A Wizard Alone: Continues the series’ quality level

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Diane Duane A Wizard AloneA Wizard Alone by Diane Duane

A Wizard Alone is yet another Young Wizards book that maintains the high level set by the first few in the series. While not quite as dark as the previous one, where (and if you haven’t read Wizard’s Dilemma then quit reading this review if you don’t want the end spoiled) Nita’ s mother dies, A Wizard Alone maintains a level of solemnity appropriate to what has come just before.

The title could refer to any of the three major characters. Nita, who is combating depression and lethargy after her mother’s death, all while trying to understand the strange images and attempts at communication coming to her via dreams. Kit, who given the mission of finding out what happened to a young autistic wizard seemingly stuck in his “Ordeal”, enters the strange landscape of the autistic’s mind and risks being trapped there. Or Darryl, the autistic wizard, who battles the Lone One thinking he is alone in doing so, all within the confines of his mind.

As is typical of this series, the book covers a gamut of subject, tone, style, and philosophy. Autism is presented in clear (if somewhat speculative) fashion, as is Nita’s depression. There are many moments of humor to lighten the mood, mostly in this case involving Kit’s attempts to reconcile his family’s TV, DVD player, and remote control. And there are thoughtful moments of quiet philosophy. And as usual, the characters act in realistic fashion, despite the sci fi/fantasy genre. The only real flaw is that some of the story is telegraphed pretty early, but the story itself is so readable, the images so interesting, the characters so familiar that one doesn’t mind much some predictability. Strongly recommended as is the series as a whole.

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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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