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A Wizard of Mars

(Young Wizards #9)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,974 ratings  ·  168 reviews
In the hotly anticipated ninth installment of the Young Wizards series, Kit and Nita become part of an elite team investigating the mysterious “message in a bottle,” which holds the first clues to the secrets of the long-lost inhabitants of Mars. But not even wizardry can help them cope with the strange events that unfold when the “bottle” is uncorked and a life form from
Hardcover, 550 pages
Published April 12th 2010 by Harcourt (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  2,974 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, middle-grade, fantasy
I think I might have screamed out loud when I discovered this book existed! The Young Wizards series have been favorites of mine since I read So You Want To Be A Wizard back in jr. high school! I can't count the number of times I've read Deep Wizardry, which is still my favorite! I love the Duane keeps finding fresh permutations and adventures for Nita and Kit and their cohorts, and I love the elaborate and very logical techno-wizardry.

That said, I did have a bit of a hard time getting into the
Madeline Knight-Dixon
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A Wizard of Mars, Diane Duane:

I always forget how much I LOVE this series. It may be young adult fiction, but the themes and the scientific content put it way beyond other books of the genre. These aren’t just kids messing around, falling in love, and playing with magic. Or even Harry Potter who’s only fighting one evil. The characters in these books are fighting THE evil, the source of death and everything else horrible in the world. They work non-stop to slow down the effects of entropy on the
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
I can't help it, I'm a sucker for Diane Duane's Wizard books. I love how she mixes enough scientific veneer into the plot to keep the wizardry both interesting and realistic (enough). It's not just magic -- there's some actual physics involved!

In this story, we're off to Mars with Kit and Nita, and the vistas and tidbits about Martian geology and current conditions are all well researched and enjoyable for an areophile like myself (with nitpick mode firmly OFF). There are fun references here to
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I can't believe Diane Duane started this series almost 30 years ago. It's been interesting to watch her incorporate modern technology into the series, even as Kit and Nita age only about one book-year for every 15 real-world years. I'm glad she started the series in 1982; part of what drew me to the series was the way Nita's manual snagged her fingers as she ran her hands along that library bookshelf back in book 1.(view spoiler) ...more
May 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
The wizards' battle against entropy and chaos continues in this, the ninth book of Diane Duane's "So You Want to Be a Wizard" series. Kit and Nita are part of the wizarding expedition that accidentally wakes up the long-sleeping Martians. Kit is entranced by them, but all is not well--they are a warlike people, and plan to colonize Earth!

My summary makes it sound a lot more interesting than it actually is. There are far too many characters and not much plot. The vast majority of this novel is ju
Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~
It was never going to be easy to follow up Wizards at War, so I can cut Duane some slack for the unevenness of this book. It takes a long time for the central conflict to show up, and then the climax is a bit rushed. The expanding role of Carmela into this world felt forced and she nearly veers into Mary Sue territory. The whole thing with Nita and Kit maybe starting to have feelings for each other didn't exactly come out of nowhere but since they've been kept apart for most of the previous few ...more
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
So close to 5 stars! The allusions, references, and callbacks to the many versions of Mars were just lovely. Seeing Nita and Kit deal with mid-puberty was fun and sweet, and I especially liked the subtlety of the last bit of that. Watching both of them deal with the aftermath of lost loved ones was all-too-realistic and required a tissue or two.

And the wizards -- both new and from previous books -- were FUN and amusing.

Two things:
* Nitpick: It is Caltech. It is never, ever, ever CalTech. I don'
Melissa Railey
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading the Young Wizards since I was in middle school and I absolutely love these books. When I heard that A Wizard of Mars was coming out, I rushed to Amazon and pre-ordered the book so that I would have it delivered to my home on release day. And then let it sit in my TBR stack for over a year. I finally picked it up this week and started reading it and have been asking myself the same question all week: why did I wait so long to read this book?

In this ninth book, Nita Callahan and
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not Duane's best book ever, but its heart overcomes its flaws. Solidly enjoyable.

