2011: 28-33. Six by Jones

“Cat Chant admired his sister Gwendolyn.  She was a witch.”

Charmed Life

The Lives of Christopher Chant

The Magicians of Caprona

Witch Week

Conrad’s Fate, and

The Pinhoe Egg, all by Diana Wynne Jones

         I had previously read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and not been that into it. I must have been in a bad mood, because I picked up a volume of her work that included Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant, and loved them so much that I bought the other four books (well, two volumes) in the Chrestomanci “series.”  Really, there are a group of sort of interconnected novels that all surround the notion of a Chrestomanci, i.e. all take place in a universe where there are Twelve Related Worlds (with multiple subworlds), where magic is real (in much of them, anyway - it is implied that our world is one of those worlds, and we obviously have no magic here), and thus there needs to control it and b make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.  That person is Chrestomanci - a nine life wizard, who is powerful enough to bring it all into order.  These books concern various issues that various Chrestomanci’s have had to deal with.  They are excellent - its such great world building, and so interesting conceptually, and on top of that, the characters are great, too.  I can’t remember the last time I read a series and thought, I am totally smitten, and my god, if I had read these when I was a kid I’d have become a life long fan (maybe Harry Potter)? Indeed, the only reason I’m writing about all six in one post is because I am so, so far behind in this blog, and I want to get caught up some time before 2012.  I am absolutely going to seek out more Jones - and maybe re-read Howl’s Moving Counsel, too.

        To briefly touch on the individual books, I think, if you want to get into the series, I’d start where I did - with Charmed Life and The Many Lives of Christopher Chant, since they so nicely set up the world.  After that, I think that fans of the characters in the first two books might like what is sold as Volume III better (Conrad’s Fate and The Pinhoe Egg, since they are more about the characters from the first two books).  That having been said, I loved, loved, Witch Week.  Chrestomanci just puts in a brief appearance, but the concept was so great.  So read them all - just out of order!


Categories:  Young Adult, Fiction


© Carrie Dunsmore 2017