Mark Reads ‘Wizards at War’: Chapter 11, Part II

In the second half of the eleventh chapter of Wizards at War, everything is UNBEARABLE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards


The King

I found it daring as hell for Duane to introduce her characters to the King so soon. An antagonist like that is normally saved for some huge, climactic battle, but NOT IN THIS BOOK. The affect it has on the text is unavoidable: it casts a wretched pall over everything. Arrogance is a key feature of the Lone One, and never has it felt like it was more on display. Perhaps in The Wizard’s Dilemma, you could argue that the Lone One was pretty full of Itself, but there’s still a different context there: It believed it had them trapped inside Darryl’s mind. Here, however, there’s not much of a trap; these characters could still probably escape pretty quickly if they wanted. Indeed, the King’s nonchalance over the whole affair is what messed me up so much. It was so certain of victory that It let them GO ANYWHERE THEY WANTED. Why?

“They labor already,” said the King, his voice lazily, wickedly amused. “They labor to no purpose. And when their labor comes to an end, and the gift of Death comes to them all – very soon now – they will know that all their work, from the first to the last, has been in vain.”

Can you imagine being THIS certain? There is no doubt here in this statement, and that’s so intimidating. No threats of surveillance, no attempt to stop them from what they’re doing… just the absolute confidence that everything they do, they do for The One.



Oh, how did I not figure that Hesper would be a handmaiden the SECOND that class of Yaldiv was introduced? I should have known that the most difficult class to access is where the Instrumentality would be. The text basically said as much, since the group figured out how intentional it must have been to hide The One’s greatest enemy in a place It would never suspect it to be. What if the greatest enemy was one of the beings that fed and serviced the One’s avatar? What if the Instrumentality was right next to the Lone One the entire time? Even without the context of Dairine’s reaction to this being, this was still a huge moment. But come on, Dairine freaking out because she SEES HERSELF through the Instrumentality’s eyes is ONE OF THE MOST CHILLING MOMENTS IN THIS WHOLE CHAPTER. How odd must that be?

I understood why she freaked, but it was also strangely comforting to know that this being didn’t freak out in response. Perhaps that’s a good thing? Perhaps there’s a chance that she is curious and wants to know why all this weirdness is happening around her. AHHHHHHHH I CAN’T WAIT.


Oh, it’s just too much. Nita’s reunion with her father is tinged with dread because we know that Earth has descended into chaos. As Tom and Carl had warned, there was a high chance that the humans would begin to drift apart. That is the understatement of the year, y’all, because it’s so much worse than that. Multiple wars might be breaking out; the threat of nuclear annihilation is very real. (Y’all, doesn’t this sound a bit familiar? Oh gods, NO.) In a sense, there’s too much to focus on, so Nita turns her attention to the smallness of the moment: she talks to her father. She is honest about the conflict she is facing, but she also gets to be relieved. Her dad is okay! Sure, things are a bit of a mess, but the Worst Case Scenario didn’t happen. Her father is gonna talk to the Rodriguez family! So maybe everything is falling apart, but for the moment, her family is okay.

AND THEN EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY. Part of the reason this is such an intense experience is the loss of wizardry hangs over everything. We saw a couple examples of it, but nothing was so complete and total as Nita’s experience with Tom. It’s all gone, reduced to nothing but a memory of childhood roleplaying, and that’s so devastating. It makes this real. It gives it a face. And once that happens, your mind can’t ignore it anymore. It’s so much more difficult to be in denial when something of this magnitude happens. At least Duane ends this chapter with some hope, and I loved that we got that scene with the koi pond. Everything might seem impossible, but there’s still hope that things will turn out okay. In that moment, I was reminded that Dairine had located Hesper, so it’s true that they’re one step closer to saving the world.

I hope, that is.

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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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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