Mark Reads ‘A Wizard of Mars’: Chapter 16

In the sixteenth and final chapter of A Wizard of Mars, Nita and Kit deal with the aftermath. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.


This chapter may provide the only time I have ever seen all of the principal and secondary characters in Young Wizards in a single location and scene. AND IT’S PRETTY COOL. Part of me wishes that Helena had been here, just so she could have experienced the weirdness of it all. LIKE A DINOSAUR LOUNGING IN THE CALLAHAN’S YARD.

Alas, with the exception of Dairine, everyone is more or less given closure with this final chapter. This wasn’t Dairine’s book, so to speak, so I am not calling foul on Duane leaving her story (the search for Roshaun) completely open-ended. That’s most likely going to require a short story or novel or something. Maybe it’s one of the ones I’m going to read??? Anyway, this is neatly wrapped up without feeling convenient or cheesy, and that’s partially due to the way Duane reveals the fate of Shamaska in large-scale sense and then a very small one.

See, we learn here that the first “Martians” were uvseith, which I imagine has a complicated meaning, but more or less confirms that they were short-lived. They were the oldest species in this entire system, and the compounding traumas of moving to Mars, existing in stasis for ages, and then experiencing the events of this book pushed them to their limit. Even after finding peace separate from the Eilitt people, they still only lasted about 70,000 years. In the grand scheme of things, it feels so short, doesn’t it? Duane doesn’t give us the details on their decline and eventual extinction, instead choosing to leave that to our imagination. They simply ran their course.

But the wizards of our time simply did the best they could with a difficult and complicated situation, so there was lots of praise to passed around. That included understanding given to Kit, who may have made a number of mistakes, but he was under the influence of the hwanthaet that affected the Shamaska-Eilitt even more fiercely. And it was Kit snapping out of it that helped push Khretef to turn against Aurilelde! That’s a big deal! Granted, I still think Nita did the most in terms of opposing these people but IT’S A VERY COMPLICATED THING. I don’t feel the need to like… divide up credit? THEY WERE BOTH INCREDIBLE IN THEIR OWN WAY.

If anything, it’s also a sign of where these two wizards are headed. As Tom and Carl point out to them in this chapter, this is when young wizards begin to transition into adulthood. With that change comes complication. The Lone One isn’t as direct or demonstrative as when they confronted it in earlier years, and the events of A Wizard of Mars are a perfect example of that. The Lone One may not have manifested in a physical form like we’ve seen in nearly every book of this series, but that doesn’t mean It had no influence on events. What would the Lone One love more than wizards turning on one another, or the destruction of a planet in a solar system? This actually excites me, because now I’m curious if the ninth Young Wizards book will also be as complicated and morally grey.

I’m also curious if we’ll see more of Nita’s oracular ability. The vision she gets at the end of this book is unlike anything she’s ever experienced, y’all! If I’m not mistaken, she shared it with Kit! HAS SHE BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT BEFORE? On top of that, it wasn’t a glimpse of the future, but of the past… technically? Like, relative to them, of course, but she got to see the city of Shamaska after they had settled in. I was pretty much satisfied with this ending even without this part, but THEN DUANE HAD TO GO AND RUIN ME.

After a moment it came over to her, and Nita looked down at it, now bemused that she could have ever seen the creatures as strange or threatening. And then she caught something in its eyes, a familiar look –

I get around, said the large Presence behind the odd alien gaze. There are a lot more kinds of dogs in the universe than just the Earth ones.

Look, I hope that Ponch said something to Kit but also: 1000% NOT READY FOR THIS SCENE AT ALL. I suppose I also wasn’t ready to not hate Khretef or Aurilelde in this final sequence. That’s a testament to the story that Duane told, that I was able to understand why these characters had behaved as they did. They were manipulated and they were afraid. They were affected by countless eons of hatred and prejudice. Duane doesn’t excuse what they did, and they ultimately paid a price for what they’d done to themselves. But feeling sorry for them – or even pleased that they found ahppiness! – is still a reasonable thing.\

Finally: Y’ALL. NITA AND KIT ARE BOYFRIEND AND GIRLFRIEND. IT’S OFFICIAL. IT HAPPENED. I hope some of the stories or books I’m reading next will address this? Can all of them??? THANK YOU IN ADVANCE.

Okay, onwards to predictions, and then Interim Errantry!!!

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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