Deep Wizardry (Young Wizards Series Book 2)

by Diane Duane

Ebook, 2003



Local notes

PB Dua




HMH Books for Young Readers (2003), Edition: 1, 387 pages


During a summer vacation at the beach, thirteen-year-old wizard Nita and her friend Kit assist the whale-wizard S'reee in combating an evil power.


Original publication date


User reviews

LibraryThing member KateSherrod
While I regretted last time around that I had not encountered Diane Duane's Young Wizards books when I was a young'un, this time around I'm pretty glad I didn't, because if I'd come across Deep Wizardry when I was the age of its two young protagonists, I would have required extensive therapy
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afterward. Look, I'm not going to get into this much, but man, I could have used a trigger warning because


I'm having trouble breathing after just having typed those words.*

Fortunately, I'm a grown up now, and have evolved and developed coping techniques for dealing with scenes like the


and am thus somewhat capable of admiring that scene for the majestic and badass bit of action writing that it is. Somewhat. I'm still very glad I put this book down to sleep last night well before the advent of the


or I wouldn't have slept at all and would probably have to be hauled off to a mental ward like one of H.P. Lovecraft's less strongly-constituted wus-heroes.

All that aside, Deep Wizardry is a remarkably wise, thoughtful and lovely book. We start up not long after Nita and Kit saved the world from the "Lone Power" in So You Want to be a Wizard, with Nita's family (and Kit along for good measure) vacationing on the beach and Nita and Kit exploring the delights of ocean swimming along with their budding powers and responsibilities. Soon it's those responsibilities -- as I observed last time around, Duane's version of magic has a heavy ethical/ecological bent and literally preserves the world -- that come crashing to the fore like a tidal wave when the duo meet up with a badly injured humpback whale, who turns out to be a young wizard herself, and who has just lost her mentor at the worst possible time.

Soon Nita and Kit are drawn into an awesome round of ritual and rite of passage upon which the fate of the eastern seaboard depends -- the Lone Power they defeated and sealed off last time around is always finding new and old ways to attack the fragile living cosmos these kids and their kind are sworn to defend and preserve -- and into a frame of reference that is startling in its maturity, as they have to spend much of the novel contemplating death quite seriously and personally.

Adding to the shivery archetypal dread of this story is the magnificent giant white "Master-shark" (as in the biggest Great White Shark that ever lived, so old -- possibly thousands of years old -- and vast that he is actually all white, like a deadly ghost slicing through the water), Ed** (short for Ed'Rashtekaresket), who pretty much steals the novel. Ed is a giant slab of uncanny, inhuman awesome, utterly believable as both shark and sentient, at home in his role as the "ender of distress" and full of bleak, harsh and yet still oddly compassionate wisdom in his dealings with Nita and Kit, who assume the forms of a humpback and a sperm whale, respectively, for their dealings in the deep. And while they might therefore be a little bigger than Ed, his lordly, dreadful power keeps them and us in awe through their every dealing with him.

Really, were I at all a reasonable person, I'd be much more afraid of Ed than of the


but anyone who knows me or even just reads my blog at all often probably already knows that if there is one thing I am not, it's a reasonable person. As it is, well, Ed versus the


is one of the most thrilling and seat-wetting passages I've ever encountered in literature. Holy crap, you guys?

And but so, Duane has published seven more of these Young Wizards books to date, and another one is due later this year. Could she ever possibly top this? Or even come close to hitting its (pardon me) high water mark? I dunno. But I'm ready to find out.

After some milk and cookies and soothing music to cure me of my lingering horrors from the


and the after-effects of some truly tragic content as well.

Deep and powerful stuff.

*My greatest childhood phobia was that a giant squid was under my bed and gonna attack me from the watery ocean depths that were also under my bed and yes I knew at the time this was quite impossible given that said bed was some 6000 feet above sea level not far from the Continental Divide but that's what phobias are, you guys. They're as powerful as they are irrational.
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LibraryThing member pwaites
Deep Wizardry is the second book in Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series, the first being So You Want to Be a Wizard. While I do suggest reading the first book before picking up Deep Wizardry, each book has a standalone plot and could thus be read independently.

