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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane

A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (563 pgs)
Rating: Aurora Best Book
Reviewed by Orchid

In the hotly anticipated ninth installment of the Young Wizards series, Kit and Nita become part of an elite team investigating the mysterious "message in a bottle," which holds the first clues to the secrets of the long-lost inhabitants of Mars. But not even wizardry can help them cope with the strange events that unfold when the "bottle" is uncorked and a life form from another era emerges.

Though the Martians seem friendly, they have a plan that could change the shape of more than one world. As the shadow of interplanetary war stretches over both worlds, Kit and Nita must fight to master the strange and ancient synergy binding them to Mars and its last inhabitants. If they don't succeed, the history that left Mars lifeless will repeat itself on Earth.

Magic and Mars. Teenagers and ancient people. Mix them up and you have a great book which holds the imagination throughout.

Teenage wizards involved with recent discoveries on Mars now want to take the next step. Kit and Nita are in the forefront of the investigations. Kit finds himself drawn to Mars by a compulsion he is unable to resist. The young wizards work on opening the capsule or “message in a bottle” they have found. Both youngsters and their older mentors feel the capsule could hold the answer to the disappearance of the species who used to live on Mars.

Kit’s sister Carmela, although not a wizard, has powers of her own and a gateway pass to take her wherever she wants to go in space - usually the Galactic shopping mall.

With the help of their elders and the individual wizard manuals they search for the secret Mars has hidden for so long. Nita and Carmela discover an important work of history, but it is Kit who finds the way to unlock the past and bring forth the ancient Martians. The young wizards still do not have their full powers and at times find it difficult to cope with all that is thrown at them.

This book is attention grabbing. The reader is never quite sure what is going to happen next. For instance the young wizards meet up with Earth’s Planetary Wizard, a young woman who comes complete with parrot and baby. Then there is Mamvish, a senior wizard Species Archivist who has six legs and loves tomatoes.

The young wizards are ordinary teenagers with the usual ups and downs associated with that age, but with the added ability of wizardry. Wizards aims are to protect planets and objects and beings on the planet. One of their abilities is to talk to inanimate objects and receive a reply. Kit has talked the remote control into the ability to tune the TV in to alien television.

A Wizard of Mars introduced me to a rich, descriptive world of Mars, both now and in the distant past. The story moved quickly from one scene to another, but slowed at just the right time to enable total absorption of what was happening. There is humor, adventure, magic and even a sinister undertone to the reasons behind the disappearance and reappearance of the ancient Martian inhabitants.

This is not the first of the Young Wizard Series. I shall certainly look out for the other eight to find out what happens before the events that have unfolded in this, the ninth book.

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