In the first half of the twelfth chapter of A Wizard of Mars, Nita struggles with a problem she avoided for a while, and Kit makes a decision. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
AHHHHH EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING, THIS IS ALL GOING TO COLLIDE AND RUIN ME, I JUST KNOW IT.
I appreciate that amidst one of the biggest plot twists in the entire Young Wizards series (DON’T DO IT, KIT), Duane gives us a significant moment of introspection for Nita. Granted, this is a plot thread that’s existed for a long time, either from the initial assumption that Kit and Nita would end up together, or from the many ways in which Duane hinted that this was possible. It feels fitting that now, as Kit is more or less seduced by this ancient being, that Nita’s feelings for her partner in wizardry are brought to the forefront.
But I love this for another reason aside from series continuity: It is an incredible exploration into the uncertainty of attraction. You know, as I got older, I thought that the terrors and anxiety of dating and romance would disappear or get easier. But just over two years ago, when I first started hanging out with Baize in the wake of a sudden and immensely upsetting break-up, I realized that… yeah, NOPE. Maybe it’s just me, but even in my thirties, I still went through this same struggle. Do they like me? Is it worth it to pursue romance or sex and risk ruining a friendship that’s already great? Do they like me?
I have a complicated relationship with attraction, of course, because who I was attracted to when I was Nita’s age was not possible. There was no chance that I could ever act on my attraction, so there’s a part of me that wonders if this is why I’m such an anxious mess the second I develop a crush. Perhaps my brain assumes the worst all the time??? THIS IS A GREAT CONCLUSION.
Anyway, that’s not the point of this. I wouldn’t want to say that Nita’s experience is universal because even in my case, where I experience romantic and sexual attraction, I can’t fully relate to everything here. But Duane explores Nita’s anxiety in a way that feels real regardless. It’s coupled with Dairine’s growth as well, and that character is one a completely different path. Actually, then there’s Carmela, too, and THERE ARE SO MANY COMPLICATED YOUNG WOMEN IN THIS BOOK, OH MY GOD. It’s just so satisfying!!! I don’t know where their stories are heading either. What sort of transformation is Dairine in the middle of? Will her temperament change because of her training? Her behavior here is odd, even for her.
CARMELA. SHE IS GREAT. SHE IS A HUGE PART OF THIS. And this desire I had – for Carmela to play a larger part in this series – has become canon in such an odd way, and I wouldn’t have it otherwise. She’s not a wizard, but she’s on a wizardly journey. It’s fascinating to see how her skill with languages evolves much like we’ve seen for the actual wizards, you know? Her power surged early on, and now, it’s settling down as Carmela gets better and better at a skill no non-wizard should have. What’s her place going to be in this world as this story evolves? I can’t wait to see!
Basically, I am expecting that all this is going to pay off in the end. But I’m also worried because these characters have a large amount of the information about what happened on Mars, yet they need to talk to Kit to get the rest of the picture. UGH, THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING.
Oh, Kit. KIT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING. He gets so close to an epiphany that would pull him away from this path that he’s on. Like, he realizes that waking up the Martians would be a logistical nightmare, given the EARTH IS RIGHT THERE NEXT TO IT, but then he veers into solutions that are costly and immense and KIT NO.
Here’s what I need to know: How the hell did Khretef end up within Kit’s consciousness? As far as I can tell, it wasn’t with Kit’s consent, unless this is something like reincarnation. But is that even possible within this world? It sounds like that’s the case, but:
There were hints that it could happen under some circumstances, but it seemed to be an elective issue, not necessarily enforced or enforceable. Apparently the One felt you were competent to decide if or when you were ready to come back, or how long a respite you needed from the business of errantry and life.
If that’s the case, then Kit is (understandably) ignoring that his decision-making process is now influenced by the presence of Khretef. Is Kit making these choices, or is it Khretef? How can you tell or de-tangle this mess of wills? See, that’s why I don’t trust this. If this was an honest attempt to waken these people, why influence a kid like this? Why omit details when telling Kit your story? I AM SUSPICIOUS. It doesn’t help that Khretef’s voice feels literally like a devil on Kit’s shoulder, goading him on to do things that he wouldn’t normally do.
Ugh, I’m so worried for Kit.
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