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So You Want to be a Wizard: 11/07/06
New York City, especially Manhattan island, is a popular place for paranormal activity in fiction. There are often times gates to other universes (think of the two in the Ghost Busters movies) and in So You Want to Be a Wizard, there is a gate to a very strange alternate New York. Two novice wizards, Kit and Nita, travel to this alternate New York while innocently trying to recover Nita's lost pen. Can they get home and save the world at the same time?
While the book is a fairy typical young teen discovers magic is real type of story, I quickly found myself sucked into it. I liked how easily the wizardry fit into the modern world without a separation of societies into muggles and wizards as in the Harry Potter books. Wizardry in Duane's books can be a serious occupation or a hobby or somewhere in between.
My one complaint with the book (though this is more a complaint with book two) is the amount of time Duane spends on describing the Speech, a universal language that all wizards and all things in the universe can speak except apparently human adults who have forgotten how to speak it. I like the concept of a universal form of communication but Duane's endless descriptions of how it works and how wonderful it is often time stalls the plot.
Fortunately there is enough humor and horror to keep the plot moving. On the humor side, there is Fred, an eager white hole who is excellent at making diversions for Kit and Nita. On the horror side there are the living vehicles (cars, trains, helicopters, and elevators) who are bent on killing each other and eating anything that gets in their way; I will never look at hydrants the same way again!
Here is my BookCrossing Review: