Tomes of Spellcasting

Welcome to the land of mystery, where the impossible is possible, and the improbable the reality. Join me as I investigate worlds filled with magic and meet the souls that wield this wondrous powers.

W A R N I N G !

This review does not represent the opinions of the general public. It reflects my personal thoughts and opinions on the book.

That said, on to the review!

Title: My Son, The Wizard
Author: Christopher Stasheff
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine Books
Format: Paperback
Copyright Date: 1997

While four years passed for Matthew Mantrell in the universe of Merovence, only a week passed in his home universe...but what difference a week can make! For upon returning to his parents' home in New Jersey, he finds that things are not what they were when he visited around Easter. His father, after a long and futile struggle, has gone bankrupt, forced to close his store through the intimidation of some of Matt's "peers", who have discovered a new drug and will do anything to attain more of it. Seeing no other way out of it, Matt brings his parents back to Merovence with him...and lands them all right in the middle of a war! For the Muslims of Africa have begun their invasion of Europe, yet their officers and soldiers are as devout in their faith as the Christians of Europe! But the Muslims have the added advantage of the djinn and a secret power source for their sorcerors, something that even Matt's having difficulty coping with. Fortunately, Matt's parents--Ramon Rodrigo and Jimena Maria Garcia y Alvarez Mantrell--prove to be wizards of a high caliber themselves, and every wizard is needed this time around. But can even their great power succeed in saving two universes from one disillusioned man's vile drug-ridden schemes? And even if they do, can they save Matt from what might be the worst threat to the land's happiness that he's ever faced: a djinna princess with an enchanted infatuation with him?

My Son, The Wizard is a wonderful book that brings us back in part to the charms of discovery so evident in Her Majesty's Wizard and The Witch Doctor, when Matt and Saul respectively learned about the great powers they had in this other universe. We get to see it again as "Papa" and "Mama" Mantrell learn about the gifts their own knowledge of literature, history, and culture has given them in this other universe. Like Matt and Saul, they're stuck learning things in the heat of battle, but this time they have experienced wizards to help them through their initial trials. Of course, it's also interesting that they are more than able to surprise the younger wizards with strengths and abilities of their own.

I think what I like best about this book wasn't that Matt, although being well into his twenties (or maybe even starting his thirties), continues to call his parents "Papa" and "Mama", nor that people like Saul and Alisande start to think of them as "Papa" and "Mama" themselves. Although...in Alisande's case it is really appropriate since she is Matt's wife. No, what I liked best is that Matt was exceptionally real to me this time around. Not that he wasn't real before, but this time we get to see that he is as vulnerable to a child's perogatives as anyone: he doesn't realize until their in the midst of the battle that his mother is extraordinarily beautiful, or that his father was extremely handsome, or that his father (who, admittedly, he spends more time with because of the fighting) was human enough to be tempted by beautiful women even while married to Mama. I think most people don't realize these things until they're actually confronted by them.

My Son, The Wizard is the fifth installment of the Wizard in Rhyme series. It does a good job of tying up a loose end that's been bugging me since the beginning: what about Matt's life back in his home universe? Mr. Stasheff answered it in part during The Witch Doctor, but now he spends more time on it. Thank you, Mr. Stasheff!

Rating: Thumbs up! Where did Matt get his magical strength and academic interests from? His parents, of course!

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