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Games Wizards Play by Diane Duane
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1295132,891 (4.12)17



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Showing 5 of 5
Big book. Worth sticking with it. Lots of exposition, and the climax/resolution is jump up and hurrah good.

I learned a couple of excellent words - spinney and 'making dua.'

Nita's interactions with the Lone One are minor in this book, but they stand out as companionable instead of adversarial. Interesting!

Best line ever?: "Sorry." Irina said. "If you are going to routinely be a force for good, you'd better get used to the paperwork." ( )
  2wonderY | Apr 24, 2017 |
Woohoo! This deserves a real review, though I'm not sure I have the energy these days to write one -- but it was *fantastic*. I wasn't even sure about buying it, because I've been steering out of fantasy recently... but I'm supremely glad I did. Our main characters are noticeably maturing (in all ways), they transition as seemlessly into the present as I have, and this multi-layered adventure is well developed and prepared. The characters are perfectly drawn, the idea that even though it's been 30 years for us it's only been a few years for Nita and Kit is recognized by having them reflect a reasonable amount of their recent past, and everything feels a bit more..stable, perhaps?.. than it has in some past books. The adults are developed, the children are developed, the teenagers are developed... Yeah. Beautiful. There's a handful of moments it seems to be trying hard politically, but my politics match, so I can only fault it so far -- and the fact the words "gay" and "asexual" actually appear in this story universe (and deaf people!) is something I never would have imagined would happen when I first picked up the series, even though the diversity-positiveness of the author's worldview showed through even back in the '80s.

It turns out I still love this universe, with its somewhat nuanced take on good and evil and focus on the power of language to make ourselves and others anew.... Just a lovely contribution to a series and an author that captured my imagination way back in elementary school. ( )
  pammab | Apr 16, 2017 |
Every eleven years, Earth’s human wizards hold the Invitational, a sort of wizardly science fair competition where the best and brightest young talent are invited to show off their most innovative and exciting new spells. Nita and Kit have been tapped to mentor one of the participants and Dairine (and Spot) another. Culture clashes, personality conflicts, and some really weird visions ensue.

Fantastic as usual! I like that Nita and Kit (and Carmela and Dairine, for that matter) are obviously still young, but are also clearly growing and changing as the series progresses. Many characters from previous books show up, some with brief cameos and some becoming integral to the story. As one review I read said, this is a fan’s book: thoroughly entertaining to a fan of the series but bordering on incomprehensible if you haven’t read the previous books.

Which I think is fine; some series are set up so you can pick any book and immediately understand what’s happening, and some aren’t. Young Wizards has always been written with many references to characters, events, even thoughts and feelings from previous books.

So if you're not already a fan of the YW books, this is not the place to start. But if you are: have fun!
  bluesalamanders | Jan 16, 2017 |
For me, worth the wait. It's true that there are a lot of new or newish characters and concepts thrown at the reader, as if Duane is trying to set things up for the next installment. But I liked that Nita and Kit's wizarding world is expanding; given the recent presidential results, I'm especially pleased at the increased diversity in race and sexuality. (Not that Duane does it in a preachy manner -- it's a natural consequence of having a tournament that draws its contestants from all of Earth, not just North America and Europe.) And it's also notable that the interactions with the Lone Power have been getting more complex and nuanced, instead of remaining a straight-up showdown of absolute good vs. absolute evil. I look forward to seeing this series develop even further.
  bostonian71 | Nov 13, 2016 |
Games Wizards Play is the tenth book in the Young Wizards series, which starts with So You Want to Be a Wizard. I generally really like this series, but I think this installment has structural issues. If I had to guess, I’d say that a lot of Games Wizards Play is setting up for a future book.

Games Wizards Play centers around the Invitational, a planet wide event where young wizards compete in what’s essentially a magical science fair. Nita, Kit, and Dairine are all invited to be mentors to students in the competition. Nita and Kit are given Penn Shao-Feng, who’s working on a solar spell and who’s also a complete jerk. Dairine is assigned Mehrnaz Farrahi, a shy fourteen year old Iranian girl with a plan to stop earthquakes in their tracks and a whole heap of problems from her wizardly family. The book shifts between the perspectives of Nita, Kit, and Dairine.

My largest problem with Games Wizards Play is that it felt anti-climatic. There were essentially four sources of tension in the book: Nita and Kit dealing with that sexist jerk Penn, Dairine trying to figure out what was going on with Mehrnaz, Nita having creepy prophetic dreams, and this underlying thread of awkwardness and confusion about the change in Nita and Kit’s relationship status. None of them were pulled off in an entirely satisfactory manner, although the Mehrnaz subplot came the closest. The resolution to the Penn plot line was definitely unsatisfactory, and I don’t feel like he had the character growth I was expecting or really saw any sort of consequences for his behavior.

It felt like Games Wizards Play was relying on the prophetic dreams for a large source of its tension, but I don’t think they actually had anything to do with the climax (or if they did, I don’t get how). This is what makes me think that it’s setting up for a future book.

Something else that might play into the “future book” syndrome is that there were a number of newer characters who were being treated like something the readers should care about when we’re not actually given any reason to care about them. Foremost among these is Lissa who had a number of bit scenes but didn’t really do anything. It’s possible that the scene were she tells Nita she’s asexual might have been part of some greater theme Duane was working with in regards to the whole Nita/Kit thing? It’s hard for me to tell – full confession, I didn’t want them to become girlfriend/boyfriend. Also, when I heard there was going to be an asexual character, I was sort of assuming that they’d be relevant to the book? What I got was way less exciting. Anyway, I saw Duane say on tumblr that Lissa would be important “later” so I’m guessing that was the primary reason for her inclusion. It’s possible that I will like her once she becomes plot relevant.

Given that I spent the last three paragraphs talking about everything I didn’t like about the book, I should point out that I still enjoyed reading it, despite my problems with the ending. I still love all the central characters, there some humorous moments, and the magic remains inventive. I ended up reading this six hundred page book in less than twenty-four hours.

While I can’t shake the feeling that Games Wizards Play is set up for things to come, I am glad that I read it.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
1 vote pwaites | Feb 6, 2016 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Dedicated to Colin Smythe
Publisher, editor, friend
(who knows where the bodies are buried)
First words
Kit Rodriguez lay sprawled in the gray dirt, staring in shock at the fire-blackened book that had just landed open side down in front of him.
He (Penn) doesn't just have a gift for saying the wrong thing; he's got a superpower.
"And that every intervention, every wizardry, solves not only its own problem but others that you might never even know about?... Sheer laziness, that's all it is...The One may try to pretend that It simply hates wasted motion, but It's not fooling anyone. All this finagling around with the structure of reality to have everybody possible be happy when they don't even particularly deserve to be -" - The Lone Power
"I'd also prefer it to rain chocolate-frosted donuts in my kitchen on Sunday mornings, but I don't seem to be getting a lot of that. Plainly the universe is mismanaged." - Carl Romeo
"But God likes it when you make time for conversation. Likes to be asked for things,told what you need,told what you're thinking. I mean, isn't that some of why we're here? It's not like Allah needs anything. He likes to hear from us, that's all." - Mehrnaz
"Sorry." Irina said. "If you are going to routinely be a force for good, you'd better get used to the paperwork."
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Nita, Kit and all the other young wizards are planning and practicing for a planetwide wizardry competition--but spells can go awry, unexpected dangers await, and the wizards must discover what secrets lie within themselves.

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Diane Duane is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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