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The Wizard's Holiday: The Seventh Book in the Young Wizards Series
Diane Duane
Harcourt, 416 pages

Cliff Nielsen
The Wizard's Holiday
Diane Duane
Born May 18, 1952, Diane Duane was raised in Roosevelt (Long Island), New York. In college she studied astronomy, astrophysics, then switched to nursing and became an RN specialized in psychiatry in 1974. Her fantasy was first published in 1979 with The Door into Fire, the first title in the Epic Tale of the Five series, which earned her two nominations for the John W. Campbell Award for best new science fiction/fantasy author. In 1987 she married Irish fantasy writer Peter Morwood and in 1988 relocated to a home near Baltinglass, Ireland, where she continues to reside. Duane has written a number of Star Trek and other media tie-in books, some in collaboration with her husband. With close to 30 novels, numerous short stories, and many publications/scripts for other media to her credit, Diane Duane also takes time to enjoy gardening, collecting recipes and cookbooks, as well as computers and electronic communications.

Diane Duane Website ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Stealing the Elf-King's Roses
SF Site Review: The Young Wizards Series
SF Site Review: To Visit the Queen
SF Site Review: The Book of Night with Moon
SF Site Review: A Wizard Abroad

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

Nita's little sister Dairine has decided that they both need a break from Earth. She signs them up for a student exchange program without asking anyone for permission. When she's found out, her father grounds her, but after some thought decides that Nita should still go, with her friend and partner in wizardry, Kit. Dairine can stay home and tend to the students, fellow wizards from other worlds, while Kit and Nita enjoy a vacation on a planet that seems like paradise. Under the surface of this paradise, though, Nita can sense something is wrong. The souls of the planet's people are not being released. Back home, Dairine thinks the worst part of the program is dealing with an arrogant humanoid who acts like aristocracy, until said boy notices something about the sun that could mean the destruction of Earth.

There are two aspect that I really like about The Wizard's Holiday. One is that it's told with a very light, humorous tone. Kit and Nita's relationships with their very different but equally bratty sisters are often funny. Kit's sentient dog, Ponch, is as fun as talking dogs usually are. His "Yay! Dog food again!" comes off as both doggy and slightly sarcastic. Some of the elements, like Dairine's sentient laptop computer, are written very endearingly. You can't help but like a little computer that can sprout legs, pop in and out of space, one that often chants "Uh-oh!" for some unknown reason. Actually, now that I think of it, that might not be so endearing if my computer could do that, though I could use it as an excuse as to why my reviews are late. Also, the light-heartedness contrasts well with the more serious personal issues that the two sisters have to face. They, and their father, are still trying to deal with the death of their mother.

The second item I really liked was the overall philosophy. I don't know (or feel that it matters) what Diane Duane's religious beliefs are, but the idea of The One, and his counterpart, and the choice that all wizards and even worlds must make to either follow the one of darkness is a really nice way to delineate good from evil without alienating anyone. She avoids any key words that have become synonymous with darker arts, such as familiars, lending the wizardry an innocence that I think is really good for this age group while taking away none of the wonder.

There is also wonder in the setting that Duane provides for us. A paradise world with a barter economy and flying sheep, Nita doesn't know why she feels so unsettled, except for the clues, sometimes quite eerie, that her dreams provide.

One last thing, it's silly, actually. I especially thought the chapter titles, all inspired by travel guides, were nifty and evocative of the story.

Clever and cool, this book, the seventh in The Young Wizard series is genuine fun for fans of the wizard school genre.

Copyright © 2004 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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