In the final two chapters of Lifeboats, everything is inevitable. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
I have thoughts about this novel that I’ll get to in greater detail when talking about the last chapter, but I was glad to get some closure when it came to Tevaral. All told, we didn’t spend that much time on it, and we only really saw maybe three whole locations on the planet. Everything was focused on Kit’s experience there, as well as his day-to-day routine. But the looming disaster of Thesba provided a haunting tone to Lifeboats, and given that first chapter, I spent the whole book wondering if we’d actually see Thesba’s destruction.
Duane’s approach felt more clinical than I expected, but I felt like it was a good move. It was almost like reading a stylized account of it from a wizard’s report. And despite that so much happened on that planet, I didn’t feel the sense of loss and tragedy that I expected to. Granted, the opening chapter kind of biased me to expect the worst, so I AM FINE BLAMING ALL OF THIS ON DIANE DUANE. There was a wistful sensation in me as Thesba tore apart, though. It’s sad to think that this world is just… gone. Forever. No one will ever be able to live on it again. And the entire population is spread out over multiple refuge sites, too! How will those populations evolve? How will they begin to resemble their own communities that exist separately of the others? Will the sibiks on different planets be able to communicate with one another, or are those connections severed?
It’s a complicated situation, but there’s no longer that sort of complication with those who had initially chosen to stay behind. Teveral is empty when it is destroyed, and its destruction is best described as such:
But then came the unexpected thing—terrible in the way that only events of such magnitude can be, fascinating even though frightening, a sight that would leave analysts working out the moments of inertia behind this particular events for months if not years to come.
I got the sense that Lifeboats was a bit of an experiment, and without knowing any of the behind-the-scenes stuff, I can only speculate. Actually, much of Interim Errantry felt like a chance for Duane to lower the stakes and give us a more day-to-day look into Kit’s life. That’s certainly the case with Lifeboats. I think that the means by which I read this novel meant that the middle section stretched out way longer than it would have otherwise. If I’d just sat and read this in a few sittings, perhaps it wouldn’t have felt so slow. I mentioned the pacing issue I had at times, but I also didn’t know what this book was trying to do, so I kept expecting something that largely wasn’t going to happen the way I thought it was.
So, it’s a matter of expectation meeting reality, and I do appreciate that Duane tried something different here, which isn’t something we really see in longstanding novel series. I enjoyed the book, but it hasn’t been my favorite. That being said: HOLY SHIT, WHAT AN ENDING. The one thread that wasn’t resolved by the twelfth chapter was Valentines Day. What exactly was Kit going to give Nita? Would it backfire? Would she appreciate it?
Look, I never doubted Nita for a second. Of course she would appreciate anything that Kit gave her, and I’m sure she knew that he was stressing out about it. But the gifts that they give one another… y’all, I feel INFERIOR. I thought the present I got Baize this year was good, but FUCK THAT. This is so amazing to me?
It’s the thoughtfulness that gets to me. I love that Kit combines a joke with something that is actually useful for Nita, something that reminds her that he is there for her when she needs him. Nita’s gift, on the other hand, is a reminder of their shared history. (Both gifts, that is.) Each of them found a way to demonstrate the love and respect they had for one another through 100% UNIQUE GIFTS. I just???? I AM SO OVERWHELMED, OKAY.
What an ending. Bravo! And now, onwards to Games Wizards Play, the last Young Wizards novel I’m reading. HOW HAVE WE GOTTEN HERE.
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