This is the sixth book in the Young Wizards series by Duane. I’ve enjoyed one through four but missed book five, so there were some new plot elements and characters in this one I need to catch up on, things that factored into the plot here. Most importantly, the death of Nita’s mother and Kit’s magic-empowered dog Ponch.
Kit and Nita are the young wizards, part of a universe-wide elite group that works to make good things happen and fights evil. They are assigned tasks by older wizards and try their best to carry them out, usually with difficulty. This time Kit is assigned to investigate a boy named Darryl who has been undergoing his Wizard Ordeal for months, far longer than usual, and seems to be trapped somewhere. Kit and his dog Ponch find ways into Darryl’s mental world and try to help him, but are threatened themselves by the evil they find there. Darryl is autistic, and can’t be spoken to or reasoned with in normal ways, and only in his own mental world can he be reached at all. Meanwhile, Kit’s partner Nita is still trying to recover from the death of her mother, and is not able to be of much help to Kit and Ponch…until that need for help becomes desperate.
I enjoy this series, though it is becoming increasingly inward-looking, and at times the mental gymnastics are tiring to follow. More real-world action would be better for this reader. Still, good characters and ideas.