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A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane

A Wizard Abroad (1997)

by Diane Duane

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Young Wizards (4), Wizardry [Diane Duane] (4)

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A Wizard Abroad is the fourth book in the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, which starts with So You Want to Be a Wizard. It’s also my least favorite book in the reread so far.

In A Wizard Abroad, Nita’s parents decided to send her to Ireland to go stay with her aunt so that she can “take a break” from wizardry and working with her friend Kit. However, once Nita gets to Ireland she finds that the entire country is layered with old magic and that the distance between worlds and times is incredibly close. If the situation isn’t dealt with, bad things could happen.

“If we can’t stop this, then the barriers between present and past will break down everywhere, and the physical world will be progressively overrun by the nonphysical: All the myths and truths that become myth, all the dreams and nightmares, all the more central and more peripheral realities will superimpose themselves on this one… inextricably.”

I didn’t feel a sense of urgency or threat regarding the plot. There’s a couple of instances of dangerous things happening because of the closeness of the realities – Nita gets attacked by ancient wolves and a village square gets wrecked by drows – but overall it still feels very vague.

A Wizard Abroad was also very heavy on Irish mythology, which I don’t know a lot about. Possibly this is a large part of why I didn’t care for it as much as the other books in the series. The Irish mythology might also have played into the extremely slow pace. There was a lot of time spent on descriptions and not much on things happening. Some more things did start to go on at the very end, but it wasn’t enough. Unfortunately this has also been the longest book in the series thus far.

A Wizard Abroad also has an abortive attempt at teen romance, which I didn’t care for. It did drizzle out by the end, thankfully. I could say more on this point, but the bad boy “love interest” character doesn’t reappear for another few books.

I think what makes me dislike A Wizard Abroad is that it doesn’t really have the elements that make me love the Young Wizards series. It could be almost any YA urban fantasy set in Ireland. It doesn’t have the intermingling of science fiction and fantasy. It doesn’t have as much of the ethical choices that underline the other books. It does build on the mythology and world of wizardry, but the mythology approach was stale, especially compared to the dark New York of the first book or the ocean wizardry of the second. Additionally, it doesn’t have as much page time spent with familiar characters. For the first hundred pages or so, it’s all Nita, without Kit or anyone else.

Basically, compared to the previous three books, A Wizard Abroad is longer and not as good. If I’d read this one first, I don’t think I would have picked up the rest of the series. Luckily, that was not the case.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Oct 31, 2015 |
What ages would I recommend it too? Twelve and up.

Length? Two days.

Characters? Memorable, several characters.

Setting? Ireland and fantasy, alternate dimensions.

Written approximately? 1993.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? Ready to read more.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? No.

Short storyline: Nita is sent on a wizard's adventure in Ireland.

Notes for the reader: Very good novel. The glossary is hidden between the novel and a sneak peek of another novel. It would be nice to have a list of characters and who was related to who. However, as picking up book 4 and not having read the other in the series, it wasn't too confusing.

Low vision notes: Some pages are a little difficult to read as the font changes from clear to fuzzy, and is rather tiny. ( )
  AprilBrown | Feb 25, 2015 |
Another decent entry in the series. The premise and characters remain fun, and Duane's writing is solid. Spoilers follow.

I did feel this was a little bit less compelling than the earlier ones; partly, the semi-victory in the previous book makes it a hard act to follow, because they kind of already won, so..? I may also have just seen too many fish-out-of-water stories where someone is sent away and discovers new adventures, from Enid Blyton onward. Duane is obviously knowledgeable about Ireland and very attached to it; at the same time, it's harder to pull off American-sent-to-Ireland than, say, Susan Cooper's innately British works. As a character asks (lampshading?), why was it necessary for Nina to be sent to Ireland? I didn't spot anything she did that a local necessarily couldn't; most of her contributions were being in the right place at the right time, and in a couple of places Nina and Kit seem painfully slow to come to conclusions anyway. It's not a huge weakness, but it left me feeling a bit dissatisfied.

I'm also starting to wonder whether the constant presentation in fantasy of Ireland as 'world's most magical mystical place where history is realler and people are in touch with it' is a bit problematic and exoticising. This is by no means the worst example, but it's the one that prompted me to think about it. ( )
  Shimmin | Jan 19, 2015 |
Nita is sent to Ireland in this installment of the Young Wizards series. Concerned by her relationship with Kit, Nita's parents send her to visit her aunt in Ireland, not aware that her is a wizard as well and Ireland is about to experience some uniquely wizardly occurrences. Fun to read and I was particularly pleased to see Nita show some interest in a wizard who was not Kit! ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Apr 13, 2014 |
One of my favorites of the series - the level of responsibility and importance works for me. Kit and Nita are not the point wizards this time, merely contributing members in a large and complex intervention. Some personal development, in interesting and occasionally annoying directions. Also I love the descriptions of Ireland, "real" and beyond. The only New Millennium bit I noticed was one that _didn't_ get changed - Spot makes a "disk-thinking" noise, which amuses Nita because "she could see that both disks were empty". Wow. I remember laptops with two floppy drives... So maybe the New Millennium changes are worth while, or maybe I noticed it because it was the only bit left. Again, the timeline made sense, but I don't remember it not making sense before, so I'd have to do a comparison to see what if anything got changed here. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jun 17, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diane Duaneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Feberwee, EricaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChristinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen,CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am the Point of a Weapon (that poureth forth combat),
I am the God who fashioneth Fire for a head.
Who is the troop, who is the God who fashioneth edges?
--Lebor Gabala Erenn,
tr. Macalister
Three signs of the Return:
the stranger in the door;
the friendless wizard;
the umitigated Sun.
Three signs of the Monomachy:
a smith without a forge;
a saint without a cell;
a day without a night.
--Book of Night with Moon,
triads 113, 598
For Lt. Col. Shaun "Johnny" O'Driscoll, USAF (ret)
Senior for Europe
Now reassigned to a larger catchment area
First words
Nita first found out about what was going to happen when she came in after a long afternoon's wizardry with Kit.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152162380, Paperback)

To give Nita a vacation from magic, Nita's parents pack her off for a month-long stay with her eccentric aunt in Ireland. But Ireland is even more steeped in magical doings than the United States, and Nita soon finds herself and a host of Irish wizards battling creatures from a nightmare Ireland--a realm where humankind is the stuff of tales and storybooks, and where the legends and monsters of the country's mythology are a deadly reality.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Sent on vacation to her aunt's home in Ireland, teenage wizard Nita becomes entangled in a magic battle to save the country from the ghosts of its past.

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