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4.7 out of 5 stars26
4.7 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2000
This is an excellent book. I borrowed it from the library and began reading it one evening and read right through the night. I just couldn't put it down. I'd recommend it to any lover of fantasy books, young or old. I'm 19 and I still think it's among the best books I've ever read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2003
No offence to charmed life but this is secretly my favourite of the Chrestomanci books. It has the best hero-Christopher Chant makes me laugh even when he's being rude and obnoxious and its obvious he's really a very nice person and a bit of a softy(besides Cat is wet and weedy and annoying).I also loved it for the extra insight it gives you into world 12a and how Chrestomanci got to be like he is in Charmed life and why Millie is Called Millie which is brilliant and very cool
It has a very clever plot all about other worlds and multiple lives and evil gangs of smugglers with a magical twist which is written with all the flair and wit I have come to expect from a Diana Wynne Jones book (eg the mallory towers spoof)and has some very neat peices of charachteristation (eg Tackroy and Millie-the-godess)which make it that little bit special and more enjoyable the climax is well measured and skillfull and keeps you constantly turning pages desperate to get to the next bit. This book is brilliant-read it.
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on 8 June 2013
I only started reading Diana Wynne Jones fairly recently, after reading a review of her work in a Sunday paper and subsequently discovering that several friends who also liked fantasy had read her books. I'm not her target audience as I'm a 48 year old woman, but I think my experience as a reader and a writer helps me to recognise how well-written these books are.

I've read the Chrestomanci series in a random order which has actually enhanced the experience for me. I think it is both brilliant and brave of her to write these novels as she has done, each taking a different central character, set in a different time, with recurring characters and the central theme of the multiple worlds and the charismatic and funny Chrestomanci at their heart. It was therefore fantastic to read this book which focuses on Christopher Chant's own childhood, and I thought it was excellent.

Not only is it written in a lively, well-paced style, but the characterisation is entertaining and psychologically insightful, and the story is full of imagination, wit, plot twists and turns, and highly inventive scenarios. I wish I'd had access to her novels when I was a teenager as I'd have loved them. They have elements of Dickens and Ursula Le Guin and a multitude of other writers, but they are distinctively Diana Wynne Jones and eminently readable. As a highly experienced reader I can work out where the plot is heading very early, but this doesn't detract from the pleasure of reading the novels. I particularly love the way she intertwines modern-day elements with more traditional fantasy features, and period details. Charming, highly enjoyable reads and highly recommended.
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on 27 April 2013
This is a general review for the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne-Jones. I first read the Chrestomanci series when I was 23. I am now 37 and I am re-reading them again and it is just so blissful! The first Chrestomanci book "Charmed Life" was written in 1977 about 20 years before the first Harry Potter. In this book, newspaper photos moved, Chrestomanci had his different lives hidden in different places, people in portraits and pictures jumped from frame to frame, plenty of clever cats, not a magic wand in sight and so on. From the lowest witch or warlock to the most powerful enchanter, no wand. We're talking people with real abilities, and who do not become useless as soon as they lose their wand. Basically, many, many ideas in the Harry Potter books, you will find in her books. Although the stories are entirely different. And she writes in a light fashion, without too much overwhelming descriptions but just enough to keep the story moving at a good pace.

Why there has never been movies made of these books is a mystery to me as they are so superior to a lot of other teenage books around. Perhaps Wynne-Jones didn't want to. I highly recommend these books. I have just about finished the lot and I am restarting them again, particularly "Charmed Life" which I think is just superb. One just falls in love with the character that is Chrestomanci.

I very, very rarely read a book twice. However, with the Chrestomanci, I just seem to never tire. Even more so with her wonderful book "Howl's Moving Castle" which is not part of this series but which was made into an extraordinary full-length animated feature by the one and only Japanese master story-teller Hiyao Mayazki (Studio Ghibli). Now, I have lost count of how many times I have read this book. I just never bore of it either.

Diana Wynne-Jones is the only fiction author whose books I have read over and over. No one else. I completed "Charmed Life", and started straight at the beginning again.

I wish she had had time to write two or more Chrestomanci books before she passed away. At any rate, I believe her books will be in print for many decades to come.
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on 13 April 2009
Its taken me about 3 years to actualy want to sit down and finish the series of books, that is not because 'The Chrestomanci Series' are bad, but because I was a rather lazy child.

I have read the first half of the book over and over again, the description of the different worlds always amazed me. As the book went along I guessed what was going on - prehaps it was a bit predictable, but for a kids book it is remarkable.

Although I loves the begining of the book I found the ending a bit too quick, but as I loved the begining and found it so remarkable, I think 4 out of 5 is a great score.

This series is a great one for children who love to read around the age of 9, I think I bought this book when I was 7 and found it quite difficult to get into, but now I am a lot older and loved it!
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on 1 January 2011
The story of young Christopher Chant and how he grows in to both his magic and his inheritance. To Christopher the landscape beyond his bedroom which leads to multiple worlds seems normal. It takes time for adults to realise he can access these worlds, and longer still for Christopher to understand the barriers to his own magic and the full extent of his powers. This book is conceptually vast, yet is also a fast paced adventure/mystery/fantasy story. I greatly enjoyed this book, which I read in one sitting, and look forward to reading the rest of the series.
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on 26 January 2001
For fans of Diana Wynne Jones this book is a real treat as it deals with the childhood of Chrestomanci, or Christopher Chant, for as we discover Chrestomanci is merely a job title. Although it is a bit of a shock to discover the cool, calm and collected great man was once a frightened, confused child it is also nice to see him in that way. Milly, his wife also puts in an appearance in an unexpected guise. Although this isn't one of Diana Wynne Jones's best ever books it is still an exciting, intersting story, and well worth a read.
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on 15 June 2000
I first read this as a child and have been hooked on Diana Wynne Jones books ever since. The Lives of Christopher Chant has a fairly complex storyline which is so well explained that you feel that you could be there. The most impressive things about Diana Wynne Jones' books for children is that she is never condescending as many other authors are and her characters are not merely charicatures but recognisable as ordinary humans, some of whom have some very extraordinary talents!
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on 7 December 1999
This book which has been out of print for some time is a "Chrestomanci" book (like Charmed Life" and "Witch Week")
Christopher Chant lives in a world similar to Edwardian England, save that magic is alive and well.
This is very enjoyable as a straight childrens story, but has both depth and humour - I first read it as a child and still re-read for pleasure now. Readers who have enjoyed Harry Potter may like to move on to Diana Wynne Jones
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on 24 March 2008
Recently ordered this for my nephew who loves it as much as I did (and still do). The best of the Chrestomanci series in my opinion. Christopher struggles with his emerging magic powers, the discovery that he has a few more lives than normal and his complicated and deadly family relationships. I'm a Harry Potter fan but I really think this book has that series beaten for sheer imagination and good writing.
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