A Wizard Alone

January 18, 2004

Published by Magic Carpet Books
Written by Diane Duane
352 pages; Original Copyright: 2002

With The Wizard’s Dilemma, Duane substantially changed the tone of the Wizardry series. A Wizard Alone begins with the repercussions of those changes still echoing in the lives of Nita and Kit. Where The Wizard’s Dilemma had Nita and Kit facing a growing threat within their own personal lives, A Wizard Alone requires them to step outside themselves for much of the book and look after another character’s welfare. The “split” that began in A Wizard Abroad continues here, but at the close of the book Nita and Kit are reunited to one degree or another. They work together at the last to deal with the issue running throughout the whole of the book, symbolically ending the seperation that Duane has them suffering through for much of the book and books past. We get a good deal more insight into the families of Nita and Kit (especially Kit’s), and Ponch really begins to stand on his own as a character as well. Much like in the last novel, Ponch plays a major role in the events of A Wizard Alone, endearing us to him all the more.

When A Wizard Alone begins Nita’s mother is already dead. This shock, only a few pages into the book, really shook me up and set the tone for the rest of the book. While The Wizard’s Dilemma is very much a race against time (which of course ends up being for naught), A Wizard Alone is an introspective mystery. Nita’s dreams are troubled by the events of the past and her relationship with Kit. Though their bond is strong, Nita is having a hard time dealing with her mother’s death. As such she is very much forced to push away from Tom, Carl, and most of all Kit while she deals with her pain. While Nita is off of active duty, Kit finds himself called in to service in the case of a Wizard who appears to be lost on Ordeal. The younger child is autistic, and is caught within a dream-realm of his own conjuration. The young man’s ordeal, like Nita and Kit’s, has brought him face-to-face with a face of the Lone Power. This encounter has left him running scared, desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the One within his own mind. Kit, and Ponch, spend much of the book hot on his trail.

While it’s probably not one of my favorite books in the series, A Wizard Alone is very good. It stands out as the first book in the series with a completely new tone, which I judge to be a result of the events in The Wizard’s Dilemma. This end of the axis, upon which I feel the series turns, now has the weight of years writing the characters behind it for Ms. Duane and a level of maturity for the characters. The quiet and introspective moments of this book are prime examples of what a good author can do with well understood characters and a fleshed out world.

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