Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Wizard's Dilemma

The Wizard's Dilemma

Diane Duane
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Harcourt, 2001   ISBN: 978-0152024604

Nita is feeling very unsettled about things. She and her best friend and partner in magic, Kit, don't seem to have the camaraderie that was once so easy for them. When they work on a spell to combat pollution in the nearby ocean waterways, they clash and Kit ends up doing the spell on his own. They get so angry with one another that they don't even make up by the end of the day – something that has never happened before.

To add insult to injury the quarrel with Kit is then followed by some terrible news. Nita's mother Betty mother collapses and Nita, her father, and her sister discover that Betty has an aggressive cancerous tumor in her head. She is going to have to have the tumor removed and then the doctor's will have to follow up with chemotherapy and who knows what else.

Being a wizard Nita decides that she is going to do whatever she can to save her ailing mother. Surely, if she can prevent the end of the world as we know it, she can find some spell which will beat the cancer. Unfortunately cancer is not easy to beat. Just like all life it will fight to survive. Nita is going to have to try to persuade the cancer to change its form. She is going to have to try to change its fundamental reason for existence.

In this stunning and sometimes painful fifth book in the "Young Wizards" series we see, on a very personal level, what it is like to be faced with the potential death of a parent. It is terrifying and it leaves on feeling helpless and angry. Surely there is something that one can do to save the person who is so sick? But, does one have the right to change what is happening? Is Nita supposed to cheat death and save her mother, or should she just hope for the best and take advantage of the time that they have left?

In this title Diane Duane not only tells a compelling story but she also gives her readers the opportunity to think about death and life, and to think about how far a person should go to fight against the latter to preserve the former.