Friday, March 21, 2014

Retro Friday Review: Deep Wizardry

by Diane Duane

Retro Friday introduction:
Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie @ Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be a favourite, an under the radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print etc.

Story summary: The second book of the "Young Wizards" series, set after the events of So You Want to Be a Wizard?. Nita and Kit are helping their fellow wizards who live under the sea: the whales and the dolphins. They agree to take part in the Song of the Twelve, a sung ritual which will help keep the Lone Power at bay. But they realize they've gotten into more than they bargained for when they discover what's actually entailed in the Song, and meet one of the singers:  the master of all sharks, an ancient great white shark who's job is to end pain--usually by death.

Thoughts: This is a fabulous series, and definitely deserves more attention. The series was started far before Harry Potter, but sometimes gets unfairly compared to it. It really isn't very similar at all, except for that it's about some children learning about wizardry, and there's the whole Good vs. Evil thing going on.

As a Catholic, I really love some of the explanations of spiritual concepts in these books. They can be terribly inspiring. There is some weird philosophy/theology from a Catholic standpoint (e.g. the redemption of the Lone Power, or the Devil). But the good stuff more than makes up for that.

I love this series more and more as it goes on, with high points in the third book, High Wizardry, and the sixth book, A Wizard Alone. This particular book is excellent, of course, but I must admit, I mostly like it for Ed (short for ed'Rastekeresket t'k Gh'shestaesteh), the Master Shark and Pale Slayer. (In fact, the only characters I can think of right now that I like better or equally are Dairine's computer, Spot; Darryl, the autistic wizard from the sixth book; and Fred, the star from the first book.) He is dry and amusing and mesmerizing and altogether quite fascinating. He's sort of the equivalent of an atheist in this universe, as he doesn't believe in Timeheart (sort of the equivalent of Heaven) or the "Heart of the Sea" (the whale's source of wizardry). His character arc is one of the best ones among the secondary characters in this series as well.

Grade: 4 stars

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