Every eleven years, Earth’s senior wizards hold the Invitational — an intensive three-week event where the planet’s newest, sharpest young wizards show off their best and hottest spells. Wizardly partners Kit Rodriguez and Nita Callahan, and Nita’s sister, former wizard-prodigy Dairine Callahan, are drafted in to mentor two brilliant and difficult cases: for Nita and Kit, Asian-American Penn Shao-Feng, a would-be sun-technician with a dangerous new take on managing solar weather: and for Dairine, shy young Mehrnaz Farrahi, an Iranian wizard-girl trying to specialize in defusing earthquakes while struggling with a toxic extended wizardly family that demands she overperform to their expectations… or fail.
Together they’re plunged into a whirlwind of cutthroat competition and ruthless judging: it’s “The Apprentice” with magic. Penn’s egotistical attitude toward his mentors complicates matters as Nita and Kit work to negotiate their burgeoning boyfriend/girlfriend issues. Meanwhile, Dairine struggles to stabilize her hero-worshipping, insecure protégée against the interference of powerful wizard-relatives using her to further their own tangled agendas. When it finally comes time for the finals stage on the dark side of the Moon, both the new wizards and their mentors are both flung into a final conflict that could change the solar system for the better…
…or damage Earth beyond even wizardly repair.
“Apprentices become teachers, friendships turn to romance, and long-simmering subplots achieve resolution in the 10th entry of this well-loved fantasy series. The tournament storyline serves mostly as a framework to explore the shifting and expanding of characters’ relationships and roles. The spotlight this time is on Nita, struggling with her developing visionary powers, her place in the wizarding world, and (not least) her new and scary “boyfriend” label for Kit. …Only in the final chapters do the stakes suddenly spike to ‘apocalyptic’ in a conflagrant climax overflowing with images of glory and wonder, Duane neatly manages to pull together and tie off plot threads that have been dangling since the earliest volumes. A delightful treat for dedicated fans.”
TO FOLLOW: INTERSTITIAL WORKS