Magids and Warriors

A Wizard Alone, by Diane Duane – I can’t say this was one of my favorites in the series so far. It just doesn’t seem like that much happened, or maybe it was just a bit disappointing because there weren’t as many fantastic concepts in it as in some of the previous volumes. It was interesting that it largely focused on attempts to reach an autistic character, as I’ve been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum myself. I’m high-functioning, but I still recognized some traits.

The Iliad, by Homer, translated by Samuel Butler – I’d been meaning to read this for years, and eventually decided that it was the kind of thing that would be good to listen to in audio book form. It was my first time actually listening to an entire book this way, and I occasionally found myself thinking about something else and missing something that was read. It was the LibriVox reading, as recommended by Jared, which is actually read by several different people. It was a good reading, although it’s a little annoying that not all of them pronounce the names the same way, which is particularly troublesome in the case of a commonly used name like “Patroclus.” Anyway, it’s interesting that, while this is the most famous story about the Trojan War, it doesn’t cover the whole war and doesn’t include some of the most famous myths associated with the war. It’s mostly the tale of two individuals, Achilles on the Greek side and Hector on the Trojan. It’s interesting that, while Homer (whoever he was) was obviously working from Greek sources, he generally presents Hector as noble, while the great champion of the Achaeans is rather hot-headed and rash.

Deep Secret, by Diana Wynne Jones – I’d already read The Merlin Conspiracy, which was technically a sequel to this one, although the two didn’t really have a whole lot in common other than the character of Nick Mallory. While Nick is introduced in this book and plays a significant role, the main protagonist is Rupert Venables. He is a Magid, one of a group of magicians responsible for managing magic in a series of worlds. Kind of similar to Chrestomanci, actually, although the Magid system is a bit more complex. Rupert has to deal with the succession problem in the Koryfonic Empire at the same time as he’s trying to find an apprentice on our own Earth. He fixes it so that all of the potential candidates end up at a fantasy convention, which is where much of the plot takes place. I’ve been to several Oz Conventions on my own and horror conventions with Beth, but never to a major fantasy convention like the one described here. Still, I recognize much of it, aside from the orgy on the stairs. Really, that scene didn’t seem to have any bearing on anything, so I have to wonder if Jones put it in just so this book would be shelved in the Adult rather than the Young Adult section. Anyway, I enjoyed the book, but I guess that kind of goes without saying at this point.

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7 Responses to Magids and Warriors

  1. Wizard Alone was one of my least favorites of the series, myself. Possibly my very least favorite. But then, it was coming on the back of Wizard’s Dilemma which was my FAVORITE, whereas you didn’t love that one as much (UGH, just aren’t appreciating L’ENGLE-ESQUE MORAL ANGST enough!), so I had more of a letdown I think.

    I’ve heard there was an Edited edition of Deep Secret that wasn’t even billed as such, which WAS “appropriate for young readers.” Possibly it was the first US edition? Anyway, I still haven’t read EITHER edition yet, so I can’t comment further.

  2. ldgilmouree says:

    As a fan of the Iliad, I’d recommend the Robert Fitzgerald translation. The names are in a Greek style (Akhillius instead of Achilles) and even though it’s in blank verse, it’s very readable and tells the story in an interesting way.

    • Nathan says:

      I read the Fitzgerald translation of the Odyssey, and I appreciated the more Greek style. I thought it was kind of weird that Butler usually used the Latin names of the gods and other characters, since the poem was originally in Greek.

      Ever read any of Eric Shanower’s Age of Bronze?

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