Mark Reads ‘A Wizard of Mars’: Chapter 14, Part I

In the first half of the fourteenth chapter of A Wizard of Mars, hell hath no fury like a Nita scorned. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.

I am in awe. NITA, YOU ARE INCREDIBLE, THIS IS SUCH AN AMAZING DEVELOPMENT FOR HER CHARACTER. I love it! I love the emotional catharsis that comes from Nita’s refusal to play Aurilelde’s game and her mastery of a spell that is, frankly, a little terrifying. But it has to be. We have to see the power that Nita can wield, we have to understand that she’s escalating this, we have to know that finally, definitively, Nita Callahan is becoming an adult wizard. As many times as she has had to make highly emotional and risky decisions in every book of this series, this chapter presents the culmination of it all. Now I understand why Duane invoked adulthood earlier when Nita was having that internal debate about whether or not to “spy” on Kit’s manual. This is where she is at now, and she’ll never be able to turn back from it.

I feel like I’m making this sound dire as hell, but it’s a good point of no return. You know, I don’t think there’s always a decisive moment in which a person becomes an adult. I mean, I’d say that if I was to examine my own life, it was the day I got kicked out of the house. But that’s an externality; that’s an outside force that required me to become an adult. Emotionally, however… yeah, I couldn’t pin that down. I’d have to think about that for quite some time, to be honest with y’all, because I still don’t frequently feel like I’m adult. (THANKS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.)

It’s easier with Nita because I’m viewing it from the outside, and to me, this feels like a precipice. Nita sees that massive wave coming from her, discovers that Aurilelde has blocked all shielding and transit wizardries, and adapts. That in itself is impressive to me, but it’s what she decides to adapt with that really blew me away. As she had realized earlier in the book, adult wizardry is often composed of making decisions that hinge on complicated costs, and pulling off the Gibraltar Passthrough Wizardry, designed by one of the greatest hydromages to ever exist, is exactly that.

But it’s not the physical or energy cost that made this so important. Here, Nita chooses to take her anger and fury at this entire situation, and she channels it into a harrowing and mystifying display of power. In short, I believed Nita when she said this:

“So you’d better believe me when I tell you that if you don’t answer my challenge right now, I’m going to instruct one of the two ends of this wizardry to terminate right there in that room with you, and the other to terminate over the City of the Shamaska, and then I’ll tell both of them to emit the same volume of water as you just dropped on me, with approximately a hundred times the force. The City will be destroyed.”

Perhaps it’s nothing but a bluff, yet I think Nita had to believe that there was a part of her that would really do this, at least because she couldn’t allow these beings to repopulate Mars and violently change this solar system. And then there’s the personal aspect to it: she wants to get back at the people who manipulated Kit and tried to bury him within Khretef.

Oh, y’all, I can’t wait for the confrontation. I CAN’T WAIT.


Nita pulled Kit out of the trap he fell in. IT WAS NITA. And I can’t forget that, y’all. I can’t forget that the image of Nita in that room, surrounded by the Shamaska, who look upon her with terror and fear and anger, and THIS IS WHAT HELPS KIT PULL HIMSELF OUT OF THE NOTHINGNESS WHERE KHRETEF SENT HIM. That, and Nita being hot, because WHAT BETTER TIME TO OPENLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF YOUR BEST FRIEND THAN WHEN YOU’RE TRAPPED WITHIN YOUR OWN BODY BY A MAGICAL FORCE THAT ALLOWS SOMEONE ELSE TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOU.

Highly relatable content, my friends.

But y’all: before Khretef admits that there may not be a way to stop what he started, was he close to admitting that he was wrong? That Kit was right about how this is all a disaster??? There’s that “long, unhappy silence,” and THAT IS BASICALLY AN ADMISSION, IS IT NOT???

Oh god, I’m not ready.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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