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Thirteen-year-old Nita, tormented by a gang of bullies because she won't fight back, finds the help she needs in a library book on wizardry which guides her into another dimension.
Something stopped Nita's hand as it ran along the bookshelf. She looked and found that one of the books had a loose thread at the top of its spine. It was one of those So You Want to Be a . . . books, a series on careers. So You Want to Be a Pilot, and a Scientist . . . a Writer. But his one said, So You Want to Be a Wizard.
I don't belive this, Nina thought. She shut the book and stood there holding it in
her hand, confused, amazed, suspicious--and delighted. If it was a joke, it was a great one. If it wasn't . . . ?
During a summer vacation at the beach, thirteen-year-old wizard Nita and her friend Kit assist the whale-wizard S'reee in combating an evil power.
Don't take brilliant, shrewd Dairine Callahan for just any bratty younger sibling. Impatient for adventure, knowledge, and recognition, she finds her sister Nita's wizardry manual and reads the Oath aloud. Disappointingly, nothing happens. But when her family's new computer arrives, Dairene discovers more than the standard issue system software on it and launches herself on a reckless, universe-wide, high-voltage magical conflict with the Lone Power. Diane Duane's storytelling is skillfully mythic and wittily referential; Dairine's discovery and shaping of a new form of life is wondrous. For maximum enjoyment, read So You Want To Be A Wizard and Deep Wizardry first.
Grade 5-8. Nita Callahan, a 14-year-old wizard from Long Island, is annoyed when her concerned parents ship her off to Ireland for six weeks on an enforced vacation from magic-working and her partner Kit?but what's time or space to wizards (see So You Want to Be a Wizard  and its sequels [all Harcourt]). In any case, Ireland is hardly the ideal spot for a magic-free getaway, and indeed Nita soon finds herself involved in big doings. With the ancient harvest festival of Lughnasad approaching, signs point to a major attack from the malicious Lone Power, the very inventor of Death, in its guise as Balor of the Evil Eye. The assembled wizards of Ireland have but one hope: to find or re-create the Four Treasures of the Tuatha de Danaan, said in ancient stories to have helped defeat Balor once before. Moving easily between light, everyday language and the sonorous formality of high fantasy, Duane seamlessly interweaves encounters with creatures from legend with glimpses of modern Irish life and teen culture. Her view of magic's place in the scheme of things is so clever and well reasoned that readers will have no trouble suspending belief. Nita is an appealingly hot-tempered teenager who faces slavering dire wolves and trollish drows with more courage than the dismaying realization that she's gotten "the hots" for young fellow wizard Ronan. Balor's appearance in the climactic battle is all too brief, but against this army of wizards, it never stands a chance. At least in retrospect. An unusually consistent fantasy, rich in details, subplots, and Irish lore.?John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The fifth title in Diane Duane's Young Wizards series delves deeper into an emotional landscape than any of her previous books (So You Want to Be a Wizard, Deep Wizardry, High Wizardry, and A Wizard Abroad). For the first time ever, friends and wizard partners Nita and Kit seem to be having trouble communicating. They argue over a spell to clean up the pollution in New York's Jones Inlet, and from that point on, they can't connect on anything. Is it adolescence that's tearing them apart or something more profound? Meanwhile, Nita and her family are stunned to discover that her mother has cancer, and there's a possibility that nothing--not surgery, not even wizardry--can fight it. Nita refuses to let her mom go down without a fight, however, and soon she's on a mission that brings her face-to-face with the Lone Power, source of all death in the universe--Nita's worst enemy, and possibly her only hope.
Impressive in its scope, The Wizard's Dilemma, like all the titles in Duane's series, is packed with an intriguing combination of technology and magic that fans of fantasy, science fiction, technology, and even Christian literature will find absolutely gripping. Nita is a complex character, as befits her status as a teenager, not to mention a wizard. Her confusion and self-doubt will be painfully believable to every reader. There are no simple answers in this remarkably philosophical novel. (Ages 12 and older)
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
Rest and relaxation--that's what Nita thinks she's going to get when her little sister, Dairine, signs her up for a wizardly "cultural exchange" program, sending Nita and her partner-wizard Kit halfway across the galaxy over spring break. But nothing about wizardry--not even vacation--is ever quite that simple. Back home, Dairine and her dad have to cope with their side of the exchange: three young wizards who've just moved in and are eager to start experiencing a strange alien culture . . . Earth.
While Nita's sister and her dad host three young alien wizards, teenage wizards Nita and Kit travel halfway across the galaxy as part of an exchange program and find themselves again caught up in the dark doings of their nemesis, the Lone Power.
Grade 5-8–In this eighth volume in the series, 14-year-old wizards Kit Rodriguez and Nita Callahan have just returned from an extraterrestrial vacation and are getting ready to go back to school. Meanwhile, Nita's wizardly younger sister, Dairine, and their father have been hosting three alien wizards in their basement. Everything changes when the magical group learns that the universe is rapidly filling with a mysterious dark matter that threatens to swallow all of the stars and worlds into oblivion within a few weeks. It is already causing the adult wizards to lose their powers, and even to forget that magic exists. Kit, Nita, Dairine, and their alien guests, along with Kit's magical dog, Ponch, and Dairine's enchanted laptop, Spot, zip off to scour the galaxy for a prophesied secret weapon–a person or thing that can overcome the impending catastrophe. Although Duane has tried to allow each book in the series to stand on its own, most readers will be lost without having read at least some of the predecessors. Those who are familiar with the series will thoroughly enjoy this story, especially its grand and wistful conclusion.–Walter Minkel, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In the hotly anticipated ninth installment of the Young Wizards series, Kit and Nita become part of an elite team investigating the mysterious "message in a bottle," which holds the first clues to the secrets of the long-lost inhabitants of Mars. But not even wizardry can help them cope with the strange events that unfold when the "bottle" is uncorked and a life form from another era emerges. Though the Martians seem friendly, they have a plan that could change the shape of more than one world. As the shadow of interplanetary war stretches over both worlds, Kit and Nita must fight to master the strange and ancient synergy binding them to Mars and its last inhabitants. If they don't succeed, the history that left Mars lifeless will repeat itself on Earth.