the initial outbreak of dark matter. Lord, I need more of this!
I am thrilled to confirm that I will be a Guest at CrossingsCon 2017! Badges are now available, so COME HANG OUT WITH ME THIS SUMMER.
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