The not-so-good: Nita's side of the plot lagged noticeably in the middle third of the book, and the detail heavy narration on every "spell" grew tedious. Then again, I'm not much of a sci-fi fan, so I have less patience for such details in any case. Still, it felt more...cluttered, than it needed to be, with too many characters running around. (Particularly in the beginning.) However, I simply scanned when I got bor
Mar 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Despite the fact they're 'wizards', I have a really hard time calling this fantasy. So it's getting only a science fiction tag from me. Nyea.

As I was reading, I sort of half-remembered what had gone on before. By the time I reached the end of the book, I came to the conclusion that I had missed a book somehow. Possibly two! But now I need to forget enough of the spoilers to be able to go back and read it.

And you should probably start with So You Want to be a Wizard and read them in order. Even t
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
I thought this was so much fun! I loved all the Mars bits. Duane must have had a ton of fun researching for this one - watching all sorts of old "Mars attacks" movies. She made me want to sit down and watch some! I especially loved the part with the War of the Worlds broadcast, since I read Meghan McCarthy's Aliens Are Coming!: The True Account Of The 1938 War Of The Worlds Radio Broadcast with my library classes last year.

My one complaint with this is that it is far too long! I would have enjoy
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Thoughts upon rereading: Some parts dragged. Dairine's storyline got barely any attention and had nothing to do with the focus of the story (I very much *want* to know her storyline, but not in this book).

All the Mars references were pretty darn cool. I actually understood them all this time!

And the plot: very good! Glad to see shades of gray introduced with the Lone Power's influence. All 8 previous books have been about direct conflicts, and this one finally breaks the pattern.

And the ending?
Sheila Beaumont
The ninth book in a terrific fantasy/science fiction series. It's been five years since the eighth installment, but it's well worth the wait! In this one, Nita, Kit and fellow wizards go to Mars to investigate the possible revival of past life there. I love the way the author pays tribute to previous SF writers who have speculated about Martian civilization. Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom on Mars! Well, sort of. It's great fun. If you're a newcomer to the series, don't start with this one. Go bac ...more
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
From my other edition notes: "I need to read the Burroughs series. And I love this book."

Well, I've read the Burroughs series and it's bonkers, but in the way Duane always does, she distills the best of the vibes to an elegant form that feels organic and original AND nostalgic simultaneously. I forgot how human the conflicts in here were; it seems like fighting a planet (basically) is very elemental, but this is all sociopolitics and teenage scrapping, which I love more than reasonable.
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was actually a little worried the first third of the book that I wasn't going to like this one as much as the rest of the series but I don't know why I doubted Diane Duane for even a second. She is so brilliant at weaving together such an intricate story with so many nuances. One of my favorites so far! ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Lis Carey
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, fiction
Kit has been obsessed with Mars lately, and has been spending a lot of time there. Often that time is with Ronan and Darryl, because Nita doesn't share his fascination with the red planet. Yet there's a real wizardly mystery on Mars: its kernal is missing. This could have real and unpredictable consequences, and there's also the question of why there aren't any Martians. So the boys aren't there alone; quite a few other wizards, including Earth's Planetary, Irina, and the regional Species Archiv ...more
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any series of books that has reached #9 is one (or both) of two things: successful enough to have a readership base to sustain itself / intricate enough to mean that new readers should absolutely not start here. Whilst I have no idea about the first condition (although I imagine it can't just be vanity publishing!), the second is most definitely true. Although the basic plot is sufficiently independent to be comprehensible to newcomers, the universe building is not explained at all, and several ...more
Dixie Conley
Feb 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This book is about Mars. More specifically, about life on Mars. Discovering it, enabling it and defending ourselves from it. Not my favorite book by any means.

A big discovery has been made on Mars. They've discovered an artifact. They don't know what it does, but Kit messes with it anyway and something happens. It sends signals all over the planet and things start waking up. Those wizards who look into it are tested in different ways and Kit becomes possessed. The old Martians want to be restore
Sally Ember
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have read and liked all of the books in this fun series, which certainly rivals the "Harry Potter" series and begins prior to that series' first book's publication, so don't go carrying on about "copy-catting," here, unless it's J.K. Rowling's copying Diane Duane !

