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OK, well, let's just get this out of the way: of course, of course, I enjoyed it, but *man* are bits of this clunky, and I'm a bit sad about it. I re-read the entire series before I read this one and ... the contrast between this and Deep Wizardry ... I just don't know. I mean, where to start:
- the excruciatingly clunky scene where Lissa comes out to Nita as ace. ... it just could not have been more pasted on. And look, I fucking love representation! BUT.
- The need to fit in every single character we've ever met in the books for a scene. Look. I understand the urge for this. Especially because on one level I'm yelling with glee when they show up. BUT: ultimately it's too busy a cast for an individual book. Lay it back. Be controlled. It worked in Wizards at War because it felt like an unusual circumstance, but that's been hit for three books in a row now ... lay it off. It's so blatantly fanservicey and yes, I love it, but also ... enh. Let's get back to basics a bit. You can't fit this all in.
- Honestly, Lifeboats has a better plot and execution and yes I feel like a monster saying this.

Some further random observations:
- lmao OK the scene where Nita's like (clunkily) "How did I not notice Matt was gay! Well, I guess I've made that mistake before," and then Carl is right next to her. On the one hand I laughed; on the other hand, DD, JUST DO IT ALREADY. Just do it. Just make it canonical. It's 2016, your books aren't gonna get banned.
- look the sex stuff. look. OK, I still have no idea how old Nita and Kit actually are at this point but *boy* there's a lot of agonising for one friggen kiss. I know DD isn't a prude! I read the Middle Kingdoms books! Twilight means there can be sex in YA books now! But OK, whatever, I don't actually mind and the dancing scene was fucking great (also, a nice callback to the scene in A Wizard Abroad where Nita mentions that Kit loves to dance, which, btw, is one of my Underrated Facts About Kit which goes with "loves poetry, especially Shakespeare" and "the only thing that wasn't casual about Kit was the way he worked to do what he said he would". Another fun fact about Kit is that I fucking love him and think he's a better fictional boyfriend than Gilbert Blythe). It's very ... hmm, interesting? How Nita and Kit during this book vary from being quite clearly sexual, sexually interested in each other, to being entirely chaste when they're actually with each other. Which I guess is not that unusual for teenagers. Is it? It's been a while :-/
- man, DD working out her own issues about high school a little bit ... I don't remember sex talk being anything *like* that explicit. And again, this weird juxtaposition where on the one level Nita and Kit are barely talking about sex and on another level they're normal teenagers making a slightly bitchy remark about one of their classmates being a virgin ... it's a weird tightrope that I don't entirely get.


Oh, the main plot. It was fine I guess, although like, yeah, what were the themes exactly? It felt more like a filler book than Lifeboats did. I really thought getting Roshaun back would be the next book, but hey. I loved Mehrnaz, who was so sweet, and I liked her family backstory, although ... man it's an implausible wizarding family, eh? Penn, obviously, was TERRIBLE but in a fun way. I did spend the entire book waiting for Nita to beat him up, though, and she NEVER DID. Sadface. I felt like there were some missing consequences from some of the conversations, as well, and plot that seemed to stop in one point and pick up at another with beats uncovered.

Sidebar: Lifeboats makes a lot of sense to me as an authorly reaction to A Wizard of Mars and Games Wizards Play, because Kit does awesome shit in Lifeboats and man does he get hit with the idiot stick in Mars and Games. Like, ouch. Honestly? Honestly? That dumbass fight that comes out of nowhere and isn't even provoked by anything particularly nasty out of Penn? Meh. Meh, I say.

IDK. This isn't coherent but I wanted to get some quick thoughts down.
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