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

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
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This book is so easy and fast to read but it took me FOREVER to actually read it. I kept picking it up, reading twenty pages, and then putting it down in favor of something else.

Nita is our main character. She's a twelve year old girl living in New York. She's a bit nerdy (her favorite possession is a space pen her uncle gave to her that can write on anything) and she's having trouble with a bully in her class at school. When she's hiding from said bully in the library after school, she happens across a book called So You Want to Be a Wizard, which turns out to be an actual manual on wizardry that Nita didn't so much find as it sought her out. If she takes the Oath inside it and decides to become a wizard, the book will tailor itself to her magical education. She will also have a responsibility as a wizard to preserve life and fight against entropy, the main objectives of magic. While exploring her new powers, she comes across Kit, a fellow young wizard, and both of them having recently taken their oath, are caught up in a series of events that act as their Test into the ranks of wizardry.

I'm pretty sure if I would have read this book as a kid, I would have loved it. I've never seen magic done quite like this before, and the actual story was pretty great. It had high stakes and everything worked perfectly together. I had two basic issues with the book, though. The first is a big one, and was really my main issue. The characters were so flat and blah. Kit and Nita, aside from both being nerdy and picked on by others, have no identifying characteristics. Not many likes or dislikes. No personalities. They do what they do to advance the plot, and any emotional investment I had in them by the end was secondhand because of the way they both felt after something happened with another character who I actually cared about. I think the main trouble here is that Duane was spent too much time on the action of her story, and not enough on the emotion. Her worldbuilding also suffered.

The world she built was pretty complicated, a mix of science and magic, but it's basically only 3-4 days from the time Nita gets her book until she's making complicated spells and knowing stuff about magic and the magical world like she's been studying it for ages. It was completely unbelievable. And it wouldn't have been that difficult for Duane to just stretch out the time periods! They were completely within her control. It's a shame because if those two things would have been better, that ending would have absolutely slayed me.

Anyway, I will probably continue on with this series because I've learned to give long series more chances to get their hooks in me. But it probably won't be until next year.
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Reading Progress

June 21, 2011 – Shelved
September 22, 2015 –
10.0% "When your prologue is 37 pages long, I'm thinking it's not really a prologue . . ."
September 23, 2015 –
31.0% "This certainly has an interesting take on magic. I feel like the kids are picking things up a little too quickly, though."
September 24, 2015 –
38.0% "I am just crawling through this itty bitty book. I know if I sat down and gave it the college try, I'd finish in less than two hours, but so many other things seem more fun to me. Noooot a great sign."
Started Reading
September 25, 2015 –
62.0% "The story here is really pretty neat. I just wish I liked her writing style more."
September 25, 2015 –
70.0% ""(I don't know,) Fred said again. (How am I supposed to judge? But you're wizards, you should know how terrible a power belief is, especially in the wrong hands--and how do you tell which hands are wrong? Believe something and the Universe is on its way to being changed. Because you've changed, by believing. Once you've changed, other things start to follow. Isn't that the way it works?)""
September 25, 2015 – Shelved as: fantasy
September 25, 2015 – Shelved as: kid-lit
September 25, 2015 – Shelved as: treasure-and-adventure
September 25, 2015 – Shelved as: urban-fantasy
September 25, 2015 – Shelved as: wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey
September 25, 2015 – Finished Reading
March 14, 2019 – Shelved as: unfinished-series

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