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The Wizard's Dilemma (Young Wizards, #5)
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The Wizard's Dilemma (Young Wizards #5)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  5,698 ratings  ·  113 reviews
How do you fix what can't be fixed? Only the Transcendent Pig knows, and it's not telling. . . .
But Nita Callahan needs to find out--and soon. Her wizardly partnership with Kit has fallen apart. Much worse, her mother has gotten sick . . . so sick she may never leave the hospital.
Only one person can help Nita--the One she's devoted her life to fighting.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published June 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Vicki (The Wolf's Den)
Nita's having some problems.

First, she's started high school, and while she's still considered brainy, her subjects aren't coming as easily to her as they used to. She's starting to feel kinda inadequate next to Kit, who, though a year younger, is still breezing through everything.

Going along with that, she's not quite sure what to do about Kit. Their partnership is hitting some rough water, and she can't understand how he can insist on being so...wrong! It's affecting their friendship and their
I will forever be glad I was warned of the subject matter of this particular book in the series in advance, in as spoiler-less a way as possible. It didn't ruin the book for me, and I don't think it made it hit less hard either.

The title of this book is truly fitting. When you struggle to find any way but destroying life to save other life, there's not always a clean and happy way out. It may take you places you'd never imagined going.

I went through a very similar situation - minus the wizardry,
Dixie A.
In this one, Nita's mother has cancer and Nita has a dilemma -- try to cure her mother and ultimately fail, or make a deal with the Lone Power, cure her mother and lose her wizardry forever.

Except it's not that simple. It never is. For one, everyone knows that if you make a deal with the devil, look out for the fine print. Or better yet, don't make any deals to begin with. Nita doesn't see any other way out.

There's more boy girl trouble in this one as Nita's mother rephrases one of Robert Heinle
Welp, this one took me a long time to finish. I'm still not quite sure how that happened. Part of it was that I started the book while I had far too many things on my plate and thus got distracted. But part of it was that at a certain point in The Wizard's Dilemma, I felt like I could see where all of the pieces were, where they needed to go, and had a pretty good idea of how they were going to get there... and I really wanted them to just be there already, instead of making me wait. I suspect t ...more
This book may take a little longer to get into than the previous installments, but once it does, it is the same roller-coaster ride as always.

For the first time since their Ordeal, Nita and Kit have had a major fight. Unsure of how to reconcile, they drift their seperate ways for a while. And everything is just made ten times worse when Nita's family gets the news: her mother has brain cancer.

Nita's only hope seems to lie in a very difficult and technical type of wizardry that involves manipula
A very clever entry in the series, this deals with the issue of parental loss in a genuinely unexpected way. And it also finally confronts head-on the "elephant in the room" of all modern world fantasy: that if you have superpowers/magic, why can't you solve everything?

And the ending is wonderful. I didn't find it as affecting as that of #8, but probably that's because I haven't personally experienced that sort of loss (as compared to the situation in #8.) But I would certainly put this book on
Oof. This one is emotionally heavy.
I'm sorry, I can't review this over the excitement of there being AN ALIEN OTTER WIZARD.

I freaking love otters, man, so the rest of the book just took second place to that. Even though Duane does not do good things to the otter. And even though she never specifies whether it's a river otter or a sea otter. (I choose to believe river.)

There was a rest of the book, I know. And it was another strong entry in the series as it gets into the very human part of wizardry and the fact that wizards live
Julie Decker
Nita and Kit have been partners in wizardry since--well, since they started practicing wizardry. What are they supposed to do now that everything in their lives seems to be pushing them apart? Plenty of non-magical issues are affecting Nita's life, including her problems with school and her issues relating to Kit over what kinds of action they should take, and Kit for his part seems to have a wizard of a dog wandering off into other dimensions--places he wants to follow. With all this going on, ...more
This may be one of my two favorites of the "young wizards" series (the other is "Deep Wizardry"). At this point in my life, I found the hospital scenes so hard to read! Almost too much reality there. But it's such a strong story! Nita's mom rocks! As does her dad, really, and Kit's parents, and Tom and Karl, and …

Seriously, it is so refreshing to read a YA fantasy series in which the adults, as well as the kids, are treated with respect, as the complex people they are.* The dilemmas 14-year-old
Montana Library 2Go

Changed rules in the middle of a series, shallow everywhere, horrible Kindle transcription, all combine to spoil what could have been a touching and meaningful installment in the Young Wizards books.

