Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 1, 2001
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Young Wizards series
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
“Nita Callahan is at the end of her rope because of the bullies who’ve been hounding her at school… until she discovers a mysterious library book that promises her the chance to become a wizard. But she has no idea of the difference that taking the Wizard’s Oath is going to make in her life.
Shortly, in company with fellow beginner-wizard Kit Rodriguez, Nita’s catapulted into what will be the adventure of a lifetime — if she and Kit can both live through it. For every wizard’s career starts with an Ordeal in which he or she must challenge the one power in the universe that hates wizardry more than anything else: the Lone Power that invented death and turned it loose in the worlds.
Plunged into a dark and deadly alternate New York full of the Lone One’s creatures, Kit and Nita must venture into the very heart of darkness to find the stolen, legendary Book of Night with Moon. Only with the dangerous power of the wizardly Book do they have a chance to save not just their own lives, but their world…”
This was a decent middle grade read that’s a unique blend of science fiction and fantasy. I had some trouble engaging with the characters and story, but the world is a unique one and the idea of how magic works was interesting.
I enjoyed the idea of modern day wizards that strive to protect the world and humanity from evil. It was interesting that a lot of this “protection” revolved around conservation of energy for the planet. The journey Kit and Nita take to a parallel world was eerie and creepy and very imaginative; this was probably the best part of the story for me.
I did have some trouble engaging with Kit and Nita; they were both just so…well…stereotypical middle grade adventure characters. Additionally some of the elements of the story about how magic works could have been explained a bit better and was kind of confusing.
Overall this was an okay read. I enjoyed the blend of sci-fi and fantasy and some of the parallel worlds. There are some neat ideas in here. In the end though I had trouble engaging with the characters, found parts of the story confusing, and thought some of it was just plain boring. I don’t plan on continuing this series.