Mark Reads ‘A Wizard of Mars’: Chapter 6, Part II

In the second half of the sixth chapter of A Wizard of Mars, Nita visits a friend, then travels to Mars where EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.



I was so thrilled to get a chance to catch up with S’reee, and of course I am pleased that Duane took this a step further by having S’reee accompany Nita to Mars. MORE ON THAT LATER, THOUGH. S’reee has been quite busy since we last saw her in the previous book, and even that was much briefer than this. We get an update on the project that’s been bothering her for quite some time, which made me wonder: did we really dump depth charges into the Great South Bay? That sounds exactly like something that humans would do, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they littered the ocean floor.

Anyway, Nita’s suggestion for a solution is pretty clever, but I’m not expecting we’ll ever see this again in the book, given that the end of this chapter veers off into NOPEVILLE. But I’m glad that Duane devoted space within the text to show us that S’reee has a life outside of the main characters. From experience, I know how difficult it is to get that sort of balance. We manage to learn about wizardries S’reee is working, get to hear the story of Pellegrino, AND this happens:

“Well, there are other reasons to go out singing than just errantry,” S’reee said.

That was when Nita remembered that “out singing” had more than one meaning for a whale. “Whoa, wait a minute. ‘Ree, are you seeing somebody? You are! You’re finning around with someone!”

LIKE, THIS IS SO ADORABLE ALL BY ITSELF THAT I COULDN’T HELP FEELING HAPPY READING IT. S’reee is “dating” another whale who – BY THE WAY – is the whale version of a food critic. Were you ready for that? I CERTAINLY WAS NOT. But I also wasn’t prepared for this moment:

“Hey, great! Another wizard?”

“Oh, no, not at all. We can’t all date wizards, hNii’t!”

IT’S SO SUBTLE, I LITERALLY MISSED IT UNTIL DUANE POINTED IT OUT THROUGH THE TEXT. So… is this the book where Nita and Kit will actually address their attraction to one another??? This isn’t the sole reference thus far, so I think it’s fair to expect more. Maybe???


I do adore this character, and I’m certain I always will. I am also glad that Duane is exploring the ways in which Carmela grates on Nita’s and Kit’s senses. Some of that is pretty normal sibling stuff between Kit and Carmela, but Nita has a different reason to be frustrated with her. She is so much more casual about wizardry than she should be, and I’d chalk that up to Carmela not being a wizard more than anything else. She’s already used to her transit gate and her weapon and the ease with which she can straddle the worlds of wizards and non-wizards. I wouldn’t call her complacent, necessarily; she learned during the events of the last book just how dangerous all of this is.

But Carmela does feel some entitlement to wizardry. She doesn’t care that Kit won’t want her around, nor does she care if she’s about to interfere in some important wizardry. She just… does what she wants, consequences be damned. So it made sense with me that Nita felt some aggravation towards her, you know? Wizardry has a cost, and Carmela has found a way to use it without ever having to pay that cost.

Arsia Mons

So, a great deal of the information here is actually true in regards to Arsia Mons, but most especially the seven cave entrances named after women. ALL OF THEM LOOK IN ON PITCH BLACK DARKNESS. Thus, there was no way that this wasn’t going to make me super nervous. The fifth site had wizardry running and wasn’t blocked and I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WOULDN’T END WELL. As the trio descended into the volcano, I figured the worst that would happen is that they’d find another superegg. That was my working theory, and then it was proven wrong and I can’t.

The wand’s silver fire gleamed and slid down skin like green metal as the creature moved forward. It looked very like a scorpion: but it was almost the size of a Shetland pony. It had entirely too many legs and claws, and blank, cold polished-jade eyes.

I would like you to know that my soul has left my body.

Pouring along behind it out of the shadows came about fifty more like it, all their front claws scissoring together softly, making a grating, echoing whisper in the room of stone.

And that my body was just ground to dust by this cliffhanger. WHAT THE FUCK. Is this the creature that the superegg tried to mimic? WHAT ARE THESE?


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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