Kit and Nita return to join forces against the evil Lone Power, this time over the heart and mind of a young autistic, in Diane Duane's sixth installment of the Young Wizards series. Initially, Kit finds himself flying solo as Nita has sunk into a deep depression over her mother's recent death. Luckily, his telepathic pooch, Ponch, is happy to fill Nita's niche temporarily, as long as biscuits are involved. Kit tries to understand why autistic wizard-in-training Darryl McAllister has been stuck in his Ordeal, or initiation, for over three months. Is it merely the fault of his autism? Inside Darryl's mind, Kit and Ponch find complex landscapes of weird beauty that belie Darryl's rocking, vacant exterior. But they also find the Lone Power, attacking Darryl with an unrelenting brutality that is excessive, even for the Source of all Evil. Meanwhile, Nita is distracted from her sadness by trying to discover the meaning of a series of strange dreams in which a being is pleading for her aid. Could the dreams be a call for help from Darryl? And if so, will Kit and Nita come together in time to destroy the Lone Power before it destroys them?
Though a novice to the series would definitely benefit from reading the previous books, Duane's latest mix of science and spell casting is thought provoking in its own right. She slips enough facts into this fiction to ensure that young readers will not only enjoy the quest, but also learn something along the way. (Ages 10 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert