Wizard’s Holiday by Diane Duane. ★★★1/2
Wizard’s Holiday is the seventh book in the Young Wizard series by Diane Duane, a YA fantasy series which starts with So You Want to Be a Wizard. I generally recommend reading the series in order. The plot of this installment is basically wizards’ student exchange program – with aliens! Nita and Kit head off to stay at a strange planet where everything seems like it should be perfect, but there’s a lingering sense of unease. Dairine plays host to three alien visitors.
““Uh, popi,” Kit said, “uh, is it okay if I go halfway across the Galaxy for a couple of weeks?”
“Nita going with you?” Kit’s father said, not putting the paper down.
“Uh, yeah, pop.”
“Her dad said it’s okay?”
“Fine. Dress warm,” Kit’s father said, and turned to the comics section.”
After Nita and Kit leave, the book splits into two strands, one following them and the other following Dairine and her alien house guests. I much preferred Dairine’s section. Both sections were incredibly slow plot wise. Over half way through, it felt like the plot still hadn’t arrived. However, Dairine’s section had the benefit of being hilarious. Every moment with the alien guests (a talking tree, a giant centipede, and an arrogant alien prince) was delightful. Carmela, Kit’s older sister, also played a role in showing the aliens around earth, such as accompanying them and Nita on a humorous trip to the shopping mall. Even though the plot for this section showed up so late, it was still a joy to read due to these wonderful character moments.
On the other hand, Nita and Kit’s section was dull. Possibly even as dull as what I consider the worst book in the series, A Wizard Abroad. The problem with a “seemingly perfect” planet is that until the reason it’s imperfect shows up, it is super boring to read about, and there wasn’t the humor that made Dairine’s section so breezy.
“Dairine’s response to aliens could range from partying with them to blowing them up”
Something that Diane Duane does very well is creating likable characters. I grew to care about Dairine’s alien house guests in no time, and I’m glad that they reappear in future books. It was also nice to see more of Dairine since she hasn’t had a major viewpoint since back in book three.
Wizard’s Holiday is a light spot before the much darker and tension filled eighth book. It also contains a lot of set up for this next book, which might be part of why I had pacing for some of it. Anyway, this is still a series I highly recommend! And don’t skip Wizard’s Holiday if you’re reading it for the first time – I might not have liked Nita and Kit’s section that much, but the book’s still worth reading, particularly for alien house guest hijinks.