In the second half of the eighth chapter of Wizards at War, NOOOOOOOOOOOO. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Trigger Warning: For arachnophobia/spiders.
I SHALL NOT RECOVER, AND THE WORST PART IS THAT I PROBABLY HAVE TO FACE THOSE CREATURES AGAIN, OH MY GOD.
Let us all take a moment to appreciate that I wrote in the last review about how Duane made Ponch the quintessential dog, and then HE TOOK THEM ALL TO THE WORLD OF NOTHING BUT TREES AND SQUIRRELS. It is perhaps one of the best jokes in the whole series, as well as a needed moment of levity in a book that is really intense. The scene prior to this is daunting because of… well, the passage of time. The Pullulus. The threat of the end of wizardry. The fact that we know Dairine has vital information but is across the galaxy. And then Duane pops us into that world, and it’s beautiful.
Even better: IT’S NOT JUST A JOKE. Ponch went there on purpose in order to manifest a white squirrel that would help take him through all the various worlds in order to end up where they needed to be to find the Instrumentality. I love that this actually felt like a twisted reference to Alice in Wonderland, as if this was the white rabbit that would lead them down the rabbit hole into another world.
And that sequence was pretty spectacular, too. We’d been through it with Kit many times before, but now, the entire group got to experience what it was like to rapidly jump worlds with Ponch! Thus, I’m glad we got this section while in Nita’s POV; it kept it fresh for the reader and allowed us to see this through eyes. Of course, I constantly wanted them to stop and explore those other worlds because I’m selfish, but I understand why Duane didn’t. The rapidity with which they moved through these places added to the intensity of it all.
There’s also a very neat moment prior to this that’s not intense, but I found it insightful. The Defender within Ronan felt far more ambiguous last time we saw the two of them, but the Defender is far more present in this story. Nita actually has a conversation with Him, and it helped me understand what this experience was like. The Defender has lived in countless individuals throughout time, but I got the sense that no one had outright asked Him about it. It might not seem like much, but I appreciated it; it showed that Nita cared!
HOW DO I EVEN PROCESS THIS. Because Duane so regularly goes for the weird and the surreal in creating these worlds, it’s a challenge to even conceptualize some of these creations. I admit I don’t have much of a visual brain. (I deal with things like numbers, words, and concepts much better.) Yet this haunted me. The trees with branches that curled back down into the ground. The sun that boils and sears living life on the planet. The “oil” seeping out of the spongy earth. THEN THE SPIDER CREATURES WHO RIP BRANCHES FROM THE TREES AND THE TREES SCREAM AND SHRIEK AND WHAT IS THE WATERFALL SOUND AND WHY IS ANY OF THIS HAPPENING. It’s pure horror, at least to someone like me, who used to have a spider phobia but now just… doesn’t like spiders a lot. If I saw one of those horrific things in real life, you better bet I’d let the entire universe expand until it ended. I would rush into the Lone One’s arms INSTANTLY.
Okay, I jest, I jest. Still, those things are terrifying, and I don’t understand what the group’s next step is, especially since they’ve got to worry about DYING because of SPIDERS WITH CLAWS.
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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