Apparently Duane decided that the rules she had created for this world were not satisfactory to her, because she's changed the way the wizardry works. It was annoying enough before that she was insisting on pretending that wizardry was 'definitely not magic' but also not science,
The best part of this book: Mrs. Callahan's fight with the lone power. Seriously, it's like a whole star on it's own. I now love Nita's mom. She was barely in any of the others and then she comes along with this awesome little scene? How could you not love her?

The worst part of this book: The person I usually like a lot. Nita. She was just so...well, I guess you'll have to read the book to know, because I can't think of the right way to describe it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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((Currently rereading the series after a few years))

The Wizard's Dilemma is the kind of book that will rip your heart out and hand it to you with a look that says "now what will you do?". The themes are all too familiar (as is the point): Life is forced to deal with entropy and death, and how we do says a lot about us. The Wizard's Dilemma puts Nita in a position that forces her to examine how far she'd go to keep her Oath, and what the price and consequence of failing might be. But it also forc
So the thing with re-reading a beloved series of mine as a gym-going stand-by... well, there's two things. One, I'm getting in good shape.

Two, I'm bawling on the elliptical sometimes, and it's awkward.

There was a single tear (or, maybe, pair of them, fine) for the previous book, A Wizard Abroad which had a few noble, touching scenes.

This one, I was tearing up twice a workout. Granted (and this isn't a spoiler) wizard Nita Callahan's mom is dying of cancer most of the book.

Still, I don't remember
The Wizard's Dilemma: The Fifth Book in the Young Wizards Series
by Diane Duane (3 stars)

Nita and Kit are back , for anther magical adventure . But this time Nita must fight the Lone Power alone .
The book starts off with Nita and Kit fight about how to solve a problem . Nita gets so mad at Kit she leaves him to solve it all by himself . ( it not in the book , but I think Nita is mad at Kit because both she and her little sister both have a small crush on him ) Nita and Kit stop talking , for two
Feb 12, 2013 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, tragic story fans
This happened to be the next book in the series, which I am rereading. It also happens to be about one of the main character's mother dying. Two days ago was the fifth anniversary of my father's death. I wasn't so sure I could manage this book. I cried plenty but I did finish the book. There are two distinct subplots going through the story and I'm still not so sure how they tie together so that is why a star was lost. Nita's and Dairinne's story was well written. The shock and sense of unrealit ...more
Duane Duane's wonderful YA'Young Wizardry' series is an imaginative, engaging retelling of the adventures of two budding wizards, Nita and Kit, as they journey through space and time, while still having to cope with the daily mundaneities of life and school. 'The Wizard's Dilemma' is perhaps the most rewarding yet.

For the first time, a rift seems to have developed between the two friends, one borne of misunderstandings and the natural emotional upheavals that are just a part of life when you're
John Kirk
This is a very moving story in its own right. It's also a good installment in the series, setting up some concepts which will be important in later novels.

