Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle)'s Reviews > So You Want to Be a Wizard

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
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Apr 18, 2016

liked it
bookshelves: juvenile-fantasy, part-of-a-series, borrowed-from-library
Read from February 20 to 23, 2010 , read count: 1

I must've been too busy reading Diana Wynne Jones and Madeleine L'Engle, because I'd never heard of this series growing up. It was only in the past couple of years that it came to my attention. I have to say, I'm not all that impressed. Part of the problem is the fact that the book feels dated. Usually when that happens, the story is able to carry me along so that I don't notice things like Dictaphones and typewriters (non-self-correcting ones, at that). Not with this book. I blame most of that on the "magic" used in the story; it seemed more like physics or calculus to me. I'm sorry, but when I want to read about physics, I'll read Stephen Hawking. I don't want to stumble through it in a childrens' book. It's not the fact that magic is equated with science that gave me pause, it's the manner in which the author narrated its use. The analogies and descriptions she gave of its workings had me scratching my head, rereading paragraph after paragraph, and always with the same result: "Huh? What the hell is she talking about?" The only way I got through it was to gloss over such descriptions: "Okay, they did something and now they're in a parallel world... Oh, look, cars that act like animals!" I'll also repeat what several have said before concerning the sexist attitude represented in the story; Nita seemed to require an awful lot of aid from her fellow (male, of course) wizard, Kit. She spent most of her time deferring to him, aiding his spells, looking to him for answers. Puh-lease. Not to mention the dumb-ass concept of younger wizards having more power (what?). What a lame plot device to explain the two kids' prowess with their wizardly powers.

There are a few other nitpicky points of dislike which I won't go into detail here. The only bit that really was intriguing and quite original was the character of Fred, the white hole thingy (yes, that's a techinical term). His was the most well-rounded and charismatic character in the book, with the Lotus not far behind in terms of likeability. It's pretty sad when one feels a stronger connection to non-human characters than to the human ones about which the story (supposedly) revolves.

I will be fair and give the next book a go. Perhaps the series gets better as the characters develop. If I'm wrong, however, I'll happily forgo the rest of the series and return to the books of Diana Wynne Jones and Madeleine L'Engle, forgetting I ever heard of Diane Duane. 2.5 stars.
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Reading Progress

02/20/2010 page 33
02/21/2010 page 165
44.59% "I don't know whether it's because I'm light on brain power lately, but I'm confused by the "magic" in this book; it's more like calculus." 2 comments
04/18/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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faeriemyst Man, how little I remember about this book. Guess that tells you something. I vaguely recall raves about this series sometime after the first few Harry Potter books were out and wizards became the center of attention. My interest has been peaked though, so I'll have to give it a go if I happen to feel a big 'dig through the heavy stack of boxes to find one book' mania come over me. :P

Oh, and thought you'd like to know you put I don't noticed things like Dictaphones in your review. :)

Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle) Thanks for the heads up. I checked and rechecked that stupid review for mistakes; I hate it when I post something publicly and later notice minor, idiotic mistakes such as that one. (Or, in the case of this review, not notice.) Grrrrr. :{

Let's hope one of those manias comes on you soon, as I'd like to see what your opinion of the book is now, compared to your childhood memory. Sometimes it can be quite a shock to reread a childhood favorite; memories can be so rosy and then reality comes crashing down, making you wonder, "Why did I like this book?" ;P

faeriemyst Jeepers, you're only human, you know. Mistakes happen. I think if someone reads the whole review, they won't think you're a moron because you accidentally added a 'd'. Lordy, woman. Chill.

Yeah, don't bet on it. And I wasn't a child when I read it; either late teen or early twenties. What can I say? I'm quite forgetful. And it definitely wasn't a favorite. James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, those are my childhood faves. Luckily, I still think those two will still be good if I read them today. It's weird, I really can't remember any more favorites from my childhood, just some random books and series. Hmmm.

Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle) Can't help it. I'm so paranoid anymore about my mental abilities, the smallest mistake sends me into a tizzy. I've always semi-joked that this migraine of mine is turning my brain to mush, but in the past couple of years, I've noticed a slight deterioration and it frightens me. So any example of this makes me panic.

I figured that, considering you were referencing Harry Potter alongside it; I know you're younger than me, but not that much younger! I was just speaking in general terms. You know, and this might be sacrilegious to you, but I don't think I've ever read Roald Dahl; if I have, I don't remember. I don't know why, but I kinda skipped over him. I read E.B. White and The Neverending Story and the Phantom Tollbooth and a whole bunch of others, but never Dahl. Hmmm. I think that's just the nature of remembering childhood books; of course, you're lucky if you can remember the title or author. Several times, I can remember a favorite only by the cover art, which doesn't really help if you're trying to find it again. "Um, yeah, the spine was red and there was a girl, I think, on the cover and she may have been a ghost..." Libraries and bookstores don't have a catalog for listing books by their "remembered (sort of) cover art." :D

faeriemyst Or maybe it's because you're getting older (not that you're old, but you know what I mean). Could be either one. Now if you had like five or more mistakes in your review, then maybe you should jump on the panic train, but for right now. Calm down. Stress isn't going to help either your memory or migraine. This coming from someone from who suffers from anxiety. LOL Who's the kettle and who's the pot? :D

