Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Wizard abroad

A Wizard abroad

Diane Duane
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Harcourt, 2001   ISBN: 978-0152162382

Nita is thoroughly appalled when her parents tell her that she is going to be sent to Ireland for six weeks for a vacation. The reason they are so keen on this idea is because they think it would be a good idea to put some distance between Nita and Kit, her best friend and her partner in wizardry. What they still do not understand is that Nita doesn't stop being a wizard when she goes to places away from home and when she is separated from Kit. Furthermore they are sending Nita to a country which is quite literally steeped in magic. And so Nita reluctantly gets on a plane to travel to Ireland where she will stay with her Aunt Annie. Aunt Annie owns a stable in a small town not too far from Dublin and she is glad to see her niece again.

Nita is not in the Ireland long before she becomes aware that all is not as it should be. First Nita sees some ghosts, which is not exactly bad, but it is a little unsettling. Then she finds herself briefly transported back in time, and this is more than just a little unsettling. Then, to add to the already very peculiar list of happenings, she finds herself in the middle of a hunt. She helps to protect a huge Irish elk which is being pursued by a pack of enormous dire wolves. Clearly the elk and its pursuers are from the past because both species have been extinct in Ireland for thousands of years.

It would appear that Nita is slipping "sideways." For some reason the past and the present seem to have come very close and without even thinking about it, let alone casting a spell, Nita is being taken back hundreds and thousands of years without any warning. Something is not right.

Nita is so concerned about the goings on that she decides to consult a local wizard. Using her manual she finds out that a wizard lives not far from the farm. When she meets the person in question she is amazed to discover that he is none other a "cute" boy whom she has already met, Ronan Nolan. As if this is not a big enough shock, Nita then stumbles upon another staggering secret, her aunt Annie is a wizard! Nita is very grateful when Kit comes to visit. Using his beam-me-up Scotty spell he is in and out of Aunt Annie's house all the time. So much for keeping Nita and Kit apart.

Nita and her aunt meet with many wizards, of many ranks, and it is decided that a special kind of ceremony will be needed to get the old magic of Ireland to settle down. If they don't succeed then the dark forces might just pull Ireland, Europe and indeed the whole world into a very unpleasant place where the barriers between the past and present - and the real and the unreal – no longer exist.

In this thrilling and intriguing book Diane Duane takes her young wizards to a completely new environment where they come into contact with magic which is very ancient indeed. For the young American wizards this is a very new experience, and it gives them a new perspective on their art and vocation. The story is made even more interesting as we see Nita trying to deal with her first crush. Unlike her magic spells, her feelings for a captivating Irish boy cannot be organized and controlled. It is all very confusing.

Fantasy fans will be completely taken with this book and will eagerly look forward to reading the next book in the series. This is the fourth book in the Young Wizards collection.