A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane. ★★★★
A Wizard of Mars is the ninth book in the Young Wizard series, which should really be read in order (the series starts with So You Want to Be a Wizard). In A Wizard of Mars, Kit and Nita are part of a team looking for evidence of prior life on the planet. When they find a “message in a bottle,” strange wizardry emerges. The Martians have plans of their own, and they might not be friendly…
I think A Wizard of Mars suffered from me reading it directly after book eight, which was one of the best installments in the series and very faced pasted. A Wizard of Mars was a lot slower to start out with, although the last hundred pages or so were a whirlwind. Even when the pace was slower in the beginning, there were still plenty of the character interactions I love about this series. Mamvish, the Species Archivist, is a delightful new character, and I liked the return of older characters like S’ree and Darryl.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the main villainess. On one hand, I like that the series is moving away from every book including a direct confrontation with the Lone Power. On the other hand, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the female antagonist falls into some gender tropes. Stories have a tendency to pit female characters against each other due to male characters, and while that may not have been all of what was going on here, it was certainly part of it.
There’s also a lot of really weird stuff going on with time and reincarnation in this book. I’m still confused by what exactly was happening or what it meant, but mostly I just accepted it and moved on.
The other big piece of news about A Wizard of Mars is that after eight books of being best friends, Kit and Nita are starting to move towards a romantic relationship. I would have preferred if they’d stayed best friends, since those are the sorts of stories I want more of, but I can deal with their relationship status update. Regardless of the change, it’s not nearly as annoying about it or as obsessive as many of the other YA books out there.
A Wizard of Mars is another solid installment to the very enjoyable Young Wizards series.