Mark Reads ‘Wizards at War’: Chapter 13, Part IV

In the fourth part of the thirteenth chapter of Wizards at War, the wizards realize just how badly they’ve got it. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.

THIS WAS AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.

I felt terrible. The opening sequence with Carmela was unbearable, y’all, and knowing that there was no wizardry to save any of them made matters worse. There’s also the particular terror built into this because Carmela was never a wizard to begin with, so the Lone One’s focus on her felt cruel to me. How? How could any of this be turned on its head?

I felt elation. Watching Carmela reveal that the King DIDN’T ACTUALLY HAVE CONTROL OVER HER was incredible, as was the killing blow that she delivered with her curling iron weapon. Look, this long sequence doesn’t give us any concrete explanation for Carmela’s trick against the King, but I’d like to think that it’s because she’s just so amazing and THAT’S ALL I NEED. I do wonder if it’s because she isn’t a wizard, or perhaps the theory that the Yaldiv don’t know human minds is actually the explanation. Regardless, the moment was electrifying, and I was so thrilled reading it because CARMELA MATTERED. The non-wizard was the one who KILLED THE KING.

And then it hurt. A LOT. FOR A VERY LONG TIME. We are brought to a point of terror with Carmela, and then Carmela brings us out of it. But Duane settles into a long period of dread and doubt, and she does so by painting a picture of impossibility. The Lone One steps out of the messy corpse of the King and reveals that everything these wizards did was pointless. Why?

Because It shut out wizardry before Memeki could accept her role as the embodiment of Hesper. Which means that Memeki will die a Yaldiv, which means they’re all trapped on Rashah, which means that the Lone One succeeded so wholly that it can now redirect Its power to punish the worlds of all the wizards who tried to stop It.

I felt despair. And for a moment there, this started to feel too believable. Look, I knew that Kit, Nita, and Ponch nearly got stuck in Darryl’s mind before, and I also knew that the Lone One was a huge fan of trope-y monologues full of gloating. The Lone One really loves those. (What’s the fun in victory if you can’t gloat?) But given how much harm had already been done prior to this, I started worrying that there might still be untold horrors awaiting them all even if they defeated the Lone One. The Pullulus was still running its course. Could it even be stopped? What if something horrible had happened on Earth?

Once the Lone One started describing how it would torment all the gathered wizards’ worlds, though, I felt real terrible. There’s a finality to the text, one that was made all the more real because I knew there wasn’t much left in this book. The big roadblock, though, was that I could not see a solution. No one knew these wizards were on Rashah. No one could use wizardry to escape or fight back or turn wizardry on for the others. Everyone aside from Sker’ret was present and accounted for, and the Lone One confirmed the Sker’ret was being kept busy. So, no deus ex machina, right?

And then I felt shocked and sad. There was something one could do without wizardry, but I never even considered it. The One’s Champion could fight back against the Lone One… but only if freed from their embodiment. There’s a tragic irony that in sacrificing his life, Ronan may very well have saved all other life in the universe. Granted, we don’t have 100% confirmation that he’s dead, BUT HE ISN’T BREATHING AND HE THREW A SPEAR THROUGH HIS OWN CHEST. He’s dead, right? And look, I have been bracing myself for the collateral damage of this war because it’s a war. Someone was going to die. But I’d crossed Ronan off that list internally because he had the One’s Champion inside of him. That kept him safe, right?

It’s a one-two punch, though. Ronan releases the Champion through sacrifice, wizardry is returned, and Memeki accepts her role as the embodiment of Hesper. SHE THEN PROMPTLY DIES BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE HAD TO. Ugh, why didn’t I think of that either?

I felt wistful. This was bittersweet. The arrival of Hesper is a million times more grandiose and joyful than I expected. (RAINBOW GLITTER!!!! OUR QUEER HERO HAS ARRIVED!!!) But it’s tempered by the very personal sorrow of the loss of Memeki and, as far as I can tell, Ronan. It is wonderful that the Lone One has been banished from Time briefly, that the Yaldiv were freed from their enslavement, that there is now hope that maybe this won’t turn out so badly. But Ronan, y’all. He isn’t really dead, is he???

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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