In Deep Wizardry, Nita Callahan’s
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family is vacationing on the beach, and they bring Nita’s friend Kit Rodriguez with them. However, Nita and Kit are both wizards, and wizards rarely get a vacation. Soon they find that there are problems in the Atlantic Ocean, which if they go unchecked could lead to earthquakes which would bring down Manhattan. Once they meet S’reee, a whale who’s also a wizard, Nita and Kit find out about the Song of Twelve, an ancient ritual which would the Lone Power and prevent the earthquakes. With one of the participants dead, Nita volunteers to join the ritual.

There’s a lot of spoilers that I have to skirt around to describe Deep Wizardry. Suffice to say, this is a book that does not shy away from darker themes. There’s self sacrifice and death and reflection on what these mean and the what you’ll be leaving behind.

“I frighten no one,” said the shark. “No one who fears gets it from anywhere but himself. Or herself. Cast the fear out – and then I am nothing to fear…”

I also love how in the midst of the impending magical calamity, there’s also the sense of an impending personal one. Nita’s family doesn’t know she’s a wizard, but they know something’s going on. Nita’s been sneaking out, but the Song of the Twelve will require her to be away overnight. Most YA novels would have the protagonist magic her way out of it, but Deep Wizardry doesn’t take the easy way out. Nita will have to find some way of making her parents understand what wizardry means and why they have to let her risk herself for the good of other people.

“The only reason it works for you is that you know wizardry works and are willing to have it so. Belief is no good either; belief as such always has doubt at the bottom. It’s knowing that makes wizardry work. Only knowing can banish doubt, and while doubt remains, no spell, however powerful, will function properly.”

This series has phenomenal world building and a complex mythos. The universe was created by the Powers that Be, but the Lone Power rebelled and created death. Thanks to It, the universe is dying of entropy. Wizards are sworn to protect life and slow entropy, but to do so they are in constant battle with the Lone Power.

If the talk of entropy and the universe hadn’t clued you in, this series has a deep love and reliance on science. Magic itself often seems like a science too far advanced for regular humans to understand. Spells are like equations, which must be carefully written and balanced. Later books have the characters journeying off the Earth to other planets and worlds where they encounter alien species, many of whom have their own wizards.

Diane Duane’s Young Wizard series is one of the best YA fantasy series out there, and it avoids many of the tropes and pitfalls of the genre. I highly recommend every book in the series, including Deep Wizardry.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
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LibraryThing member beserene
This, the second book in Duane's So You Want to Be a Wizard series, was an excellent follow-up to its predecessor but a strong story all on its own as well. One of the (many) nice things about the series so far is that, though you should read them in order, each book feels very self-contained, and
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so the reader can comfortably proceed through the series without the ridiculous cliffhangers typical of 21st century YA literature. This particular volume feels even more self-contained, since it takes place within the space of a beach vacation and mostly underwater. In fact, that more distant setting is part of the charm of the book -- Duane characterizes the deep and its denizens in wonderful detail, using the quirks of particular species of ocean life to flesh out non-human characters in realistic fashion.

The non-human characters are not only part of the fun, but also the foundation of both plot and metaphor in the book. Our series heroes, Nita and Kit, the young wizards we met in the first installment, are called to save the world again but must transform into whales in order to participate in the underwater quest. The way that these two humans begin to understand the nature of different species -- and the very idea that everything has its own nature and should not be forced into our personified or anthro-centric ideas of how animals are -- combined with the characterization of the non-human characters I mentioned a moment ago, creates a rich meaning in the novel that promotes ecological awareness and broader tolerance as well. And yet, there is not a moment in the book where the reader feels preached at. Certainly there are environmental messages -- strongest in the moments where Duane describes the foul state of the waters off Manhattan and the anger of certain hunted whale species toward human beings (remember, this series was written in the 1980's, before certain endangered species protections were in place) -- but they are a natural part of the novel's descriptions and very rarely feel unnecessary or overemphasized.

