Duane, Diane: (103) High Wizardry

A few days ago, I was in mourning for my copy of High Wizardry, by Diane Duane, which is in storage somewhere. Yesterday, what should I see in the library but High Wizardry? Clearly, it was A Sign, so I checked it out and did a fast re-read yesterday and today.

This is definitely my favorite of the series, and probably its high point too (no pun intended). Nita’s kid sister Dairine (and if anyone can tell me how you pronounce that, I’ll be very grateful) has been offered wizardry at a very young age. The younger the wizard, the more vulnerable—but also the more powerful. The Powers clearly want Dairine to tackle a very big problem . . .

I love the last hundred pages of this—sense-of-wonder at its finest—so much that I can forget, between readings, the blatant scientific error behind one of the cool plot devices. [1] However, reconciling the end of this with the subsequent books is something of a dubious proposition. After this re-read, I suspect more strongly than ever that this was meant to be the last book in a trilogy (as I speculated a few days ago, in a post about A Wizard Alone). To me, this isn’t a book-destroying kind of problem, but it is a minor annoyance to have to pretend that subsequent books take place in a slightly alternate universe.

[1] If you’ve read the book and are curious, I posted about this to Usenet a while ago. Warning: these naturally contain spoilers. Here’s my original post, and some follow-ups that didn’t thread properly.


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  1. It’s pronounced dare-EEN (kinda like daring, but with emphasis on the second syllable). I actually liked The Wizard’s Dilemma more than A Wizard Alone, but it might have had something to do with watching Buffy going through the same thing at the same time. :^) Looking forward to Stealing the Elf King’s Roses and Meisha Merlin publishing the fourth and final Door book in 2003-or-4.

  2. Ah, so that first “i” in “Dairine” is just to confuse me? Gotcha.

    I haven’t heard a heck of a lot about Stealing…, but I will certainly look at it when it comes out. *checks Amazon* Oh, wait, it’s out now! And oh my, what a cover: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0446609838.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg Next bookstore run I shall have to browse.

    As far as the last Door book, I am no longer waiting for it. If it some day appears, I will be thrilled, but until then, I intend to pretend that the series ends with Sunset. (This is not a criticism of the author or a suggestion she should write faster; it’s just about my ability to wait.)

  3. I know what you mean. All these wimps complaining because George R.R. Martin takes two or three years to pump out a volume of the Song of Ice and Fire. Lightweights. But honestly, the plans on the Meisha Merlin publication of Door Into Starlight are mentioned both on Duane’s Owl Springs website, and the Meisha Merlin website. They just reprinted the first two volumes as The Sword and the Dragon and will be printing the last two together as The Lion and the Door.

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