Reviews for Wizard's Dilemma


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 June 2001
Gr. 6-9. In the fifth book in the Young Wizards series, the young wizard Nita, still recuperating from her stay in Ireland in A Wizard Abroad (1997), is hoping for life to return to normal, but things aren't turning out that way. She and her fellow wizard and close friend, Kit, seem to be going off in different directions, and their relationship is suffering. When Nita's mother is diagnosed with a fast-growing malignant brain tumor, Nita travels to other universes looking for a cure. She encounters the evil Lone Power, who offers her a bargain--her power for her mother's life. Then Nita gets help from an unexpected source. The climactic battle is melodramatic, and Nita's path to get there is a twisted one, so give this to the saga's stalwart fans. ((Reviewed June 1 & 15, 2001)) Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Fall
In the fifth book, ninth-grader Nita searches for a spell to cure her mother's cancer and finds the Lone Power, the Satan-like enemy of wizards, ready to make a deal. The techno-jargon wizardry is stultifying, Nita and her partner Kit aren't believable as early teens, and the climactic showdown calls for a few too many dramatic reversals of readers' expectations. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2001 June #1
In her fifth book in the Wizardry series, Duane (A Wizard Abroad, not reviewed, etc.) continues to raise the stakes for her young wizards-in-training. Nita, adrift in adolescent angst, quarrels with her fellow wizard Kit and threatens to dissolve their partnership. Hurt and puzzled, Kit embarks on an independent investigation into his dog's surprising ability to find and shape new universes. Nita, however, has a more daunting challenge: her mother has been hospitalized with an aggressive brain tumor, and Nita is determined to find a magical cure. But wizardry requires discipline and study, and always has a price. When even a crash course in changing the very laws of nature seems insufficient, a desperate Nita must undergo the ultimate temptation by the Lone Power, the source of death and sworn enemy of all wizards. Frequent references to earlier events and sketchy portrayals of secondary characters might confuse some readers. But at heart this is Nita's story, as she confronts her powerlessness in the face of mortality. Evocative imagery superbly conveys her anguish, determination, rage, and despair. The changing landscapes of various alternate universes provide subtle commentary on each character's physical, emotional, and spiritual state. Duane has the gift of presenting spirituality without sectarianism or sentimentality; and the final showdown between the Lone Power and Nita, Kit, and Nita's mother provides a harrowing but triumphant affirmation of the power of the human spirit. Powerful and satisfying on many levels. (Fiction. 11 ) Copyright 2001 Kirkus Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 2001 August
Gr 6-8-Now 14, Nita bemoans the fact that she "kept running into problems for which wizardry either wasn't an answer, or else was the wrong one. And even when it was the right answer, it never seemed to be a simple one anymore." School is harder than ever before, and her wizarding partnership with her best friend, Kit, has been under stress, when the ultimate blow comes: her mother has intractable brain cancer. As in earlier books in the series, wizardry is an unusual hybrid of science fiction and fantasy conventions, in which interplanetary aliens and parallel uni-verses coexist with spells and talking trees. In this installment, the two friends each face a dilemma: Kit finds he can retreat forever into his own self-created heaven, but at the cost of giving up the fight against evil. Nita learns she can cure her mother's cancer, but only by sacrificing her powers to the Lone One, the source of all unhappiness in the universe. As the maturing wizards learn in the story's moving conclusion, there are no simple answers to decisions like these. A well-crafted plot, occasional dry humor, and appealing main characters will make this novel popular with readers new to the series as well as with Duane's fans.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2001 August
Teenaged Nita and Kit had always been ideal partners and talented wizards, able to communicate perfectly and instantly-without disagreement-what they should do. Neither is prepared to deal with adolescent angst, and when they find themselves arguing about the proper spell for a problem, they wind up going their separate ways. Both are uncertain what to do to repair their rift, and new crises further complicate the situation. Nita's work is cut short by bad news-her mother has cancer, which appears incurable by either medical or magical means. Nita finds out that her younger sister Dairine's magic is too uncontrollable to help, and that if Nita is to help her mother, she will have to do it on her own. Nita knows that she is unlikely to learn enough to save her mother and becomes increasingly desperate. Her grave situation makes her vulnerable to the Lone Power-who offers her a Faustian bargain that would change her life and the universe forever. Readers unfamiliar with the first four books in Duane's Young Wizards series might not be as affected by Nita's turmoil but would still be captivated by it. This book can be read on several levels-as a gripping and dynamic fantasy for younger teens and a discussion for older teens about destiny and choice and one person's right to affect other lives. Fans of the author will flock to this new adventure, which likely will bring new readers to the series.-Betsy Fraser. 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2001 Voya Reviews

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