Start reading Charmed Life (The Chrestomanci Series, Book 1) on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Charmed Life (The Chrestomanci Series, Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Diana Wynne Jones
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
Kindle Price: £0.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £6.00 (86%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £0.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback £6.99  
Audio Download, Abridged £0.00 Free with Audible trial
Audio, CD, Abridged, Audiobook, CD --  
Unknown Binding --  
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: Up to 70% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.
Win a £5,000 Gift Card for your child's school by voting for their favourite book. Learn more.

Book Description

Glorious new rejacket of a Diana Wynne Jones classic award-winning favourite, featuring Chrestomanci – now a book with extra bits!

Everybody says that Gwendolyn Chant is a gifted witch with astonishing powers, so it suits her enormously when she is taken to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Her brother Eric (better known as Cat) is not so keen, for he has no talent for magic at all.

However, life with the great enchanter is not what either of them expects and sparks begin to fly!

Winner of the Guardian Award.

Books In This Series (6 Books)
Complete Series

  • Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

    Page of Start over
    This shopping feature will continue to load items. In order to navigate out of this carousel please use your heading shortcut key to navigate to the next or previous heading.

    Product Description

    Amazon Review

    Every saga has a beginning. Every journey has a first step...And so it is with the magical "Worlds of Chrestomanci" which English fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones began so many years ago with her own episode one--Charmed Life.

    Winner of the Guardian Award for Children's Books, Charmed Life has been a favourite escape to parallel fantastical worlds since 1977, and remains refreshingly captivating and reassuringly addictive in its latest paperback edition with a wonderful new jacket illustration.

    The adventure begins in a strange and not-quite contemporary England that is still peppered with paddle steamers, horse-drawn carriages and girls wearing petticoats. Orphans Eric Chant (nicknamed Cat) and his sister Gwendolen, a gifted witch, are whisked away to live in a castle with Chrestromanci, a much-revered man of magic, wealth and mysterious ways. Their new life is full of the surreal and unexpected, and there are several crazy new rules to master--not least by Gwendolen who must learn to channel her astonishing powers for good instead of mischief as she forever seems determined to do!

    Chrestomanci is a truly original creation, and Charmed Life introduces this dandy nine-lived enchanter--the king of the regal dressing gown--and his associated colourful characters in a story of pace and substance, twists and turns, treachery and bravado. There's also humour amid the author's very immediate writing, and enough puzzles and mystery to keep an inquisitive mind captivated until the very end.

    Charmed Life is followed by three more full-length Chrestromanci novels--The Magicians of Caprona, Witch Week, The Lives of Christopher Chant and by a collection of short stories, Mixed Magics. All are equally inventive. (Ages 10 and over) --John McLay


    “…Her hallmarks include laugh-aloud humour, plenty of magic and imaginative array of alternate worlds. Yet, at the same time, a great seriousness is present in all of her novels, a sense of urgency that links Jones’s most outrageous plots to her readers’ hopes and fears…”
    Publishers Weekly

    “Truly magical – guaranteed to leave you gasping – even hotter than Potter”
    The Bookseller

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 4180 KB
    • Print Length: 285 pages
    • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; New Ed edition (6 Dec. 2012)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B009YBU6EG
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • : Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #22,663 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
    •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

    More About the Author

    Diana Wynne Jones is recognised internationally as a major writer of fantasy and in 2007 received a LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at the World Fantasy Convention. She has also won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award (twice) and the Guardian Award for CHARMED LIFE. Her books have been translated into more than eighteen languages, and her novel HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE was made into an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. Diana lives in Bristol with her husband, a professor of Early English literature.

    What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful read 6 Nov. 2006
    Format:Audio CD
    some books just have magic. I loved this one- far more exciting than Harry Potter which just seems repetitive! I love the insects that are made large and ooe through doorways gathering up their giant legs.

    Cat and his sister Gwendoline are the main characters in this wonderful novel about Chrestomanci- ( a civil servant in magic)

    Gwendoline is not what you would desire in a sister, but she gets sent elsewhere and a nice character from a different parallell world replaces her. Cat has nine lives - already his horrible sister has stolen some of them.A magical story from a great imagination, this is a must for children who love fantasy and magic.

