Title- Charmed Life (Chrestomanci #1)
Author- Diana Wynn Jones.
Publish date- 2000.
Publisher- Harper Collins Children's Books.
(A Brief) Synopsis:
More Diana Wynn Jones! And a character who’s a little like Howl! End synopsis.
What I thought:
I have a long standing affinity with Diana Wynn Jones’ Howls Moving Castle. About as long standing as this thing I have going where you can’t really tell when I’ll start talking about the book I’m actually reviewing. Diana Wynn Jones is one of those authors I love so dearly I want to read all of their work, and this was the person who created Howl (and Cal and Sophie, yes, but I have a priority here), and I was sold.
And was this anything like the aforementioned novel? It was Jones, for sure, but her work, while having a similar thread throughout, or a distinctiveness that leads you to saying “Jones, that’s Jones,” when you read a variety of her work, does not write the same characters, and she does not write the same worlds. (The exception being Chrestomanci, who is actually rather like Howl in his flamboyance, though I assure you that this is a Good Thing, and the two are more like cousins who share style than brothers or uncles.)
Something that I love about this series is how we don’t have to like the characters to be involved with their story. Christopher “Cat” Chant is the protagonist of this story and he is a very weak character; I couldn’t condone or believe how he let Gwendoline do all the awful tricks she set upon, how he didn’t speak up about trouble and had an invisible backbone, but I still cared about his story, and it unfolded not only in surprising and often masterful ways, but with clear brilliance. I did not foresee the twists nor the turns, and that is Wynn Jones for me. Brilliant stories that always take me by surprise.
And because it’s important, I’ll take a moment to go over the worlds she creates- they are fascinating. I love the way, both here and in HMC, she combines our world and others, so believable and enchanting it’s as if you’re in a particularly surreal dream. And her magic. Oh. Oh.
Rating: A lowened (totally a word I SAY SO) version of Ooh, very good. It just wasn't quite there.
This was an enjoyable, magical, mystery of a book, and I enjoyed it throughly. I’ll forever rate all Diana Wynn Jones’ books against that which I love the most, and this doesn’t come very close to that mark, but… it was clever and enjoyable and is the start f an exciting series to come. I can feel it.