We start of with our wizards in great danger! Which does not scare me, because I read the title of the book 🙂 Then Nita, Kit, and Dairine are invited to the Big Competition “Invitational” – not as invited participants but as mentors. Gosh, those teenagers are SO OLD.
Aaaaand – there are problems. Dairine’s mentee Mehrnaz is sure she’ll lose – her family told everyone she won’t last the first round, and winning will embarrass them. Dairine has to deal with that, and Dair is just, ya know, so good at the interpersonal stuff. Not. And Nita+Kit’s mentee Penn has trouble with he structure of his sun spell, which is right up Dair’s alley. She’s been working on managing a sun with missing-boyfriend-Roshaun’s dad for a long time, now. Have the sisters gotten each others students?
Good bits – (no spoilers)
* The really brilliant Penn is just like the brilliant guys in tech – grossness disguised as ‘gallantry.’ That influences a lot of his interactions throughout the book.
* Mehrnaz is cheerfully Muslim. There’s no fuss about it anywhere in the book, just casual mentions of her headscarf and prayers.
* Mehrnaz has family issues, but they are not Muslim issues – just the sad family politics you’d find anywhere.
* Dairine is brilliant – but now she’s got a teacher who’s pushing her to her own limit, not her dumber classmate’s limit. Suddenly, studying is hard work. AWESOME. Welcome to the rest of our lives, Dairine!
* Roshaun’s dad is a frequent visitor to Nita & Dair’s family! People at the shop think he’s their Dad’s taller brother! That’s sweet. The two dads tag-teaming Dairine is so, so sweet.
* Kit’s sister Carmela continues to be a non-wizard who is full of brilliance. Someone should name a star cluster after her.
* That chubby guy in the striped shirt. And that tall guy, dark cloaked, does not like crowds. Thank you Diane Duane for sending these characters to the Invitational so I could meet them. Because they are spoiler spoiler spoiler but really amazing.
* and, last on the list: Teen Relationships, other relationships, mistaken ideas about relationships, self-delusions about relationships, other ways of doing relationships, and *croggle* that chubby guy and the tall dark guy have ideas about relationships? Let me just pick my jaw up off the floor, shall I?
Not such good bits –
* Penn’s gross behavior to women is half hand-waved away at the end of the book. WHY? No, he’s gross, let it be on him until such time as he actually changes.
* Nita is still having prophecy dreams. One of them never really fulfills itself, what’s going on?
* The one Muslim family has dysfunctional dynamics. And the other Muslim family… oh wait. There is no other dysfunctional family. Hello, tokens!
* Dairine exists on coffee for a while. Isn’t there any wizardly answer to that sleepless dilema? Surely there’s ‘an app’ for that, surely she has a slightly larger allowance of power for the duration of her mentoring.