Book: So you want to be a wizard - Livre d'Or








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livredor
Book: So you want to be a wizard
Monday, 24 March 2008 at 03:43 pm
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Author: Diane Duane (dduane)

Details: (c) 1983 Diane Duane; Pub Corgi 1991; ISBN 0-552-52645-2

Verdict: So you want to be a wizard is a polished and enjoyable children's fantasy.

Reasons for reading it: I'd heard good things about Diane Duane, so meant to pick up some of her stuff at some point.

How it came into my hands: cartesiandaemon lent it to me.

So you want to be a wizard is a really enjoyable story. It's not the most original theme in the world, with a couple of kids finding a magic book that leads them on adventures where they save the world from the powers of darkness. But it's a very sweet and successful example of what it is. The characters are sympathetic and believable, and the adventure is genuinely exciting and while you know the good guys will win in the end, there are plenty of unpredicted twists to get to that point. The danger feels real, which is helped because Duane has few scruples about killing major characters.

It's particularly successful as an imaginative piece. The sense of magic being magical, mysterious, powerful, operating according to its own rules, is much better than in many similar books. And I liked a lot of the ideas of the magical creatures, the magically animated vehicles particularly. The descriptions of Nina and Kit are casting their spells are really emotionally compelling.

It's very visible that Duane has read her CS Lewis (there's a scene almost directly out of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and some very Lewis-ish quasi, but not explicit, Christianity in the world building) her Tolkien (a dragon that is very much a response to Smaug) and her L'Engle (Fred the friendly white hole is almost pastiche). But the book feels like a homage rather than a rehashing, and might raise smiles from a reader who was familiar with the classics, or serve as an introduction for one who hadn't yet got to them. But definitely something that is likely to appeal to bookish kids overall.


Whereaboooots: Manhattan
Moooood: contentcontent
Tuuuuune: Elliott Smith: Twilight
Discussion: 4 contributions | Contribute something
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cartesiandaemon: default
From:cartesiandaemon
Date:March 31st, 2008 11:38 am (UTC)
1 days after journal entry
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*hugs* I'm glad you got something out of it.

(Are the book posts supposed to be back-dated? I assume to the point where you read them? But are they supposed to not appear on your friends page?)
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cartesiandaemon: default
From:cartesiandaemon
Date:March 31st, 2008 11:40 am (UTC)
1 days after journal entry
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Annoyingly, the sequels are different in a way I've never quite been able to satisfactorily explain. Perhaps that they have better ideas for the overall cohesiveness of the world, but are a less good reflection of the two kids themselves?
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rysmiel: wilde thing
From:rysmiel
Date:April 6th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
7 days after journal entry, 09:42 am (rysmiel's time)
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hmmm.

I thought SyWtbaW was a perfectly competent example of a certain sort of fantasy with Christian-like underpinnings, Deep Wizardry a most excellent exploration of a very real problem in the philosophy that goes with such, and High Wizardry possibly one of the most ambitious exercises in the genre ever to succeed, I did not think either of them lost their grip on the kids. [ On the other hand, I resolutely put my fingers in my ears and recite Milton loudly when A Wizard Abroad comes up, because American-falling-in-love-with-Ireland is not something for which I have the tiniest particle of sympathy. ]
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leora: ouroboros
From:leora
Date:April 5th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
7 days after journal entry, 01:44 pm (leora's time)
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I love these books. You might be able to tell if you've read the title of the Support Guide "So You Want to Be a Support Volunteer". What I like about them is that people decide that something is important and then they ~pay~ for it. And the cost isn't trivial. Want to save the world - great, but it may cost a few lives along the way. Want to get to work cool magic, great... but you may shorten your life expectancy that way. You can do many cool things... but here's the price tag. I appreciate that.
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