Book: So You Want To Be A Wizard
Author: Diane Duane
How I got my hands on it: The first time I read it I picked it up in the school library
Why I read it: My English teacher in Jr. High read the first chapter to my class, I was hooked after that
So I have to admit that I read this book years ago. I’m starting classes again on the 23rd and have not had a lot of time to read. This is one of my very favorite books though, and I thought it would be fun to review it.
So You Want To Be A Wizard (from here on referred to SYWTBAW) is the first book in the Young Wizards series. I would call it a scientific American version of Harry Potter. Where Harry Potter was based heavily on fables and fairy tales, the Young Wizard series is based on science. The author, Diane Duane, has a degree in Astronomy and it heavily influences her writing. All of the ‘magic’ in the series is tied into science and how that knowledge allows wizardry to work.
The story opens with Nita, running down the sidewalk desperately trying to avoid being caught by the bullies that are following her. Just as she is running out of breath she spies the one place that she knows she can find safety-- the library. She ducks inside and manages to lose the bullies. While she is waiting to make sure it’s safe to leave the library she spends time walking along the bookshelves, running her hands along the spines of the books, her ‘old friends’ as she refers to them. Something catches her hand, a loose thread from a book, and she stops to look at it. The title of the book is So You Want To Be A Wizard. She opens it to the first page and finds ‘The Wizards Oath’ it says that by taking that oath she will be granted power, she will become a wizard. She takes the oath and her life is forever changed. The book that Nita had found was a ‘Wizards Manuel’, with it she learns everything she needs to know to be a wizard. Nita soon finds and makes friends with another beginning wizard, Kit, a Hispanic boy just a year younger than her. Soon Kit and Nita find themselves involved with things that are far more serious and dangerous than either of them could have imagined.
This truly is one of the best YA fantasy series out there. The books get even better as they go along. The characters develop and new characters are introduced that you will fall in love with. The plots are unique and intriguing. The idea that all of their ‘wizardry’ comes from science is fascinating. It’s obvious that the author knows her stuff, and you actually learn little tidbits here and there about astronomy or botany or just random scientific facts.
They are very “bookish” books. The characters have a great love of reading. One of the ‘traits’ of a Wizard is a love for books. One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from SYWTBAW. “Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.” Isn’t that fantastic?
I feel like I know the series so well that I can’t adequately describe it. But I really do urge you to read the series, especially if you enjoy YA or Fantasy.