Book Review of Deep Wizardry (Young Wizards, Bk 2)

Deep Wizardry (Young Wizards, Bk 2)
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Reviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com

I read this book for the first time while waiting for the release of the fourth Harry Potter book, looking for something to fill the empty space. To my surprise, I found a book that I would argue is at least as good as Harry Potter--and perhaps better.

The second book in Diane Duane's YOUNG WIZARDS series starts with middle school friends, Nita and Kit, on vacation together with Nita's family at the beach. They think it's going to be just another summer, but they couldn't be more mistaken. Nita and Kit are both wizards, and the forces of evil don't take vacations. The job of wizards is to fight the Lone Power, the one who created death and continually attempts to trick people into accepting it. Wizards work with spells learned from their wizards' manuals, and the use of the Speech, a language that all things, animate or inanimate, understand.

When Nita and Kit are summoned to help a whale wizard who's been wounded by whalers, they find out that things have not been going well in the Sea, and that if the wizards don't do something about it soon, the problems may spread to land in the form of earthquakes and tidal waves. The solution is to perform the Song of the Twelve in order to bind the Lone Power and keep It from wreaking havoc on the east coast. And in the case of these two young wizards, they have to do all this while keeping their powers secret from their parents, who are beginning to wonder what they spend their days doing.

The main characters are compelling, but the supporting cast is just as strong, consisting of equal numbers of whales and humans. Duane's portrayal of life under the sea, and the ways that humans can unknowingly affect it, is insightful and true. The tension rises throughout the story, so that every scene is more intense than the next.

I must have read this book ten times, and every time I get to the ending, I'm so caught up in it that I can't put it down until I'm done. The language of the story itself is beautifully descriptive, not just of the underwater world, but also of the characters' emotions. A story about friendship, duty, and sacrifice whose truth and beauty still amaze me, more than six years down the road.