Duane, Diane: (109) A Wizard of Mars

I’m trying a new tactic on my backlog: a fifteen-minute timer. Most days I can manage fifteen minutes, after all, and even if I can’t dispose of one book in fifteen minutes, I can come back to it the next day.

The first book is one I actually just finished, Diane Duane’s A Wizard of Mars. This is the most recent book in her Young Wizards series and is, as the title suggests, the one in which all the comments about Kit and Nita doing something-or-other on Mars finally resolve into a plot.

This book is doing two things, it seems to me, and unfortunately I don’t care much about either of them. First, it’s considering Mars’ place in Western mythology through, in part, pastiches of classic stories about Mars, and that is not a topic that really grabs me. Second, it’s considering the ever-popular question of exactly what Nita and Kit’s relationship is, which is (a) not something I can bring myself to get worked up about and (b) something that’s been hanging out there since book two or so (this is book nine) and thus feels like something that is past due, already. Which is not really fair, because the series doesn’t span that much time in the characters’ lives, and it’s not the characters’ fault that I’ve been reading about them for at least a decade. Nevertheless.

Exacerbating the problem are the things this book is not doing, naming dealing with Wizards at War in any substantial way. The most obvious is the gaping plot question that Wizards left hanging, but I’m also waiting for a good payoff to Nita’s new abilities, because otherwise the entire series is going to feel massively imbalanced to me.

There are still sense-of-wonder moments and interesting characters and neat worldbuilding bits, but on the whole this wasn’t a book for me.


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  1. the things this book is not doing, namely dealing with Wizards at War
    Oh, drat.
    I have already resolved in my head what Nita and Kit’s relationship is/n’t doing (hey, I first met Deep Wizardry shortly after it came out, 25 years ago), but I was really hoping that this would follow up on the substantial issues from War. Alas.

  2. Yeah, this feels like it occupies a similar place as the Ireland book in the series, except these long-running plot issues didn’t show up until after that.

  3. My foremost reaction to this post is: “Wow, this series is on book nine?!?
    I lost track of it around Book 4 (the Ireland one, whichever that was). Is it worth catching up?

  4. Pam, I would very much not recommend that you catch up on the series now, because what happens in book five would be unpleasantly resonant for you. Ask me again in a couple of years.

  5. Gotcha. Thanks for the warning.

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