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Wizards at War (Young Wizards #8) by Diane Duane
First Impressions (sort of)
Like all of the Young Wizards books that I have read to date, aside from "A Wizard of Mars," the first time I read "Wizards at War" was as an audiobook. Therefore I was a little startled by the size of the paperback when it arrived. It was over 500 pages of fairly small type. So, knowing what enjoyment and danger (and just a little bit of heartbreak) lay within, I took a deep breath and dove in.
A lot happens in this book, including trips to four planets and the moon, just about all of the wizards we have met to date show up (Quelt is the only one I know of who is missing) and the Lone Power pulls one of Its biggest weapons out of Its arsenal. And yet, this is not the last book in the series. There are still at least two to go.
Kit and Nita return from destroying their host civilization with a week left of Spring Break, needing a vacation. The morning after they return, however, Tom and Carl arrive and tell the assembled wizards (Nita, Kit, Dairine, Roshaun, Sker'ret, and Filif) that the Seniors have just been involved in an intervention to stop Dark Matter from expanding. It turns out that Dark Matter (which has the proper name in this book of "the Pullulus") is expanding at such a rate that it is actually increasing the speed of the expansion of the universe.
The expansion of the Pullulus will erode magic, starting with the very oldest wizards. The adult wizards will lose their ability to use wizardry, and then the adult wizards will forget that magic exists at all. Soon after that, all adults will begin to forget that anything other than the physical, including things like love and hope, exist. It is up to the adolescent wizards of the entire universe to band together to fight the Pullulus and save the universe.
Meanwhile, a message from the Powers That Be is hidden inside one of our central group of wizards. This message will take our central group of wizards off on a mission of their own to find something new that is coming into being somewhere in the universe and make sure that it is successful in its birth.
Meanwhile, there are side trips, including Dairine and Roshaun each taking the other home to meet their families (Roshaun's family on Wellakh and Dairine's family on the Motherboard World, of course).
In my review of "Wizard's Holiday," I referred to a shift in the relationship between two of the characters. The characters in question were Roshaun and Dairine. They rub each other entirely the wrong way for nearly all of "Wizard's Holiday." Eventually, however, Roshaun reveals that being a wizard, and royalty into it, is actually a burden on his planet, and that starts the change. His revelation that our sun causes him pain and their discovery that his pain is caused by the sun actually being in danger bonded Roshaun and Dairine together in a way that will continue and deepen through this volume.
Overall, this is one of the best books in the series. Duane pulls out all the stops and gives us an epic story full of all of the things that we have come to expect from the series -- adventure, humor, sadness, character development, and, since it is a war, a little bit of violence. On some level I wonder if Duane originally intended this be the last book in the series, and knowing what I know about the future books in the series, I do wonder about the logistics of the (as I write this, still upcoming) 10th book in the series.