More like dilemmas, because my word, were there a lot of them!
I loved this. This is more what I was hoping the last book would be like. Yes, we're still dealing with the Lone Power and Its deceptive ways, but the conflict here is more personal to Nita and her family as it directly effects them all. At the core of it, without giving too much away, the Dilemma(s) is that wizardry can be used for so many things: moving planets, creating new alien lifebots, stopping the Lone Power in Its tracks. But it can't be used for things like dealing with gossip at school or dealing with teenage boys (who are, frankly, worse than the Lone Power). Wizardry is in essence the preservation of life, and that includes life forms everyone would rather do without.
So what do you do when you have all this power and can't use it when it matters to you most?
This is a tough read, and I'm once again glad I'm reading this series as an adult instead of a preteen or teen, because these are complex issues that I doubt would've really sunk in way back then. Certainly, many of them would've stood out and kept me glued to the pages. But there are layers here that can really only be appreciated after you've lived more than a decade and a half, and that can really only resonate after you've experienced loss.
It's not all doom and gloom though. There's a brilliant whole other plot line involving Kit and his dog Ponch. We FINALLY get Kit's POV and we FINALLY meet Kit's parents and one of his sisters!!! I was thrilled with this development, and the Gutierrez family is just as wonderful as the Callahans. Starting off this book with Kit and Nita and their families as everyone is going about the new normal of being families with wizards in them was just so much fun! You know, right before Diane Duane ripped that all to shreds and made me curl into the fetal position in the corner. But Ponch was there in a pinch to provide some levity when things got too heavy. He's the most delightful pooch ever, and with him Kit gets to experience a phenomenon no other wizard has. Because wizard dogs tend to get a little, er, special after awhile. I don't want to give away too much of that either though.
There is one thing that kind of annoyed me but I do have admit was also kind of necessary for the directions and paths that Nita and Kit end up taking in this book, and that is The Big Misunderstanding. It was way too believable the way it happened, and because Nita and Kit have never had any kind of close friendship before they became partners and best friends, they have no clue how to deal with their first argument. And when they are both finally ready to talk, circumstances keep them apart. It's frustrating, but then it's supposed to be. Big Misunderstandings don't generally annoy me as much as it does other readers, but if you are sensitive to this trope, then be warned going into this that it's going to get worse before it gets better.