A Wizard Abroad Book Poster Image

A Wizard Abroad



High fantasy -- with a dose of Irish mythology.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Battle scenes, with screaming and killing, but most of the description is general, not graphic, and involves nonhumans, as when they explode into fragments of stone, for example.


Kissing and the stirrings of first romance.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this page-turner with a splash of romance is sure to spark an interest in Irish history, mythology, and culture. While some might find the mythology references hard to follow, young adult fantasy readers familiar with the subject and some arcane terminology will have no difficulty following the story line. Names of places, heroes, demons, and faeries from Irish mythology will challenge readers' vocabularies and inspire artwork.

What's the story?

When Nita's parents decide she needs a break from wizardry, they ship her off to stay with her Aunt Annie on a farm outside Dublin. Ghost horses and a talking cat named Tualha are the first clues that magic surrounds her. Researching Irish mythology at the library, Nita learns that 400 million years ago, Ireland was geologically severed. .

When the Makers tried to reshape the land, the powerful Fomori interfered. As a result, it's too easy to accidentally slip sideways through time and space. Nita the wizard must do something about the leakage. With the help of her new love interest, Ronan, she learns of the Four Treasures, three of which are still in existence--the cup, the sword, and the stone. But a fourth, the spear, must be reforged, to enter into a battle with the Fomori and Balor, the new form the Lone Power has taken.

Is it any good?


Fantasy readers will find they are on familiar ground with this tale of a quest for the Fourth Treasure, and the awakening of the first three objects. But while Dairine has a definite role to play, it's never quite clear why Nita and Kit were called all the way to Ireland for this mission. The story rises to a fevered pitch that culminates in a strange battle scene. "... the drow exploded into fragments and splinters of stone that bled hot and splattered her with ichor that burned like drops of lava. Her wizard's shield took most of it, but a few drops got through ... and burned right through her clothes to her skin."

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the author blends elements of the past with the realities of present-day teens. Is the author's world believable, or purely fantastical? How does this book compare to other wizard stories -- including the Harry Potter series? Which series do you like the best?

Book details

Author:Diane Duane
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Harcourt Brace
Publication date:January 1, 1993
Number of pages:342

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Teen, 14 years old Written bygilly_boy February 19, 2012

A little violent

It was somewhat harsh in the beginning. Nita's parents forced her to leave to Ireland, although, it seemed like the Powers actually influenced it so it wasn't really their fault. Must have been tough for them. I don't really like that at the end in a fight and they leave their dead behind. Well, I hope they have a good time in Timeheart.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
Parent Written byParrentio October 4, 2015

It's ok

Just let your kid, however there is a couple mentions of sex. My son read it in first grade but didn't understand the word