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Diane Duane – The Book of Night with Moon

September 19, 2008

114. The Book of Night with Moon by Diane Duane (1997)
Feline Wizards, Book 1 (related series to Young Wizards, published after Book 4)

Length: 446 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Started: 14 September 2008
Finished: 18 September 2008

Your cat isn’t weird,
it’s a wizard. This book was
not as fun as hoped.

Summary: Ever get the feeling that your cat knows something that it’s not telling you? Or that it was trying to talk to you, if only you could understand its language? Ever wonder what your cat was doing during the periods when it seemingly disappears? If so, your cat might actually be a wizard. This book is set in the same universe as Duane’s Young Wizards series, but it’s not concerned with the human wizards, Nita and Kit (although they do make a brief cameo), but rather a team of feline wizards. Rhiow and her team are in charge of maintenance and repair of the Grand Central Station worldgates, which is frequently fairly routine. However, when one of the gates starts malfunctioning in a way they’ve never encountered, they’ll have to go downside to fix the problem – down to the source of the gates, at the heart of the world tree, and face hordes of enemies who grudge them their position in the sun… not to mention the one true enemy, the Lone Power, himself. And, to make things even more unpredictable, they also have to take care of a brash young kitten who is on his wizarding Ordeal – but may have powers they can’t begin to understand.

Review: This book was not nearly as much fantasy-lite, fluffy fun as the Young Wizards books I’ve read so far (up through High Wizardry). It’s a lot more dense, a lot more packed with mythology and metaphysics, and a lot harder to get through. Although it doesn’t directly tie into the events of the Young Wizards series, I don’t think it would really work as a stand-alone, either – the way that magic works, and the mythology of the Lone Power, and the system of gating and wizarding Ordeals, etc., are too complicated and not explained clearly enough in this book to make sense to someone who wasn’t already familiar with Duane’s world. I think I actually enjoyed the magic parts least in this book – it got pretty ponderous and heavy, without much actually happening, albeit with the exception of the T. Rex eating Luciano Pavarotti (I only wish I were kidding.) The parts with the cats just being cats were funnier, and much more enjoyable. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Cat people might enjoy this book for its featuring cats as the protagonists (I’m not a cat person, so I can’t say for certain.) Otherwise, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the fantasy aspects, and I wouldn’t really recommend it except to people who really love Duane’s wizarding universe.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Links: Diane Duane’s website, Young Wizards series website

Other Reviews: SF Site, Jandy’s Reading Room, The Geekess, Goddess Librarian

First Line: They never turn the lights off in Grand Central; and they may lock the doors between 1 and 5:30 A.M., but the place never quite becomes still.

Vocab:

  • p. 77: “The word was a metonymy: Rhoua was a name of Queen Iau, of the One, in Her aspect as beginner and ender of physical life.” – a figure of speech that consists of the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related, or of which it is a part, as “scepter” for “sovereignty,” or “the bottle” for “strong drink,” or “count heads (or noses)” for “count people.”
    .
  • p. 173: ““You’re good at this, Saash,” Rhiow said, “you do the honors. . . . I need to check those palimpsests that Ehef mentioned.”” – a manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely erased and often legible.
    .
  • p. 332: “Massive-jawed saurian shapes leaned out into the abyss in heroic poses, corded with muscle; others stood erect on mighty hind legs, stately, dark, tails coiled about their bodies or feet, as pillars or the supports of arches or architraves: scaled caryatids bent uncomplaining under the loads that pillars should have borne.” – a molded or ornamental band framing a rectangular opening, also called epistyle; a sculptured female figure used as a column.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2008 2:01 pm

    Oh wow! Sounds kinda neat! I’ve heard a little bit about the Young Wizards series but I haven’t read it. My cat is always disappearing on me :o)

  2. September 20, 2008 1:50 pm

    Well, this book provides a pretty good explanation for the disappearing-cat phenomenon, that’s for sure. I’d recommend reading at least the first of the Young Wizards series first, though, or else I don’t think the magic system will make a lick of sense.

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