    As an adult, it appeals to me very much too. Read, enjoy and delight in a fantastic world of DWJ- a far more gifted writer of unique stories than the creator of Harry potter.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic! 19 Dec. 2000
    By A Customer
    I first picked this book up because it looked interesting and I love magical stories. I had read 'Witch Week' by Diana Wynne Jones which was enjoyable but slightly confusing, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. However once I got into it I could not put it down again. It is well written, interesting and witty and has extremely realistic characters. I would recommend this to children or adults and especially to any Harry Potter fans as all 5 'Chrestomanci' books are absolutely brilliant and are almost as good as Harry Potter. Please buy this book now and get lost in the Pure Magic of it as it is one of the best books you'll ever read!
    Comment | 
    Was this review helpful to you?
    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Charmed Life is a fantastic book 9 Feb. 2001
    By A Customer
    Format:Audio Cassette
    I have loved this book as a child and having recently reread it I still think is it wonderful. Gwendolyn is a wonderful villian and Cat is a reluctant hero but he comes good when it counts. I did not releasise Diana Wynne Jones wrote many other books but having read then lately they are all wonderful. I especially liked the Magicians of Caprona another in the Chrestomanci series.
    Comment | 
    Was this review helpful to you?
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever written 23 Mar. 2002
    By A Customer
    This book is the first in a series of four, and personally, I think this one is the best. With an amazing and clever storyline, you never know what will quite happen next! It is the story of Cat and his sister Gwendolyn, 2 young orphans taken in by the mysterious Chrestomanci, which leads them into their life of wonderful and unpredictable adventures. An Excellent book for any age to read, gets the imagination going - well done Diana Wynne Jones!
    Comment | 
    Was this review helpful to you?
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars A children's book that adults will enjoy 9 Jun. 2002
    By A Customer
    As one of Diana Wynne Jones' Chrestomanci books, Charmed Life is merely very good - by other standards it is excellent. The book presents a different and more down to earth view of magic than most children's fantasy, and so has less of a fairy tale feel than you might expect from a book about witches and enchanters.
    The plot is twisty and quick enough to keep adults entertained, and will absolutely enthrall children. Well worth reading.
    Comment | 
    Was this review helpful to you?
    9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant addictive book!!! 23 July 2003
    I first started reading this book because I had read 'Witch Week' and started to get addicted to it. When I got 'Charmed Life' I couldn't put it down it is brilliant!
    I've read it so much the pages are going black and falling out!
    Great book for Harry Potter, Hobbit and magical-fanasty fans!!
    I got sort of stumped when there weren't any more books in the 'Chrestomanci Chronicles'!
    But don't stop (I didn't) I read others by Diana there just as good and addictive.
    Diana's books keep you reading because of the brilliance of it and make you wish there is more of it when you get to the end.
    This book is my fav of the lot I've read (and I've read alot)!!!
    So BUY IT NOW!!!
    Comment | 
    Was this review helpful to you?
    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    By A Customer
    Diana Wynne Jones obviosly writes fantastic books,Charmed life the best of them all. Why read Harry Potter and Narnia when you can read about Cat and Gwendolynn's adventures in Chrestomanci Castle? This book should win all the major book awards in my opinion and alot of other peoples opinion.
    Comment | 
    Was this review helpful to you?
    18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic 8 May 2000
    By A Customer
    Don't judge this book by its ugly new cover. I first read CHARMED LIFE when I was a mere 7 years old, 18 years ago. I have been rereading it every two or three years since, and rediscovering bits to it I hadn't remembered from the last time around. This is a brilliant, witty, unexpected, endearing, interesting, fun, exciting, scary, fascinating, hilarious book, and once you've finished reading it, you'll want to rush off and read everything else ever written by Diana Wynne Jones. Don't just stick to Chrestomanci. Try ARCHER'S GOON. Or THE HOMEWARD BOUNDERS. Or HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE. Do yourself a favor - stop wasting time reading my review and hurry up and get yourself a copy of this book.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
    Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read to share with a child
    I read this series as a child and was recently inspired to re-visit it. It has retained all the quaint charms it had for me years ago, and I look forward to reading it to my son... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Emma Miller
    5.0 out of 5 stars A classic!
    This is one of my favourite Chrestomanci books, and introduces the character Cat Chance who goes to live in Chrestomanci castle with his wicked sister Gwendoline. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Ellen F
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Creative and entertaining. Smashes Harry Potter!
    Published 2 months ago by jamie
    5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
    I love this book, I have been reading and re-reading it since I was five years old and I still read it now more than a decade later! Read more
    Published 5 months ago by GeeGee
    5.0 out of 5 stars I'm so pleased this is described as an essential modern classic
    I'm so pleased this is described as an essential modern classic, as childrens literature, it really does deserve that title. Read more
    Published 6 months ago by Bloom
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    good present
    Published 8 months ago by June Miller
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    I have always loved this book. There aren't many authors that can make the fictional world seem so real.
    Published 10 months ago by louisa hand
    5.0 out of 5 stars ... I don't wanna grow up if it means books like these are not...
    I may be an adult now but I don't wanna grow up if it means books like these are not supposed to be on my reading list anymore. A lovely book. Mrs. Read more
    Published 10 months ago by Lyla Wagner
    3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable
    It's not a bad children's book about magic but there are better.
    Published 10 months ago by W. Adams
    5.0 out of 5 stars Total escape
    A perfect book, wonderful
    Published 10 months ago by Russ Elliott
    Search Customer Reviews
    Only search this product's reviews

    Customer Discussions

    This product's forum
    Discussion Replies Latest Post
    No discussions yet

    Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
    Start a new discussion
    First post:
    Prompts for sign-in

    Search Customer Discussions
    Search all Amazon discussions

    Look for similar items by category