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159 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'On Ordeal:... · 0 replies · +6 points

I'm reading Interim Errantry 2 along with Mark, and I got to say, it's a fun experience. I can see why some people choose to do it. Truthfully, it was just good luck that this happened; I was waiting for a physical copy to be published, and Mark got to it first. I can't wait to learn about the rest of Roshaun's story!

160 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Games Wiza... · 2 replies · +7 points

Generally speaking, I enjoyed this book. There were a lot of small but powerful moments, it was great to see everyone having relative downtime, and Mehrnaz is the hero that we all needed but not a single one of us deserved. Yes, there were flaws - some very considerable flaws sometimes - but I had fun reading this book, and that is not something to be underestimated.

I never before considered that Carmela posted all the footage of the invitational final on the web - I just thought she had posted footage of Nita and Kit kissing. I'm totally psyched by the former idea, though, since it may lead to Earth becoming aware of wizardry. I dearly, dearly hope that is where book 11 is going to go, because I absolutely love stories of magic being revealed to the world, although I strongly suspect that I'm not so fortunate. Either way, some of the ominous foreshadowing we received in this book has not yet gotten a payoff, and I suspect that book 11 will be quite the rollercoaster ride of emotions. Qhnar'f Ghzoye ragevrf ba gur obbx pbasvez gung vg'f tbvat gb or n qnex bar.

I have not yet read Interim Errantry 2, so I am super excited about discovering those stories alongside Mark for once! Also very excited about the Feline Wizard books...and whatever may be after Young Wizards! (Please be the Chaos Walking series...)

160 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Games Wiza... · 1 reply · +8 points

I mean, I'm happy that Roshaun is back in that I'm happy that Dairine is happy, but honestly, I never liked Roshaun as a character, so I'm kind of feeling meh about the actual event. I can appreciate how it'll make everyone's lives happier, especially his parents, though.

The climax itself, though, was pretty freaking spectacular, and all the more unexpected for the low-key nature of this book otherwise. Naq vg qbrf ybbx yvxr gur Pnezryn qernz vf bzvabhf sberfunqbjvat sbe obbx 11, qbrfa'g vg?

But one big problem that I'm having right now is that it seems that Duane is going to be using Penn's Outrider as an excuse for his obnoxious behavior and misogyny, and that's not acceptable at all. I mean, for one thing, it doesn't even make sense. And even if you could fit it in with his behavior, it's not an acceptable explanation. Unfortunately, a recurring theme in this series seems to be that having a tragic past justifies bad behavior in the present, and I don't agree with that philosophy at all. There is no good excuse for being an asshole.

By the way, I didn't get a chance to say this last week, but Mark has been mispronouncing the Finnish competitor's first name. The J should be pronounced like a Y.

161 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Games Wiza... · 2 replies · +15 points

If you want the T-shirt, then you should buy one here: https://www.cafepress.com/youngwizards/13326263. Or its variant here: https://www.cafepress.com/youngwizards/13336716.

161 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Games Wiza... · 0 replies · +7 points

I'm not sure it's my place to say anything about Lissa and the effectiveness of her character as ace representation, since I'm not ace.

I will say that I felt the experience some of the ace commenters above have been reporting, about their enthusiasm about being represented, reminds me of my own reaction to the inclusion of an autistic main character in the recent Power Rangers movie. For so many years, I've had to make do with having characters just coded as autistic, or inferring that they're autistic, and suddenly there's an awesome superhero actually stating that he's on the autism spectrum. It was a mind-blowing moment, and one of the reasons, if not the primary one, that I regard that movie so highly. Representation is stunningly important.

It's one thing for Penn to be fine with the duel, but I expected better from Kit. It's like he learned absolutely nothing from A Wizard of Mars. It's just a truly foolish thing to do - to say nothing of condescending - and I can completely understand Nita's ire at him when she found out. Kit's a wizard. He can just put up a shield spell and let Penn blast away.

I didn't have a chance to say this in the last review, but I really, really like the low-stakes storyline throughout most of the novel, and I think that the fact that it still holds our interest is a testament to Duane's writing skill.

162 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Games Wiza... · 1 reply · +8 points

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, but I like that the Powers aren't omniscient. It means that they can fuck up in spectacularly epic ways and still remain believable and worthy of Nita's respect and service, so long as they make up for their mistakes. I'm pretty sure that Dairine's role as Mehrnaz's mentor is an effort by the Powers to correct a massive mistake they made.

Because, honestly, the idea that the Powers fucked up on an epic scale is the only halfway plausible explanation for what's going on with Mehrnaz's family. How are these so-called people still wizards?! They serve the Lone Power in all but name with their evil. (I'm not suggesting that they're overshadowed, by the way.) And evil is the BEST word I can use to describe their treatment of Mehrnaz, which is frankly horrifying.

One of the things that distinguishes this series from others of its ilk is the fact that there are no dark wizards. Yes, there are wizards who are overshadowed, but they're the exception that proves the rule. But, in general, the idea of wizards being evil is antithetical; if a wizard demonstrated a propensity towards evil, they wouldn't BE a wizard for much longer. So the reveal about Mehrnaz's family being so downright awful came as especially stunning. Not that I'm implying that this was a bad writing choice on Duane's part - far from it!

While I do love Dairine's smackdown of Afsoun, I also recognize that it probably made things worse in the long run for Mehrnaz and I'm glad that this receives recognition.

As for Penn...well, the less I have to think about him, the better.

163 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Games Wiza... · 0 replies · +7 points

Sorry, but I'm still not convinced. Rule number one of dealing with the Lone Power should always be: DO NOT TRUST THE LONE POWER. I mean, sure, Nita should be OPEN to the possibility that it's telling the truth, but she should operate under the assumption that it's not until proven otherwise. It's safer that way.

164 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Games Wiza... · 3 replies · +15 points

No, I want someone to turn Penn into a flea, a harmless little flea. And then I want someone to put that flea in a box, and then I want them to put that box into another box, and then I want them to mail that box to themself, and when it arrives, I want them to SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER!

164 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Games Wiza... · 0 replies · +14 points

Nita meeting Jupiter is absolutely one of my favorite scenes of this book, if not this series. I really like that the situation is chill enough that Duane can fit in some of the more esoteric aspects of the lore into the main story. Overall, the comparatively low stakes of the competition have made this a better story. Anyone can make apocalyptic stakes interesting. But where the stakes are this personal, it takes skill to pull that off.

Jupiter is technically speaking an alien, in that he's a sentient being not from Earth. The mythological Jupiter was pretty much the prototypical MRA. And Jupiter probably doesn't speak to wizards that often. So all of your guesses were true, Mark...from a certain point of view.

Yeah, it's probably a testament to the utter lack of enthusiasm I feel for the Kit/Nita ship that Jupiter/Saturn is coming off as a lot more realistic by comparison. And, of course, a testament to Duane prodigious talent.

165 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Games Wiza... · 0 replies · +6 points

I'll concede that Penn has one thing and only one thing going for him: He's so shitty that he makes Mehrnaz look even more amazing by comparison, which can only be a good thing.