In fact, by the end of this intense and marvelously drawn adventure, the reader is so genuinely invested in the non-human characters that it feels almost impossible not to care about the ocean and its inhabitants in the real world. I cared already, but I suspect this novel could seriously nurture many a budding marine biologist. There is genuine connection and strong emotional context here between all characters, human and non-human alike, and that seems to be a hallmark of Duane's writing. We can relate to these characters, all of them, from the curious city kid to the angry mother sperm whale. That alone would make this book worth reading, but there is much more. So, read it. Better yet, give it to a young person who thinks whales and wizards might be interesting. Good things will happen.
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LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
Magnificent, as usual. I tried to stall in the middle, but had to see what would happen (yes, I remember how it ends. Just not how that ending is expressed). I was crying all through the Fearsong chapter, when Nita makes her choice. There's a lot of deep thought in here, and people learning what
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they're really capable of; choices made and held to; oaths kept and broken. This is not my favorite Young Wizards story, because it hurts too much, but it's possibly the richest and strongest one. I didn't notice any changes for the New Millennium Edition - oh, yeah, a couple references to poor cell reception.
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LibraryThing member bookswoman
I didn't enjoy this story as much as the first in the series. I think it was mostly because I didn't care for the main characters "task" and the world they landed in (read the book, it'll make perfect sense). Once I got near the end I raced through it, so it must have just been the setting and not
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the characters that I didn't like. I've already started the third in the series and like it better. I'll decided about number four after I finish three.
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LibraryThing member sara_k
In Deep Wizardry Nita and her wizarding partner Kit seem to disagree on everything. They need to negotiate their roles in the partnership and the partnerships role in the larger picture. Balance is key to this story as they work on ecological problems off the NY coast and the ramifications that our
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actions have on others.

The wizards learn to shapeshift and communicate with marine life and Nita struggles to define herself.
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LibraryThing member MyopicBookworm
***beware spoilers***
In this book, the protagonists are called upon to assist the whale-wizards of the northwest Atlantic in a magical Song of the Twelve, and Nita gets in deeper than she planned.

The descriptions of the undersea world (and human impact upon it) are imaginative and compelling (if
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sometimes a little preachy). The link from the previous book ("So you want to be a Wizard") is a little clunky, but I guess that's geared to the reader age-group. However, the early part of the book does spend a lot of time on mechanical explanation, rather as though the author is anticipating every question that a bright ten-year-old might come up with while listening to the story ("yes, but how...?"). This can be rather laborious. I also found the dramatic tension between saving the planet and being home in time for bed a bit annoying.

That said, once we got to the central dilemma, I found the story gripping and was eager to see how the author would get her characters out of their predicament. I (or she) did get rather entangled in the moral issues: self-justification by a monster shark along the lines of "ending distress" is a bit circular when the distress is caused by the shark's presence in the first place, though the plot requires the shark to be a moral agent. (She could have avoided this by making the embittered and bereaved whale into her saviour, but it's not my book...!) Not quite as good as its predecessor, but eventually compelling. MB 14-iii-2008
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LibraryThing member nilchance
Read this as a kid. Terrified and fascinated by deep water ever since. Like Harry Potter with teeth.
LibraryThing member savageknight
What a fantastic follow-up novel! Although the majority of the story happens under water (as whales!) there is still so much action and characterization that makes this book a page-turner.

I must admit to especially loving the interactions between Nita's parents and our two young wizards as seeing
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her "grow up" through their eyes was quite touching.

The Lone Power attempts to escape from a thousands-year old prison that took down Atlantis and it's up to the Wizards of the Ocean to do what they can to keep him bound. But at quite a cost!

