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…”
“Truly magical – guaranteed to leave you gasping – even hotter than Potter”
“Diana Wynne Jones could teach Stephen King and JK Rowling a thing or two … [she] has a skill for inserting just the right amount of detail in her written words, leaving you satiated but not stuffed.” SFX
From the Back Cover
Welcome to the worlds of Chrestomanci, where magic is as common as mathematics – and twice as troublesome in the wrong hands!
Everybody says that Gwendolen 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 and his family is not what either of them expects and sparks soon begin to fly…
Winner of the Guardian Award.
About the Author
Diana Wynne Jones spent her childhood in Essex and has been writing fantasy novels for children since 1973. With her unique combination of magic, humour and imagination, she has been enthralling children and adults with her work ever since. She won the Guardian Award in 1977 with Charmed Life, was runner-up for the Children’s Book Award in 1981, and was twice runner-up for the Carnegie Medal. In November 2007 she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Fantasy Association. She is married with three sons, and lives in Bristol with her husband.