Interim Errantry by Diane Duane.
Interim Errantry is actually a bundle of a short story, a novella, and a short novel all set in the Young Wizards universe. These stories were all published independently by Diane Duane, and they are basically extra material for the fans. I don’t think knowledge of any of them will be required for the upcoming tenth book, but I wouldn’t recommend these stories to people who haven’t read the prior Young Wizard books, which start with So You Want to Be a Wizard.
Separate reviews of all three stories follow.
“Not on My Patch” by Diane Duane. ★★★
“Not on My Patch” is a Halloween themed short story from Nita’s perspective. Nita, Kit, Ronan, and Dairine are all going out trick or treating and they run into some mischief. It really doesn’t go much beyond that, although I did love Dairine’s jedi costume.
How Lovely Are Thy Branches by Diane Duane. ★★★★
In How Lovely Are Thy Branches, Carmela holds a Christmas party and invites all our favorite wizards. Carmela’s reason for the party is to finally get Filif dressed up as a Christmas tree, which he was interested in back in Wizard’s Holiday. This was a really sweet story and basically pure fluff. Character interactions were at the forefront.
Lifeboats by Diane Duane. ★★★1/2
Lifeboats is a full 90,000 word Young Wizards story. The planet Tevaral is about to be destroyed by its moon, and a large group of wizards have been recruited to help with the evacuation. The only problem is that a large subset of the population doesn’t want to leave.
Lifeboats is told entirely through Kit’s POV. The other characters do appear, of course, but for the most part Lifeboats is focused on Kit. I was all right with this set up, but I still would have liked more time with the other characters as well. That said, Kit was really the only one who had an impact on the plot, so it makes sense that Duane’s following him (plus this story deals with Kit’s feelings about Ponch).
Diane Duane purposefully wrote Lifeboats to be a different type of Young Wizards story. Instead of a small group of characters working alone, in Lifeboats they are at the periphery of a large group project. Thus, Lifeboats isn’t as climatic as many of the other Young Wizards stories. It is more focused on the emotions of the various characters, particularly Kit. It also gives a different view of wizardry.
The previous two stories were both in the holiday specials vein. This wasn’t as true with Lifeboats, but the story does take place near Valentine’s Day, which gives Duane a handy reason to explore the changes in Nita and Kit’s relationship. In this vein, Lifeboats was a bit more explicit and “teen” than most of the prior stories have been.
Overall, if you’re a fan of the series, I think you’d like this collection.