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****Wizards at War

by Diane Duane

Reviewed December 17, 2006.
Harcourt, Orlando, 2005.  552 pages.

Wizards at War is the eighth book in Diane Duane’s magnificent Young Wizards series.  In this book, nothing less than the existence of the entire universe is at stake.  All the wizards must work together to try to combat it, but naturally we find Nita and Kit, and their families and friends (like the alien wizards who had been visiting on an exchange program) in the thick of it.  To make matters worse, all the older wizards are losing their powers.  So Nita and Kit end up having responsibility for the whole earth. 

This is almost more like science fiction than fantasy, since it deals with intergalactic travel and the structure of the universe.  However, wizards are the ones appointed by the One to look after things.

I like the theology hidden behind these stories.  All the wizards are servants of the One and get their strength from the Powers That Be.  Each civilization is given the Choice by the Lone Power—whether to choose death or not.  In this book, the fate of the universe hangs on the Choice made by an alien species, though there’s plenty for our heroes to do besides work on that.

I read this book just before I read Harold S. Kushner’s How Good Do We Have To Be? in which he suggests that God wanted Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  I like the picture this book presents, where, yes, death has some good things that come along with it, but it’s still better to choose to put it aside.

So here we have a good story, characters we care deeply about, and some cosmic questions to consider.  Each book in this series seems to get deeper into questions about life, the universe and everything.  The first book, So You Want To Be a Wizard? is a more typical, but excellent, fantasy story.  With each book, the scope gets bigger.  I can’t help but wonder what her next book will be about.  How do you come up with a scope bigger than the existence of the universe?

Reviews of other books by Diane Duane:
A Wizard Alone
Wizard's Holiday
Games Wizards Play
Stealing the Elf-King's Roses

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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