“Book Review: So You Want to Be a Wizard“
Hiya everyone, Noreen here with a book review on So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane. In this review I will be looking at the plot, major characters, writing style, and other miscellaneous things about the book.
Warning: A Bit of Spoilers Ahead
As a Potterhead I find the need to pick up every book I see about magic. As I was looking for this week’s book I was drawn straight to this one as soon as I saw the word “wizard”. After reading the back my interest was peaked enough that I decided to pick it up. When I began to read it I was honestly surprised, it was good-very good actually.
The story revolves around Nita Callahan, a thirteen year old girl who just happens to find a Wizard Manual when she’s running from a bully. Once Nita gets home, she takes the Wizard Oath which obviously turns her into a Wizard. The next day she meets Kit Rodriguez; another new wizard. The two form a close bond, and spend the rest of the book working together. Originally the pair were only trying to get back a space pen that had been stolen from Nita, but the two accidentally create a spell which shows them a dark and evil Manhattan, along with a white hole by the name of “Fred” (he is my favorite character). The trio bonds pretty well, it seems natural.
I would just like to point out that all the problems could have been avoided if Nita would just let her pen go. But no, they go on an adventure to go find it. Fred helps them get the pen back, but he accidentally swallows it which makes him hiccup objects, including jewels and televisions. Unfortunately Fred having these hiccups hurts him so the trio go off to find out how to fix it. Their local Advisory Wizards help Fred feel better, but the pen is still inside of him. At this point I’m a little annoyed, because apparently they have to go to the Worldgate at Grand Central Station to get the pen out of Fred. When they arrive at the gate is when the problems really all begin. All because of a damn pen…I’m never going to get over that.
Anyways, the Worldgate brings them to that dark and evil Manhattan they saw earlier. In evil Manhattan there is no sun, no moon, no anything. There are cars that try and kill you though…so that is a thing. Which brings me to my next topic, the specialties of Nita and Kit. Wizards magic is pretty much the use of Speech which is like Wizard language. Of course you have “wands”, Nita’s being a branch from a rowan tree and Kit’s being an antenna. Nita is much better with natural things, anything made by Earth. Kit is better with machines, and can make a machine do what he wants. That helps explain why their wands are what they are. Another thing influenced by specialties is the behavior of their Wizard Manuals- what the owner is better at will change what their Manual contains.
Speaking of books, they spend the last quarter of the book running around trying to find two books. The Book of Night with Moon and The Book Which is Not Named, both of which are polar opposites, containing very powerful magic- both good and evil. No one is supposed to read from the books, but well you know, this is a teen fantasy novel which means of course Nita and Kit are going to read the books.
The first day I got the book I read through half of it during school. It was truly immersive and entertaining. This book is totally addicting and when I found out that there are nine installments in the series, well let’s just say- I need more money.
I would like to point out that Diane Duane must have one amazing imagination to have come up with this. Her writing style may not be unique, but her ideas are perfection. Unfortunately most of the characters- apart from Fred- are not all that special , I’m including Nita and Kit. In fact, the main character is probably the least interesting out of them all. Its not that they are bad characters, they just are not that fun, or entertaining. I really hope they develop more as the series goes on.
Something I noticed is that the major theme of this book is not how cool magic is, but that you need to have sympathy for people- even your enemies. I really like how Duane shows this, most obviously is when Kit helps a car which was injured. And it’s not like the car would not have hesitated to kill them if it could have. All because Kit helped the car, they had help escaping from monsters. The car is actually kinda cute at times. It becomes like a little pet. It was all able to happen though because both Nita and Kit feel empathetic towards others.
I suggest this book to almost anyone, especially Harry Potter fans. It is an interesting take on magic, and actually made me laugh at some points. It also made me cry because…Major Spolier: Fred dies! Not another one! I swear that the name Fred just means you’re going to die. Oh the feels. Anyways, overall, So You Want to Be a Wizard is a great book and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series. I hope you enjoyed this week’s book review. If you’ve read the book or you just have something to say, comment it down below (just be sure to mark your spoilers). Thanks for reading!