In the first part of the seventh chapter of The Book of Night With Moon, the feline wizards team up with some familiar faces before heading to the old Downsides. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Feline Wizards.
I AM OVERWHELMED BY THIS. Both because it is an absolute pleasure to see Nita and Kit, and then there’s the terror of what’s waiting for the felines in the Downsides, and I AM BUBBLING OVER WITH TENSION.
So, let’s start with Nita and Kit, who I had worried were not who I thought they were once the text identified the “suburban kids” on the platform. But yes, y’all, MY FAVORITE YOUNG WIZARDS ARE HERE. And it’s not just a tiny cameo either, where these two characters are seen in passing. Kit and Nita were sent by Tom and Carl to provide necessary assistance to the feline wizards as they descend into the Downsides, and I love the perspective switch. I’m so used to being in their heads, and this is a chance to see these characters through a different lens. So I understand why there’s some reluctance on the part of the cats. Not only are these wizards strangers, but they’re very, very young humans. Now, there is always an understanding that young wizards generally have more power than older ones, so I imagine that they felt some comfort at that. But who knows if they’re the right wizards for the job? What if they’re too experienced at this?
So, initially, Rhiow has to rely on the knowledge that Tom and Carl wouldn’t have sent these wizards to her unless they were the right fit. If you’ve read Young Wizards, though, there’s a lot more we know about the subtext of what is said here. We get a sense for what time period this takes place—I suspect the “wizard’s holiday line means that this all occurred after the seventh book? It’s definitely after High Wizardry, since Dairine is confirmed to have been through her Ordeal already. (My god, I can’t believe I never saw the parallels between Dairine and Arhu. THEY’RE RIGHT THERE.) And the deli gate is mentioned, too! We hadn’t seen that in a LONG time.
Anyway, with Nita and Kit’s help at two separate gates, the feline wizards all head into the Downsides, and as tense as this all is, Duane softens it through the lovely humor of Arhu, who gets to experience being his true “spirit” for the first time. Like, who wouldn’t be overjoyed at getting to be larger and more fierce like that? I love how each of their coats and bodies are manifestations that are unique to who they are, and it’s not surprising, for example, that Urruah appeared more like a leopard. He certainly acts like a leopard in his own world, doesn’t he? So, with these new “coats” on, the cats prepare for the next part of the mission, and despite that they’ve told Arhu as much as they could—including about how they cannot spend too much time below without forgetting who they are—I’m still nervous. This kitten has not experienced much of anything, and this is about to be… a lot??? I only know this from Rhiow’s memories, and even then, I am bracing myself for the worst, especially considering this:
“There’s a blockage of some kind between this gate and the power source, the catenary. We’re going to have to go down and troubleshoot the linkage from the bottom up.”
Oh. So… am I right in assuming that the deeper they go, the worse things they might find? This is what I’m anticipating, and it didn’t help that there might be a drought in the caverns where they are heading??? How is that possible? What does that imply?
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