I’ve had So You Want to Be a Wizard, by Diane Duane, on my to-read list for a very long time, possibly since high school. Although it is considered a children’s book, I had high hopes based on the title and description. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed with it. It felt too superficial and action-packed. The two main characters, a girl and a boy age 12, are thrown into the middle of a major wizarding crisis almost immediately, just days after they have become wizards. Their ability to handle the threats thrown at them is highly unrealistic given that they are so new to it all. The wizard-based universe concept that Duane presents is an interesting one, with unique and intriguing aspects. However, she did not develop it very well at it. It is just thrown at the reader, one idea after another, with little depth. The majority of the action is pretty dark, and frankly I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it at all as an adolescent.
I can’t help but compare it in my head to two other fantasy books – Daggerspell, which I read recently, and Harry Potter. Both of them are far better developed than So You Want to Be a Wizard. Harry Potter is also action-packed, of course, but the action at least felt more realistic – there is more build-up and time for Harry to learn a few things before he reaches the major crisis.
So, all-in-all, I don’t particularly recommend So You Want to Be a Wizard, and I don’t think I’ll be reading any more in the series. I’d be curious to hear from you if you have read it and have a different impression from me (or, for that matter, the same impression).