Mark Reads ‘Games Wizards Play’: Chapter 1, Part I

In the first half of the first chapter of Games Wizards Play, I AM SO GLAD THIS WAS A GAME, I GOT REALLY WORRIED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards

SO: This was originally not supposed to be split up, but the combination of my sore, itchy throat from a cold made it hard to read, AND some stranger rang my doorbell/buzzer right around the halfway point, so I cut the video off around then. This normally doesn’t happen, but it was like the universe granted me a chance to give my throat a rest for the day, so I TOOK IT.

(And if you’re at all curious, it truly was a stranger at the door. I have no idea who they were; it was some older lady who spoke Spanish and was convinced someone else lived in my apartment and I had to close the door on her because she wouldn’t leave. WTF.)

We are here regardless, right at the start of my tenth Young Wizards book, and WOW, THIS ONE WASTED NO TIME AT ALL. You’re allowed to laugh at the fact that it took me like… a solid ten minutes? Maybe it was longer than that before I realized that this was a game. I think the major clue was that Kit didn’t seem all that upset that he was right next to a dead wizard. WHICH SEEMED INCREDIBLY UPSETTING TO ME, OKAY?

But this opening sequence—which is eventually revealed to be an elaborate alien invasion scenario game—is a whole lot of fun. Duane drops us into it, and she only gives the reader tiny context clues to understand what’s happening. And it’s still a thrilling sequence because there’s a time constraint on it, and we don’t know why that is. But the lack of terror over a wizard’s death, combined with usage of the word “team” made me think that this might be the game referred to in the title.

That’s a premature guess, though, and I’m not sure that’s what is intended by Games Wizards Play. I certainly have a lot of questions about how these young wizards are able to have competitions like this on the moon. It’s brilliant of them to use the darker side so that their activities aren’t spotted by anyone on Earth. It also buys them time to clean up their messes, so to speak! But are these games officially sanctioned or organized? Or did the kids come up with it, and they just haven’t attracted the attention of anyone else? Something tells me that this wouldn’t get past Tom and Carl and certainly not the planetary for Earth. So…. officially run games of some sort? Are they all disaster scenarios like this? What happens when a wizard “dies” in one of these simulations? Are these part of some kind of training or something, or—even better—is this how wizards ENTERTAIN themselves?

Oh, there’s just so much potential here just from this one scene ALONE. I don’t even know what the main story is going to be, but I enjoy this A GREAT DEAL. It’s nice to see the wizards forced to come up with solutions to problems in this environment, especially since it requires such quick thinking on their part. Kit’s ingenious solution to the aliens is a lot of fun, and it’s not like we’ve seen wizardry quite this instantaneously destructive. It’s the closest to something like a video game in all the books in terms of dramatic and physical impact, you know?

AND SO MANY NEW WIZARDS!!! Will I get to see any of them again???? I JUST WANT TO KNOW, OKAY.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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