Books by Diane Duane

Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A delightful treat for dedicated fans but well-nigh impenetrable as an entry point to the series. (Fantasy. 12 & up)"
Apprentices become teachers, friendships turn to romance, and long-simmering subplots achieve resolution in the 10th entry of this well-loved fantasy series. Read full book review >
A WIZARD OF MARS by Diane Duane
Released: April 1, 2010

One of finest current writers of speculative fiction pays loving homage to its Golden Age in this ninth title in the Young Wizards series. Kit, Nita and their companions are recuperating from the Pullulus event by concentrating on their individual magic projects (Wizards at War, 2007). For Kit that means Mars, the planet that has fascinated him all his life. When surveying wizards awaken an ancient spell, Kit is sucked into a legendary Martian past, threatening both his own identity and the entire System; Nita, meanwhile, faces an agonizing conflict between destiny, duty and heart's desire. Duane's worldbuilding gleams with crystalline precision, a-glitter with lapidary characterization. Mundane dilemmas integrate smoothly with world-shaking crises, shot through with sparkling humor, and space-opera adventures resolve upon the subtle ethical interplay between right choices for wrong reasons, wrong choices for right reasons and all the shades of gray in between. With its large cast and elaborate back story, probably a poor entry point to the series, but for its many fans, an eminently satisfying addition. Best of all, unresolved subplots promise number ten is on the way. (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >
WIZARDS AT WAR by Diane Duane
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

The newest entry in the Young Wizards series is a reunion for the series' fans, though somewhat impenetrable to newcomers. Secondary characters from earlier volumes cameo when wizards fight yet another impending apocalypse. The Lone Power is rewriting the underlying structure of the universe, destroying wizardry in the process. Adult wizards lose their magic, leaving Kit, Nita, Dairine and friends to save the world again. The ultimate danger to the universe (more deadly than the ultimate danger in the preceding volume, which was more deadly than the ultimate danger in the volume before that) is neatly defeated by the youngsters' self-sacrifice and ability to convince aliens that Good is better than Evil. This entry's a solid pleasure for fans of the series, if only for the humorous entry of Kit's sister Carmela as a strong individual character. While the overstretched storylines (anthropomorphized wizardry, the divine ascension of multiple characters) are a far cry from the quality fare of So You Want to Be a Wizard? (1983), they still make tasty literary junk food. (Fantasy. 12-15)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2001

In her fifth book in the Wizardry series, Duane (A Wizard Abroad, not reviewed, etc.) continues to raise the stakes for her young wizards-in-training. Nita, adrift in adolescent angst, quarrels with her fellow wizard Kit and threatens to dissolve their partnership. Hurt and puzzled, Kit embarks on an independent investigation into his dog's surprising ability to find and shape new universes. Nita, however, has a more daunting challenge: her mother has been hospitalized with an aggressive brain tumor, and Nita is determined to find a magical cure. But wizardry requires discipline and study, and always has a price. When even a crash course in changing the very laws of nature seems insufficient, a desperate Nita must undergo the ultimate temptation by the Lone Power, the source of death and sworn enemy of all wizards. Frequent references to earlier events and sketchy portrayals of secondary characters might confuse some readers. But at heart this is Nita's story, as she confronts her powerlessness in the face of mortality. Evocative imagery superbly conveys her anguish, determination, rage, and despair. The changing landscapes of various alternate universes provide subtle commentary on each character's physical, emotional, and spiritual state. Duane has the gift of presenting spirituality without sectarianism or sentimentality; and the final showdown between the Lone Power and Nita, Kit, and Nita's mother provides a harrowing but triumphant affirmation of the power of the human spirit. Powerful and satisfying on many levels. (Fiction. 11 )Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1999