Are you sure granny? :P Nah, I haven't read all of Roald Dahl, I just loved his worlds as a kid, still do in fact. There's just something so charming about his writing. I never read any of those you mentioned, so maybe that's sacrilegious. ;) Although, I did read Charlotte's Web a few years back. And I only read one or two Madeleine L'Engle books growing up, but I do have them here to enjoy; probably in the same box as So You Want to Be a Wizard. LOL There is one book that I vaguely remember the cover too, but not the author, title, character names, or plot; it's maddening and drives me crazier when I try to remember anything else. Problem is, I'm not sure if I ever finished the book. Argh! Libraries should really have a catalog like that, it'd really help. :D

Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle) *screech* I'm old!!! And getting older!!!! Oh noooo! Don't wanna, can't make me! Sorry, couldn't resist the faux breakdown. ;P You're right, I'm calming down now; the freak out has passed. Peace has been reinstated, thank you. ;D Which one has the bigger belly? The pot, I think. Because that's definitely me. LOL

Watch out or that faux breakdown will become real, Miss Snarky I'm-Six-Years-Younger-Than-Lolly Faerie! :P I have a faint memory of reading James and the Giant Peach a few years back, after the movie came out. I was planning to read more of his, but somehow just never got around to it, which is a shame. Next time I go to the library, I'll have to hit the shelves; my lame library is sure to have at least one of his books. Nah, not sacrilegious, you've just been deprived, that's all. LOL I haven't read Madeleine L'Engle in years; I had her books, but got rid of them a few moves ago. In every move, books have always been the first casualty: they weigh too much. I really would like to read them again. Argh! Too many books! Brain. Will. Explode. *loud booming noise* Me dead, not talk gooder now. %P I know, I hate it when you can only remember one tiny detail of a book. It's even worse when you think you're remembering that detail correctly, only to find out, if you're ever lucky to actually find the book again, that you were waaay off. I know, they should, but can you imagine the length of time it would take to compile such a catalog, considering the many editions some books have, with different cover art and layouts? Yikes! That would be like a Howard Hughes-type of project, consuming all your time for the next 50 years; you'd disappear, only to be found many years later by a social worker as you wandered around your house in a tin-foil robe, with cereal boxes on your feet. LOL

faeriemyst Are you sure that was a faux breakdown? LOL Glad you've calmed yourself for the time being. Well, it depends on the size of the pot. A kettle is kinda roly-poly too, which fits me too. *sigh* I better stop before I start whining and crying. ;P

That wasn't snarky, that was facetious! LOL :D Yes, it is a shame. I just watched James and the Giant Peach a few months ago for the first time since it came out, it was still good. Oh, okay, I know I'm deprived, I fully embrace that fact about me. LOL Yes, that has happened to me too. So, it'd be worth it! :P Goodreads does have an extensive cover gallery but it's not like you can search by keywords or something. LMAO! Cereal boxes? Too funny.

Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle) Faux with just the slightest soupçon of reality. LOL I'll make a deal with you: I won't whine and cry over the state of my physique if you won't. Otherwise, we could both flood this site, and many, many others (we're talented that way). No one wants that. ;D

Same dif. :P Yeah, it's a cute movie; if I recall, they didn't dork with the book too badly in adapting it, plus I love the whole stop-motion type of filmaking. Well, as long as you recognize you were deprived... LOL That is the one thing I like (among many, I should add) about Goodreads, the fact that they do show the covers of other editions--for the most part. If they could just make them searchable. :/ Thank you, I try. :D

faeriemyst All righty then. I try not to whine and cry, and surprisingly I usually don't (amazing, I know :P), but sometimes the bottle finally explodes. :D Yes, we are quite the talent in that field, aren't we?

Yup, the movie was quite nifters. Goodreads is pretty cool about that. Sometimes there isn't a cover, but if you become a librarian here, you can add them too. I'm not sure what all entails being a librarian, if anything, so I've never done it. I know you do. Me, it just comes naturally. LOL ;D

Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle) I understand; I'm the same way. Despite my posts, I usually manage to keep things under control as well. I mean, what's the point in continually whining? I've met people who do that and it makes me want to hit them, to really give them something to complain about. So, other than occasional explosions, I try to keep my whinging to a minimum. :P

Sounds like it would be a bit of a responsibility to become a librarian, so I definitely wouldn't want to do it. I like to shirk responsibility whenever possible. LOL Rub it in, why don't you? You're naturally funny and I'm not, har har har. *ptthhhbbbb*

faeriemyst LOL Wonder what they'd do after you hit them. I think it's just a way to get compliments so they feel better about themselves. So, I try not to get too whiny, unlike others, I don't need constant attention.

Responsibility repels me too. :D Okay, I will then. Neiner, neiner, neiner! :P

Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle) Presumably, they'll start whining and complaining, which was the whole point of the exercise. LOL I think you're right. It's like a mild form of Münchausen syndrom: they need the attention and so complain to anyone within earshot of how miserable they are. I don't need that kind of attention either.

Boy, you are such a meanie...and you love it, don't you? ;D

faeriemyst Exactily! Just what I do to you. Evidenced by my recent hair post. LOL

Only occasionally. :D

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