Friday, June 30, 2006

Wizards at War--Diane Duane (contains spoilers)

Title: Wizards at War
Author: Diane Duane
Pages: 552 p.
Publisher: Harcourt
ISBN: 0152047727

I read the first book in this series, So You Want to be a Wizard, when I was around 10 years old. That would be TWENTY years ago.

And I still love it just as much as I did then.

Wizards at War is the eighth book in the series. Having read the first 7 is required to truly understand and appreciate the eternal conflict between the Lone Power and the wizards. In this book the wizards must deal with expanding dark matter called pullulus. The pullulus is causing the universe to expand too quickly, causing senior wizards to lose their power and their faith, and causing regular humans to lose all emotion but anger. This is a dangerous situation and it's up to the young wizards to sort it all out. While Nita and Kit search for a powerful weapon to help defeat the pullulus, Dairine and Roshaun discover the pullulus is just a distraction--a diversionary tactic used by the Lone Power to cover up an even more important mission. The young wizards join forces to battle the Lone Power and help usher a new benevolent Power into the world, but not without casualties.

In previous books Kit's dog Ponch began "making worlds" and exhibiting wizardly power himself. At the end of this book we know why. Each species is given a Choice--we learn that the Powers That Be offered the dogs more power and wisdom but only if they walk the new way alone and leave their human companions. The Lone Power offered them the world but only if they kill the people first. The dogs refused both offers. The Powers That Be understand their choice is made from loyalty and allow them to have some power but not all wizardry until they are faced with the Choice again. At the end of the book the dogs are faced with the Choice again and this time Ponch chooses the new way--in order to save Kit and his humans. Ponch becomes more than what he is, he becomes the dogs' version of the One, the Godlike Power that exists in every species. Ponch must leave Kit in order to do this but not without heartache and tears. There is a happy ending though and Kit discovers that Ponch exists in ALL dogs now and is not truly gone.

I sped through this book in just a few days. Fans of the series will not be disappointed. Duane has done a wonderful job of universe-building and it's easy to forget that this is fantasy and not science fiction. I look forward to reading the next one and hope there is a next one. This book had a finale feeling to it, but there's enough loose ends to warrant another story. And fans certainly want one.
Reading: Dunno yet.
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