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A Wizard Alone (Young Wizards Series Book 6)

1/5. Aaaaand then this happened.

Hoo boy. Plenty of people have taken this book to task over the years, and I was forewarned. But it still left an awful taste in my mouth.

So, in book six, Nita is working through depression after the death of her mother, and Kit is tasked with helping a new young wizard who is autistic. And it's . . . very sincere and trying so hard, and flavored with the usual kindness of this series. And all so absolutely pervaded with toxic ablism that you can't swallow any part of it without choking a bit.

It's not just the overtly ablest ending in which the new wizard has to choose to not be autistic anymore, because that's a much better way to be, and it's not just the way the book parallels depression and autism in frankly weird and off-putting ways. It's the whole *gestures* the whole thing. The imagery used to talk about autistic communication. How at first everyone thinks what they're receiving is extra-terrestrial in origin. How this book implicitly and explicitly treats autism as alienness. As not human.

Duane has rewritten this book, too, and to her credit she apparently spent a fair amount of time absorbing the criticisms of autistic and adjacent readers. But given certain events in the rest of the series, I have a hard time believing she would be able to extricate the overt ablism from the book. It's just too deep.

Date: 2016-06-19 11:12 pm (UTC)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu
Apparently she's been rewriting the rest of the series to be in line with the changes here, though I wasn't paying enough attention to the most recent to notice whether it carried through to that one (i didn't remember it well so I don't think an inconsistency with the original would've jumped out at me). But yeah, if you're going to update books, this is the one to do.

Date: 2016-06-20 02:32 am (UTC)
jadelennox: Senora Sabasa Garcia, by Goya (Default)
From: [personal profile] jadelennox
I do give her credit for being for reals ashamed of this one, at least. Even leaving the ableism aside it's also just bad.

I don't remember it that well because I'd already been turned off at this point by Dilemma. The hoops that book jumped through to justify "curing cancer is bad" left a bad taste in my mouth, mostly just because they were a result of careless writing in Duane's universe's metaphysics. Death is bound into the universes, fine, but not necessarily tragedy and pain. And you have all these supremely powerful wizards, and so Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People? It must be because Reasons and Powers, baby. Greetings and Defiance, yay cancer? Something like that.

Maybe that's unfair, because I haven't read it since it came out. But at the time that's how it felt to me.

Date: 2016-06-22 04:48 am (UTC)
cahn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cahn
Oh man, you have articulated way more clearly than I did, even to myself, why I put Dilemma down and haven't really got into the books since (though I've read most of them). YES THIS.

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