Wonderful book!
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LibraryThing member bluesalamanders
Having survived their Ordeal, Nita and Kit are on vacation with Nita's family when they are put on call. They meet up with some friendly local sea life in time to participate in a large-scale wizardry set to save the whole east coast and North Atlantic.

Deep Wizardry is one of my favorite in this
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series. The story is heartbreaking, the additional characters are wonderful with surprising depths and the undersea setting has both beautiful descriptions and incredible dangers.
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LibraryThing member nmhale
With much of the force of the original book in the series, Deep Wizardry is my favorite so far. (Hopefully I've never written that about any of the other books!) In this installment, Nita and Kit are at the beach. Kit tagged along on the family vacation, not realizing that he and Nita would soon be
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on assignment to help other wizards - whales. Something nasty is stirring in the depths, and the whales need to reenact The Song of the Twelve. Due to the death of their senior wizard, though, they need reinforcements. Nita and Kit volunteer, and even agree to take roles in the reenactment, if necessary. With the help of a little magic, they assume the form of whales, and embark on their second wizard mission, underwater. Nita agrees to fulfil the role of The Silent Lord, not knowing what her job will ultimately entail.

The Song of the Twelve is strong magic, intended to renew the bounds of the Lone One's prison under the sea floor. In order for the spell to work, every creature must sing their part, and they must mimic the original actions of the first participant exactly. Since The Silent Lord sacrificed herself in the first encounter, Nita is expected to follow that example, in the same fashion: The Pale Slayer, the master shark, has to eat her.

Why is this book my favorite? It combines the magical battles of the other books, where the stakes are always high and Nita and Kit partner to beat the odds, with a greater poignancy. Nita's choice to willingly sacrifice herself for the sake of her family and friends is touching. Her friendship with Ed, the Pale Slayer, is wonderful. They develop a true bond, one powerful enough to convince the shark to accept Nita's sacrifice as his own. Ed himself is such a character. He is vicious but sharply witty. He easily flops between black-eyed hunger and grim jokes. He is scarily powerful. With these elements, the book is a standout. I would recommend reading the series just to discover this particular novel.
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LibraryThing member atreic
I enjoyed this much more than So You Want To Be A Wizard. The story is more unusual - although 'christian allegory where polluting the world is bad and sacrifice is good' is not the most novel plot ever, the underwater world of whales and sharks and dolphins is very well done. And the themes are
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powerful and moving - Nita's wrestling with telling the truth, and keeping her word, and being a willing sacrifice, not shirking responsibilities. It is quite nice to get a YA book where kids actually tell their parents what is going on. And I found myself tearing up when Carl discusses Nita's options with her so frankly and honestly. The fine balancing act between children's and YA continues - they read like they are aimed at (older) children, but then there is the delightful bit where Nita and Kit are sneaking out to save the world and their parents think they're bunking off to have sex, which was very well done, and much more YA. The Christian analogy gets a bit mad if you over analyse it - if I ran into a group of people who symbolically killed someone to reenact Christ's sacrifice every 50 years I'd decide they were a crazy cult, and not very nice with it, but in here this is what the good guys have to do to keep the devil bound - but it does powerfully communicate ideas of love and sacrifice. And the importance of always reading the small print, and trusting people you love.
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LibraryThing member bluesalamanders
Nita and Kit are on vacation with Nita's family when they meet up with some friendly local sea life just in time to participate in a large-scale wizardry set to save the whole east coast and North Atlantic.

