Tuesday, March 30, 2021

On Ordeal: Ronan Nolan Jnr. (Young Wizards #10.7), by Diane Duane

Errantry Press, June 2017

Ronan Nolan is a thirteen-year-old boy living in a small city on the Irish Sea coast of Ireland. He's got a good family, though everyone is under some stress. He has no siblings, and that's one of the stresses. His parents, especially his father, had hoped for a large family. His elderly grandmother is one of the bedrooms planned for those other sibling, failing physically and now maybe mentally, too.

And Ronan has always felt like the odd man out, the kid who is simultaneously rarely noticed, and not fitting in. He's also, until recently, always been the smallest kid in class, a favorite target of the bullies. He's had a growth spurt, and the balance has somewhat changed--but self-defense can also get you in trouble at school. Even when you're doing the right thing, and defending someone else.

But now something truly strange is happening. After getting suspended from school, Ronan heads up to Bray Head to think--and, maybe falls asleep? He's awakened by his friend, Pidge, or someone who seems to be Pidge, who has an awfully strange proposal for him. Would Ronan like to be a wizard, and help set things right in the world? It's a proposition any follower of the Young Wizards series will recognize, and Ronan finds that no amount of common sense and caution can persuade him to say no.

Now Ronan has two voices in his head, whom he describes as sounding like the cartoon angel and devil on your shoulders. He's deep in Ireland's past, before St. Patrick ever reached Ireland as a slave, never mind coming back as a missionary.

Oh, and there's a major storm headed right for the village where the city of Bray will be. A storm that doesn't look at all natural.

Ronan has to figure out how to stop it--but first, he has to decide if he should stop it. This village is one of the ports where slavers arrive to buy Irishmen from other Irishmen, who captured them in raids.

What should he do?

This is, for those familiar with Duane's Young Wizards, Ronan's Ordeal, before we meet him in adventures with Nita, Kit, and other familiar characters. It's true to the world Duane has built, and the characters are interesting and likable.


I bought this book.

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