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Charmed Life (Essential Modern Classics) Paperback – 28 May 2009


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Frequently Bought Together

Charmed Life (Essential Modern Classics) + The Magicians of Caprona (The Chrestomanci Series, Book 2) + Witch Week (The Chrestomanci Series, Book 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; New Ed edition (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007255292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007255290
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“…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

“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


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By tiggycat on 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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Dec 2000
Format: Paperback
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!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Feb 2001
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Mar 2002
Format: Paperback
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!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Jun 2002
Format: Paperback
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lizzy Daws on 23 July 2003
Format: Paperback
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!!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Dec 2000
Format: Paperback
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.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 May 2000
Format: Paperback
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.
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