So You Want To Be A Wizard
Nita Callahan is hiding from bullies in the library when she discovers a battered old book called So You Want to Be a Wizard. At first she thinks it’s just a joke; but when she takes the Wizard’s Oath, she discovers that magic is indeed real. At first she thinks that it’s just a way to get her stolen pen back; but soon she, another teenaged wizard, and a white hole nicknamed Fred are on a desperate quest to find The Book of Night with Moon, a book that is necessary to the preservation of the universe.
This book is definitely well-written; it rattles along at a brisk pace, combining humor and seriousness quite well. The secret magical world that Duane creates is pretty convincing, and she has a knack for unusual and memorable images. Add to that the intrinsic attraction in the idea of being tapped on the shoulder and told you’re a wizard, and you have a highly enjoyable book.
Duane’s cosmology is odd and somewhat problematic. There doesn’t seem to be any real God in her universe; rather, there are various Powers that were created “fifty or sixty eons ago, when life brought itself about.” One of them, now known as the Lone Power, turned to evil and created death and entropy. The task of wizards is to slow down entropy, though they cannot stop it; eventually the universe will die. (Though the end of the book leaves a possibility for hope.)
However, while the book is definitely non-Christian, it also has positive aspects. There is a clear distinction between right and wrong. Nita and her friend Kit repeatedly risk their lives to preserve others, and self-sacrifice is promoted. It probably won’t harm anyone who can deal with the non-Christian universe.