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A Wizard Abroad

May 30, 2006

Published by Magic Carpet Books
Written by Diane Duane
368 pages; Original Copyright: 1993

With all the major characters of the series establish, Ms. Duane was free in the fourth book to expand outward into the world she had created. She also felt free to shake up the status quo by splitting up our protagonists. For the first time since the series began, Nita and Kit were not together through every twist and turn in the plot. This change in style is one that marked the series following this book as well, and indicates the beginning of a change in Nita and Kit’s relationship. While they are still fast friends and extremely important to one another, they begin to have seperate adventures while both still remaining important parts of the story.

A Wizard Abroad begins very differently than the other Wizardry books. Nita and Kit are having problems in their relationship. For the first time we see strains appearing in what has otherwise always seemed to be a stable bulwark against the world. At the same time, Nita is invited to come to Ireland to visit her aunt during her summer vacation. Thankful of the reprive from the strained conversation with Kit, Nita accepts the invitation and makes the journey to the emerald isle. Duane’s depiction of Ireland is very vivid and entertaining, probably in part because she lived in the country when she was writing the novel. During her time in Ireland, Nita is exposed to the Wizardly culture outside of America and begins to learn more of the Wizardly aspects of her own family tree. Dairine and Kit do make an appearance towards the end of the book, but for the most part Nita spends the entire book alone and lost in her own thoughts. As with many aspects of this book, the situation where one protagonist is alone within a world of their own is the beginning of a theme in the Wizardry series.

While I appreciate the changes in the characters as well as the expanding of the theme, A Wizard Abroad is probably my least favorite book in the series. Unlike the other books where the protagonists are apart, Kit is completely off stage for much of this book, leaving Nita alone to …. do not a heck of a lot. The big moment in the book is somewhat anti-climactic, and in general the writing is somewhat muddled. The best thing about this chapter in the Wizardry series is the changes that it institutes in Nita and Kit’s relationship. Their growth as characters is very refreshing to watch because of the extremely bad way they go about it. Still, I wish that the change in the tone between them was accompanied by a more compelling story.

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