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Diane Duane – High Wizardry

March 9, 2008

30. High Wizardry by Diane Duane (1990)
Young Wizards, book 3

Length: 338 pages

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy (with some definite sci-fi elements)

Started: 09 March 2008 (about 12:30)
Finished: 09 March 2008 (about 18:30)

Summary: When Nita told her family that she was a wizard, she knew there’d be some problems. What she didn’t expect was that her bratty younger sister Dairine would find her wizarding manual and take the Oath as well – and become a much more powerful wizard than either Nita or Kit. Dari’s Ordeal takes her far from home – on the order of several-trillion-light-years-type far – and pits her eleven-year-old brain against one of the eternal Powers… the Destroyer of Light himself.

Review: A quick read (took me three hours of actual reading time), and a pretty good action/adventure type story, with some nice descriptive writing thrown in. Unfortunately, this series has yet to really grab and hold my attention, and this book’s got some sci-fi elements mixed in with the fantasy that were probably pretty cool when it was first published, but 18 years later just make it seem dated to the point of being laughable. I mean… controlling wizard’s magic using DOS prompts and MBASIC programs on an Apple IIIc with 800kb of storage? Really? The final conflict is interesting, and involves most of the really nice writing, but it gets a little metaphysical for all of the space travel and computer-geek stuff that came before it, and there’s not enough denouement to wrap things up satisfactorily in my mind. Also, although this is clearly meant to be Dari’s book, it suffers a little for pushing Kit and Nita into supporting roles – they’re more sympathetic characters, and (I think) more interesting to read. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Not a terrible way to pass the afternoon, but it hasn’t aged particularly well, and it’s not something that’s likely to leave more than a passing impression.

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First Line: “Hey, there’s somebody in the driveway!”

Vocab:

  • p. 167: “The smoothness of it was strange: not even the maria on the moon were this smooth.” – any of the several large, dark plains on the moon and Mars (plural of mare).
    .
  • p. 238: “She hadn’t squirreled away anything in her claudication; she was going to have to find water.” – Defined as: a limp or a lameness. Clearly used differently in this context: A pinching or obstruction in some structure or medium – in this case, spacetime.
    .
  • p. 253: “She paged past Nita and Kit’s last run-in with the Lone Power and started skimming the précis before it for common factors.” – a concise summary.
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