Cat fantasy, a sequel to The Book of Night with Moon (1997), wherein feline wizards keep magical transit gates functioning, prevent disasters and invasions, and generally tidy up, while humans go about their business in blissful ignorance. This time, the evil Lone Power has induced a Tower Hill, London, gate to malfunction, allowing unsuspecting humans to slide from or into the past. Sent by the Powers That Be, our heroes from Grand Central Station, New York—house cat Rhiow, dumpster resident Urruah, and impetuous young Arhu—examine the problem. The past, they discover, has already been changed: when Queen Victoria was assassinated in 1874, vengeful Britain bombed the world into a nuclear winter! How come? Well, one victim of the timeslipping gate dropped a modern scientific encyclopedia in 1816, giving rise to unrestrained and explosive scientific advances. The present, though, could change at any moment, so the wizards have to stabilize the timeline by preventing Victoria's assassination. They will have help, from the boy Arthur Conan Doyle (don't ask), while Ith, the dinosaur wizard from the previous adventure, investigates fragments of an ancient Egyptian spell written on cat mummy wrappings that might help stave off a nuclear winter. But despite all this, the Lone Power blocks access to 1874, and only when Arhu discovers the twin sister he never knew he had will the wizards find the power they need to enter it. After a dreadfully slow start, stuffed full of numbing details on the construction and operation of the gates, readers will discover little but recycled ideas and a stack of personal problems for the characters to work through. YA-ish and disappointing. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1997

Fantasy set in the universe Duane created in a YA series (Deep Wizardry, 1990, etc.). Cats are intelligent and have their own language, Ailurin; feline wizards with their human counterparts keep transit gates open and the world safe from disasters and invasions. Three New York wizards, house pet Rhiow, neurotic Saash, and dumpster resident Urruah, are detailed by the Powers That Be to repair a malfunctioning gate beneath Grand Central Station before a train accidentally gets hurled into another dimension. In the train tunnel the three battle hordes of rats and rescue a kitten, Arhu, who, though resentful and hostile, is destined to become a wizard, too. Next, the trio must travel into an alternate world of the past, Downside, to locate the gate's power source—but the locals are dinosaurs, and very belligerent. Then the investigators' human Area Advisory vanishes; they discover a magic spell written in Ailurin on an ancient Egyptian papyrus; Arhu develops a talent for seeing the future; and it becomes clear that they're being opposed by a dinosaur wizard backed by the evil Lone Power. Often intriguing, with a well-worked backdrop, but it's hard to find a logical or emotional connection between cats and dinosaurs. Still, fantasy-loving ailurophiles will curl up and purr. Read full book review >
DARK MIRROR by Diane Duane
Released: Dec. 1, 1993

A Star Trek: The Next Generation yarn from the fantasist (The Door into Sunset, p. 28) and veteran of numerous Star Trek hardcovers. Duane's first stab at a Next Generation tale is based on an old Star Trek episode, ``Mirror, Mirror,'' in which Kirk, Scott, and Uhura were propelled into a parallel universe where the Federation was a ruthless empire; their personal counterparts, with whom they had exchanged places, turned out to be brutal barbarian warriors bent on conquest and loot. This time, the Enterprise—with Hwiii, a dolphin scientist, aboard—is switched into the same universe visited by Kirk, and finds itself confronted by a counterpart Enterprise, bristling with weapons, of superior speed and power. Now Captain Jean-Luc Picard must defeat his evil twin and prevent the invasion planned by the other, malign, Federation. Anyone who saw the original episode knows more or less what to expect. Given the large first print run, the publishers obviously expect demand to be brisk—but, workmanlike, unsurprising, and mediocre as it is, will it play in Peoria? (First printing of 200,000) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1993

After a nine-year hiatus (The Door into Shadow, 1984, etc.), Duane's series again gets under way—this time as the evil Shadow and its minions threaten the Celtic/Norse-flavored kingdoms of Darthen and Arlen. After an interminable opening—all recaps, updates, chat, etc.—the plot finally asserts itself. The throne of Arlen is presently occupied by the usurper Cillmod, who has allied himself with the Shadow-inspired magician, Rian. Eftgan, Queen of Darthen, needs time to gather her forces for an assault in Arlen's capital, Prydon. Herwiss, master of Fire, the only extant male magician, contends with Rian but cannot defeat him despite the help of Sunspark, a fire-elemental. Warrior-sorceress Segnbora, having been given the memories of dragons, tries to persuade those same reluctant dragons to join the struggle against the Shadow. And Arlen's true king, Freelorn, survives Initiation in Lionhall, and acquires the magic of his godlike father, the White Lion. The culminating battle will disappoint nobody. Imaginative, well-handled magical affrays, plus plotting that- -eventually—provides enough twists and turns to keep things interesting: dramatic improvements after that glutinous start. Read full book review >