Deep Wizardry may be my favorite book in the Young Wizards series. The story is
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heartbreaking, the additional characters are wonderful with surprising depths and the undersea setting has both beautiful descriptions and incredible dangers. The New Millennium Edition adds a bit of modern-day technology and updates some dialogue and pop-culture references, but the story is the same. As with the first book, I may not agree with all of the changes but I understand the reasons for most of them and hope they help the series attract new readers.
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LibraryThing member Crowyhead
So far, this is my favorite of the series. Maybe I was just unusually emotionally vulnerable when I was reading it, but I found myself tearing up more than once while I was reading this -- it's very emotionally powerful and Duane doesn't pull her punches.
LibraryThing member hoosgracie
Beautiful addition to the series. In this outing, Nita and Kit help the whale wizards reenact the defeat of the lone power. In essence, the book is about a whale passion play. Deeply moving.
LibraryThing member wagner.sarah35
I can't believe it took me so long to get back to this series! Anyway, the characters stuck in my mind since I read the first one and I'm getting into a bit of a YA fantasy kick, so I picked this one up. I really enjoyed Nita and Kit's adventure in the ocean, especially with the twist of an ending
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I was not sure of. Fun reading!
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LibraryThing member pussreboots
Over-all I enjoyed the book. I found it a quick read. It seems more modern than a book originally published in 1985. I had to remind myself that the references to Star Wars were to episodes 4, 5, and 6, not the more recent 1 and 2. LOL!

I think Duane was very proud of all the work she put into
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creating the whale wizard culture and writing the poems for the singing but honestly, it was almost over-kill. The practice sessions and preparation chapters could have been condensed with more emphasis put on the final show-down.

The book was good enough that I want to now read So You Want to Be a Wizard and High Wizardry.
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LibraryThing member DeborahJ2016
Diane Duane certainly doesn't pull too many punches with this sequel to "So You Want To Be A Wizard." The two young wizards, Nita and Kit, are scarcely able to catch their breath from their initial Ordeal than they are called upon to go a little out of their depth (ha) and into a different realm of
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sorcery in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
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LibraryThing member humouress
(Second of 10: Young Wizards series / second of 12: Wizardry series. Fantasy, YA)

After the earth-shaking events of the summer, when Nita and her fellow wizard, Kit, saved the world, they're taking a well-earned break in the Hamptons with her family. But as the most recent and therefore
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most powerful of wizards, their help is needed again; the Lone Power is making trouble for the Sea People and needs to be bound again in this place and time. But to do that, Nita and Kit will need to shape change into whales. Her parents don't even know they're wizards; how is she going to explain that to them ?

Nicely written. I love the way it incorporates environment, ecology, entropy; all things that should concern young people today.The supporting cast - though they are whales and other denizens of the deep - are well characterised. The action sequences are written well, keeping you on the edge of your seat. Duane builds the tension and maintains that touch of darkness, as her characters face genuine danger and sacrifice.

(And - on a personal note - I love Ed'Rashekaresket)

5 stars
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LibraryThing member EdwinKort
Where i didn't like the first book in this serie and was hesitant to start the second one, I do believe it was much much better. Still not as good as the Harry Potter series, but it might get there.

So. The two kids Nita and Kit had became wizards several months before and now, being in a holiday
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at the beach they find a stranded whale. Which is the start of another adventure in which they change into whales themselves to, agsin, save the world from the Lone Power.
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LibraryThing member livingtech
Took longer to get through this one than the first. Lots of poetry and beautiful prose in this. My daughter and I both liked it well enough. We will probably look for the third in the series.
LibraryThing member ritaer
Nita and Kit fight evil in the sea
LibraryThing member sageness
3.5 stars. She rocked the ending, but earlier chapters have some issues that tried my patience. Anyway, great adventure and gorgeous characterization of Nita. I'm still leery of the amount of violence in these books, but at least she's learning how to empower herself as she loses her innocence.

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note: it is so weird to come to this series twenty-five years late. I wonder what difference it might've made to my life if I'd read this in junior high, when it was new. *ponders*
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LibraryThing member mutantpudding
I took a while to finish this book because even though I like it a lot, I find it rather emotionally taxing to read. The ideas about life/death and humanity and duty and a bunch of other things just get to me with this book, and it takes me a bit longer to process through.

I really like the setting
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and characters in this story. The ocean wizard world is beautiful and interesting, and the character of Ed the shark is an all time favorite of mine. Even if its not on my comfort reading list, it is a great book.
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