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The Wizard's Dilemma (Young Wizards #5)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  6,958 Ratings  ·  144 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 20th 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published June 1st 2001)
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(showing 1-30)
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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,
Kathleen Dixon
Diane Duane writes the most elegant and beautiful wizardry, with Kit and Nita using the Speech and the elements to arrange their spells in an artistically creative way. Using the Speech they can understand all living creatures, even the rocks and the water. With their motivation being to harm nothing and to assist life whenever possible, they travel the universe on quests. They fight the Lone One (Evil Incarnate) and they liaise with alien wizards. And then there are the problems of growing up ( ...more
Linda ~ chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny ~
TW: (view spoiler)

More like dilemmas, because my word, were there a lot of them!

I loved this. This is more what I was hoping the last book would be like. Yes, we're still dealing with the Lone Power and Its deceptive ways, but the conflict here is more personal to Nita and her family as it directly effects them all. At the core of it, without giving too much away, the Dilemma(s) is that wizardry can be used for so many things: moving planets, creating new alien
Dixie A.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Yet another book in this series that broke my heart! Such beautiful writing!

Nita gets the terrible news that her mother is dying of cancer. In between hospital visits, Nita searches for a dangerous and elusive wizardry that will cure her mother, but the price may be more than she can pay. She and her wizarding work partner, Kit, have suffered a misunderstanding that keeps them apart. Determined to find a cure on her own, Nita falls prey to the evil Lone One, not realizing that Kit might have stu
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,
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Feb 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't the first time I read it, but apparently I didn't review before. This one, it's a bit dark. The good triumphs in the end, more or less, but before the end Nita almost makes a mistake and makes a "deal with the devil" so to speak. As Tom or Carl asked her, "Are you doing this for her [mother] or for you?" Nita's mother was amazing. I think that while I did understand the moral dilemma the first time I've read it, this time I got more out of it and focused on the adult figures more...
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exceptional entry into this series. I won't say much, as pretty much everything would be a spoiler- but this contains some of Duane's best writing that I've encountered so far, and it handles extraordinarily difficult and painful topics with a lot of grace. I appreciate this book tremendously.
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oof. This one is emotionally heavy.
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Of all the books in the series I've read so far, this one felt closest to the original for me. I think this was probably largely because it takes place in NYC, while the 2nd-4th books in the series take Nita and Kit to a wide variety of other places. I also felt much more emotionally invested in this one than in the 2nd-4th books, probably because the plot was much more personal for Nita and Kit. In books 2, 3, and 4, our heroes are helping out in situations that are really other peoples' proble ...more
Dan'l Danehy-oakes
Young wizard Nita Callahan has faced death several times. But now she must face it in a new way: Nita's mother has an aggressive, advanced form of cancer, for which the treatment plan is essentially "write your will."

But Nita isn't going to give up that easily. Her wizard's manual gives no answers, so she will find one herself. She travels to strange pocket universes to gain the skills she thinks she needs, meeting fellow wizards and the Transcendent Pig.

But is it enough? If not, she is prepare
A.K. Skelding
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Huh. You know, I'm not really sure what to say about this one. It is a painful book to read. But good.

I want to meet the Transcendent Pig. Not to ask questions or anything. We could just hang out.
rated it liked it
Mar 15, 2017
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
To what lengths would you go to save someone you love?

I cried while I read this book. Actually, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. The Wizard’s Dilemma is a book with a lot of emotional difficulty to it, but that’s part of what makes it so powerful.

The Wizard’s Dilemma is the fifth installment in the Young Wizard’s series, which starts with So You Want to Be a Wizard. I don’t think you necessarily need to have read all four of the previous books to understand this one, but I think i
John Kirk
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
((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
Julie Decker
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, wwjd
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
Freya Marske
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally, finally, I am moving past #4 in the Young Wizards series, and this was a hell of a way to re-enter the fray. It was like being slammed in the face with a block of solid AMAZING. It devoured 4 hours of my afternoon. Or possibly I devoured it. Something was devoured, in any case.

It was a little slow to start, but Duane is stunningly good at laying subtle breadcrumbs early in the piece that turn out to be important later on, and playing around with internal symmetry and echo, and this book
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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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