There are strong, interesting female characters of both human and non-human species as well as key males in both human and non-human form. The main characters of the "Young Wizards Series" started with Kit (male, human) and Nita (fe
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Philpot
Apr 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Diane Duane has done it again. An incredibly well crafted story in the universe she has crafted and evolved over nine fantastic books. For any fan of the series, this is a must read. Anyone new, I highly recommend starting from the first installment.

The painstaking descriptions of the Mars environment really makes everything real - as if this could really be happening and we are oblivious to it. The plot development is a bit like A Wizard's Dilemma and A Wizard Alone where Kit and Nita are separ
M. Todd Webster
Apr 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
This ninth book in the Young Wizards series seemed a little slow-moving to me, but I think fans of the series will be pleased with it. The possibility of figuring out what's odd about Mars and finding or awakening sentient life there comes to obsess Kit and drive a wedge between him and Nita. Pop-culture references abound as Kit and other familiar characters, plus some new ones, explore the mystery and get drawn in. (I was thrilled that the planetary wizard for Earth always travels with her infa ...more
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Someone I know is going to give me flak about giving a 5, but I enjoyed this book.

It was very fun, but it had an air of mystery about it pertaining to the original inhabitants of Mars. It is cool to see how the extra characters in the series have been kept in the story rather than dropped out. Ronan seems to be a little more lighthearted than in the past, but I suppose nearly dying and no longer having the equivalent of an archangel inhabit the back of his mind can do that to a person.

The addit
“The Speech isn’t the only language with power. If a story hasn’t been heard in a long time, much power can lie in it, tightly compressed until it’s told again...”
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan'l Danehy-oakes
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
"Young Wizards" book 9

Okay, so, well.

For the past several books of this series, I admit I haven't been so much _reviewing_ as _blurbing._ This is the result of reading nine in a row, while on vacation, and not being able to write them up as I read them. Here I shall make some comments about the series as a whole, with particular application, of course, to _A Wizard of Mars_.

The tile made me somewhat suspicious. Could this be Barsoom?

Yes and no.

Kit Rodriguez, Nita Callahan's partner-in-wizardry,
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm wondering how much planning Diane Duane does before each book in the series. Book 8 felt like it could have been a definative ending for the series, but now we're on Mars.... Which doesn't feel like a progression from the outside, but like the books that came before it, it feels like it's right where it should belong in the book order as it plays off the feelings of loss from the previous books. But also we're going to Mars! Which is just a fun story beat to begin with. Sure, we've seen so m ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic, middle-fiction
There are a lot of (especially old) science fiction novels set around Mars, ranging from the shoot-em-up space cowboys through the terribly dated adventures with horribly stereotypical male and female roles (again, talk pre-feminisim) to the other end of the spectrum with some of the Greats (easy to find, just Google or search Goodreads lists). Duane's Young Wizards series takes us there with magic added into the equation, and she does it really well.

Kit has been fascinated by Mars for a long ti
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Diane Duane has been a writer of science fiction, fantasy, TV and film for more than forty 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 an

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)
  • The Wizard's Dilemma (Young Wizards #5)
  • A Wizard Alone (Young Wizards #6)
  • Wizard's Holiday (Young Wizards, #7)
  • Wizards at War (Young Wizards, #8)
  • Games Wizards Play (Young Wizards #10)

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“I have to give her what you did, don't I?" she said. "Enough of my personal information for Aurilelde to link to her own... so that the congruency between us is complete, and all this works out the way it should..."
Kit didn't say anything.
...But why wouldn't I? Nita thought. To make all this come out all right. She nodded to Irina. Irina nodded back, turned away.
And only then did it occur to Nita, with a shock, that this would mean it hadn't been Aurilelde who Kit had been so attracted to. It was her...”
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