In the second half of the fourth chapter of A Wizard of Mars, EMOTIONS. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.Â
Can I just state that I really adore Nita? She has grown so much from the first book in this series, and what happens in this chapter is a great reminder of that. The way she goes about reasoning with Dairine while also satisfying her fatherâ€™s concerns is mature as hell, and I canâ€™t claim to have EVER been that mature at her age. Maybe mature in different ways, but thatâ€™s a story for another time.
What I want to focus on is the challenging thing that Duane has set up for us. While the â€œmainâ€ plot of this book is probably going to cover what the wizards have found on Mars, this is still a significant subplot. Duane crafts Dairineâ€™s characterization in this chapter with grief in mind. I can see some similarity to how she reacted to her motherâ€™s death earlier in the series, but itâ€™s not an exact comparison. Here, Dairine is far more rude. She deliberately tries to get a rise out of Nita when Nita interrupts her during her training session with Nelaid. (We now have confirmation that she is pursuing a new form of wizardry and perhaps replacing Roshaun/Nelaid or assisting Nelaid.)
Itâ€™s classic Dairine, yes. Sheâ€™s always been rebellious and spiteful to an extent. But it almost felt over-the-top, at least if you didnâ€™t consider the context of why she was behaving as she did. Thatâ€™s why it was so jarring AND BRILLIANT that Nita didnâ€™t take the bait and instead disarmed Dairine with this:
â€œIf youâ€™d let him know what you were going to do first, you might have been in less trouble than you are now. Now youâ€™ve got a mess to clean up. The least you can do,â€ Nita said as Dairine opened her mouth to say something angry, â€œis let me help you get out of it so you can get on with business.â€
Seriously, SHEâ€™S SO CUNNING HERE. But I donâ€™t mean that word to imply that this is shady or that sheâ€™s being underhanded. Nita simply adapts her strategy in a way that acknowledges their situation â€“ both of them have wizardly pursuits that they prefer to be dealing with â€“ while also setting up a system by which their father can feel like he still knows whatâ€™s going on. Dairine continues to resist, but thatâ€™s Dairine for you. She thrives off independence, so the idea that sheâ€™ll have to be held accountable for her location and her actions feels tantamount to a personal betrayal.
But what other solution could there be? Sheâ€™s thirteen. Should she be allowed to run about the galaxy and shirk all her Earthly responsibilities, too? Thatâ€™s why Nita is brilliant for also threatening to tell Tom, who has the power to ACTUALLY GROUND DAIRINE. Nice move!
So while some of this is a mild power play, itâ€™s also ONE OF THE MOST EMOTIONAL SCENES BETWEEN THESE TWO. I honestly didnâ€™t expect Nita to bring up the uncomfortable subject of Roshaun, and certainly not in his palace. BUT THEN DAIRINE WENT AHEAD AND DID IT. Oh my god, yâ€™all:
But suddenly her sister was hugging her hard, her face buried in Nitaâ€™s vest. â€œOh, wow,â€ Dairine was saying, â€œoh, wow, I was so scared, I thought that heâ€“ and then I thought I was crazy; it didnâ€™t make any sense. But if you saw it, too, then itâ€™s true, heâ€™s not, not dead, heâ€™s notâ€“â€œ
Nita was bemused, but for the moment the safest course seemed to be to just hang on to Dairine while her sister got herself under control. â€œItâ€™s okay,â€ she said, â€œitâ€™s okay!â€ â€“while very much hoping it actually was.
Iâ€™M NOT OKAY, IF THAT MATTERS AT ALL. NOT AT ALL.
And then thereâ€™s Nitaâ€™s scene with her father! Because why not put me on an emotional rollercoaster in half of a chapter! I respect so much that even the adult in this scenario is struggling with the complications of the events from the previous book. Harry is trying his best to manage running a household and raising his daughters and keeping a successful business going. That means heâ€™s going to mess up, so Iâ€™m glad he apologizes for his abruptness towards Nita. LOOK, Iâ€™M A BIG FAN OF HEALTHY, CONSTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN KIDS AND THEIR PARENTS IN YA, ITâ€™S ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS.
I am overwhelmed, yâ€™all.
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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