Adam's Reviews > So You Want to Be a Wizard

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
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's review
Nov 22, 09

bookshelves: fantasy-and-science-fiction
Recommended to Adam by: Mrs. (Sandra?) Laviolette, Alex Katigbak
Recommended for: People from the 1950's, Trash Fantasy lovers, young kids with nothing else to read,
Read in November, 2009, read count: 1

I started reading this book for the first time when I was grade 8 and I couldn't really get into it. I've finally figured out why.

I'm reading it again because it was in my house and I needed something to read, and the dialogue feels forced and VERY dated. It's almost a condescending mockery of how kids talk. The ideas in it are really interesting, but they're described by thirteen year-olds who talk like little kids, instead of adults, so the magic is being sucked out of... well... the magic.

And then just to completely throw the reader, the other characters all talk like incredibly wise people, and 'Fred's' language seems pretty advanced. There are passages where Nita describes Entropy, which (at least at my school) wasn't tackled until the 11th grade, but she's supposed to be 13...

My initial impression is that the novel can't decide what age demographic it wants to aim at, and it's all over the place.

Oh and Carl and Tom don't seem like just room mates. Just sayin'.


Nov 22nd 2009

This book hits a huge wall around page 200 and becomes slow.
Like, really, really, really, slow.
It's like a snail and a jar of marmalade reproduced and then that offspring mated with a sloth/really-boring-Sunday-school-lecture hybrid.
I'm not even sure how Duane pulled that off because there is so much action in the second half that it could have filled up three novels worth of climaxes.

There were a couple of moments where I had to go back and reread passages, because the characters suddenly had an intense knowledge of magic for no reason (Well... the reason was that they read about 30 chapters virtually overnight and somehow memorized it all). It really took me out of the experience.

Also, younger wizards are stronger than older wizards? uhh... that's one of the dumbest concepts I've ever heard of.
Here's why:

1. That would mean that as time progresses the wizard would get weaker, which is not only ridiculous, but makes no sense. The more you practice something, the better you get. How could you possibly be good at something you've never done before, and then not improve through practice? How frustrating would that be?!

2. It's a cheap plot device. "Why are Nita and Kit able to do all this stuff, but the other wizards can't?" "'cause they're younger, thasswhy!"

3. It means that as the book series progresses (...yuck...), the stories would, theoretically, get more boring because the magic is less complex.

The majority of the second half of the book feels like Nita whining for Kit to save her, and he does. The world they fall into is supposed to be filled with nightmarish creatures and scare Nita and Kit (and presumably anyone who accidentally winds up there), but I've felt more chills walking in downtown Montréal at night. Perytons, which were supposed to be horrifying creatures of blah blah blah, were bland and anything but menacing.

Nita is virtually useless, except to calm down Fred, who's almost as useless, though occasionally he'll fart and scare the bad guys. At least Fred's good for a laugh!

Nita freaks out one moment, then immediately pulls herself together enough to comfort Fred... umm.. what?

Fred is the ONLY redeeming character in this book, and even that statement is a stretch.

If you really want to experience magic, check out Harry Potter or the Bartimaeus trilogy.

And saying "This book is older than Harry Potter!" is a BS argument because a lack of Potter influence doesn't excuse SYWTBAW from being this crappy. It could have set precedent so we'd compare Harry Potter to SYWTBAW. Instead it's the other way around.

Seriously Nita, Kit, you did all that to get a pen back?!

PS: Redeeming features:

-Different Magic system (though poorly described)
-LOL unintended but ever present Misogynism, perfect if you have to do a project on "sexist themes in Children's literature" or something of the like.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Librivore (last edited May 12, 2010 04:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Librivore In all honesty, this book is not very good. However, it is the first book in a *very* good series of books (starting with the second installment), so it makes sense to put up with in order to get to the rest.

Also lol at the unintended sexism. :)

Cloud thanks for putting in words almost exactly how I feel about this book :D

message 3: by H.J. (new)

H.J. Frederick I thought I was crazy for not liking this book after everything I'd heard about it, but you have described everything I'm finding frustrating about it. And yet I keep wanting to like it...maybe if only because it made a massless white hole one of the (almost) main characters.

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