(view spoiler)
It's always nice when you accidentally spoil yourself the ending of a book and it still manages to surprise you. I accidentally read the first sentence of a description of the next book, and found myself knowing the end result of this one. But nothing is ever certain, and how things progressed in this book definitely followed that path. Perhaps I should stop reading plot summaries for books. They're often misleading and I find myself looking for specific plot points and finding them in places I ...more
I think most people would rate this as a 4 or a 5. It just hit a little too close to home for me to be able to say that I really liked it or really enjoyed it. (view spoiler)
Sarah Wagner
The Young Wizards' series takes a very serious turn in this installment, as Nita's mother is revealed to be suffering from a brain tumor. While Nita is determined to use her wizardry to save her mother's life, the task may be beyond her powers. Nita matures considerably in this installment, as does her relationship with Kit, and the conclusion imparts a valuable lesson. This book is less fun to read as earlier books in the series, considering the subject matter, but is definitely worthwhile.
Jeff Miller
I really like this series, but this one totally grabbed me. Part of it was the plot and the coincidence of Mother's day upcoming. Really a perfect novel for Mother's day. Still I think it would have grabbed me regardless of this coincidence. Again the subject of sacrifice and death was part of the plot, but dealt with in a surprising way - especially for a "young adult" novel.
I'm not even going to TRY to read this again. It was horrible. I've got to learn to listen to my qualms, and to stick to my principles of not overcoming my initial reluctance to read awful books straight through.

This time I didn't stick to the principle, and it soured me on the series from then on. I haven't read any of the later books, and don't mean to--though I have reread the earlier ones, which weren't as horrifying.

I should point out that I've always had a serious problem with the idea of
Nita is dealing with being a teenager, she's been falling out with her best friend and to top it all her mother is dying. Can being a wizard save her? This is some serious stuff, about how far you will go to save someone you love. Its a teenage book because of the subject matter and theres some swearing involved. A good read.
I continue to read this series, despite the last one not being as amazing as the first three volumes. Well, this one I must admit was quite different from the feel of the others. It still deals with the wizardry, but in a more abstract way because the problem to be dealt with is personal to one of the characters as opposed to something threatening a whole population or planet. This by itself would have been fine, but there were a lot of emotional ups and downs and the triumphant climax doesn't q ...more
Darcy Stewart
This book didn't make much sense to me. I should have started with one instead of starting with five. Nita and Kit are very interesting. I think it is cool that Kit can travel to another world. I admire Nita for wanting to travel to other worlds to save her mother from her death. However Nita will have endure some very difficult tasks that may make her or break her. Nita must go to her enemy to save her mother's life. I don not like that Kit and Nita are having conflict with each other. They bot ...more
Lis Carey
Nita Callahan and Kit Rodriguez start to experience some of the painful parts of growing up. Their friendship is changing, Nita's having scale problems in her approach to magical tasks, Kit's dog Ponch is doing strange things, and Nita's mother is ill. Nita is not the most secure and confident personality to start with, and she's definitely not having any fun. Not quite an idiot plot; I had just about reached the point of screaming at Kit and Nita that they needed to actually tell each other wha ...more
Christine B
Though it was by no means the best in the series, and took longer than the others to really get started, the book was still very good. This book dealt with a very serious topic, the "slipping away" of a loved one. To add on to Nita's stress, she and Kit have been fighting. Things pile on top of one another in a moderately paced installment of the young wizards series. Duane has captured the said loved one like never before, making you more pain-stricken at the news. In this next book ride a roll ...more
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Diane Duane has been a writer of science fiction, fantasy, TV and film for more than thirty years.
Besides the 1980's creation of the Young Wizards fantasy series for which she's best known, the "Middle Kingdoms" epic fantasy series, and numerous stand-alone fantasy or science fiction novels, her career has included extensive work in the Star Trek TM universe, and many scripts for live-action and a
More about Diane Duane...

Other Books in the Series

Young Wizards (10 books)
  • So You Want to Be a Wizard (Young Wizards, #1)
  • Deep Wizardry (Young Wizards, #2)
  • High Wizardry (Young Wizards, #3)
  • A Wizard Abroad (Young Wizards, #4)
  • A Wizard Alone (Young Wizards, #6)
  • Wizard's Holiday (Young Wizards, #7)
  • Wizards at War (Young Wizards, #8)
  • A Wizard of Mars (Young Wizards, #9)
  • Games Wizards Play (Young Wizards, #10)

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