on 15 November 2011
Homeward bounders is a lovely book written by late Diana Wynne Jones.
I had the honour to reas Howl's moving castle, Castle in the Air and House of many ways, which I consider to be her masterpieces.
This book is a slightly different kind, in spite of feeling the author's characteristic style. It is a story of joung boy Jamie, who accidently discovers the greatest secret of our world - all humans are but peaces in a board game of Them - and is therefore forced to prowl paralel worlds, in order to find his way home and defeat Them. Each world is different, has different rules, kind of people, animals, customs etc.
I don't want to spoil you the pleasure of reading this book and I will simply tell, that there is no happy end to the story. The end is somewhat rushed up and despite the fact that the author managed to tie all loose ends and explain almost everything to my satisfaction, I can't get rid of the feeling of unfulfillment.
Do not get me wrong, I liked the book very much, but I somehow expected more from such gifted author as Diana certainly was. The story of this book is so intreaguing that the book would deserve to be at least twice as long.
To sum it up, if you are the fan of Diana's books, you won't be disappointed. To the others I would recommend to start with Howl's moving castle.
on 20 January 2003
Well, Diana Wynne Jones has done it again!
Most authors are praised for creating a world. Ms. Jones, on the other hand, has created many. From Joris' world of demons, to the drunken happiness of Creema di Leema (where everyone drinks a apparantly alcholic beverage that makes them high), each universe is unique, but tightly knitted together in the pattern of the worlds.
The story focuses on Jamie--a 19th century boy who comes upon Them playing games with his world. He is thrown on to the Bounds, where he must wander eternally until he comes Home again. Along the way, he meets the bitter Helen, who he becomes his "friendly neighborhood enemy", and Joris, who is proof of the term "slavish worship".
As these three try to find their way home, you live their destress, down to the very last detail. Ms. Jones makes you feel the sadness--or happiness at the end. She drags you through hints and whispers of a doomed Helen/Jamie romance, and most of all, she writes a masterpiece for all ages.
on 24 February 2001
This is Diana Wynne Jones at the very top of her form. A boy from a 19th century city is dragged into a world where he, and others from many other worlds, find that they are part of a huge game. They are compelled to wander "the bounds" from world to world, never to stop anywhere, with only a hope of going "Homeward" one day. Then Jamie meets the first Homeward Bounder ...
This book is gripping (even when you've read as often as I have), occasionally funny and always moving. The plot is ingenious, the end un-guessable. It is written in that direct style that leaves plot and characters to speak to you - it's only when you think about it that you realise how well wrtten it is. Older children will love it and all the fantasy-loving adults I know speak of it with affection and great respect.
One to treasure.
on 8 December 2000
Of all the books I read as a book-obsessed teenager nearly 20 years ago, this is one of the few that really stands out. The central premise - becoming immortal, and all the problems that brings - is really quite scary when you think about it, yet it's treated in a naturalistic and sometimes quite humorous way. I like the scene where two young characters are discussing their problems with immortality and "the bounds", and a passer-by tells them to go and rehearse their play somewhere else! Famous immortals from literature, such as the Flying Dutchman and the Wandering Jew, put in a brief appearance, but the central characters are ordinary and very believable teenagers, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. When Jamie finally gets the opportunity of going back to his own world, the outcome will really get you thinking.
Diana Wynne Jones skillfully weaves the legends of the Flying Dutchman, Prometheus and the Wandering Jew into her tale in such a seamless way that there are times when you wonder if she's the one who invented them in the first place. I was particularly impressed with her use of Prometheus because she doesn't flinch from using the whole details of the legend and yet doesn't make it seem unnecessarily grotesque either (giving you just enough detail to know what's going on) and in using and assuming that readers are familiar with the legend, she never has to use his name.
Jamie never feels anything but real as a character and the way he brings out the loneliness of his predicament for the first few chapters is particularly moving (as is his final decision, which I won't spoil but did make me sniff a bit). Helen and Joris are a little more two-dimensional in terms of their set-up, and I wonder if they wouldn't have benefitted from the story being perhaps a little longer (of which I'll talk about more further down). I found the relationship between the later characters of Adam and Vanessa (who appear in the final third of the book) to have a believable sibling relationship, although I found some of the insults that they throw at each other to be a little dated. I particularly liked the scene where Adam investigates the possibility of selling his older sister into slavery on Joris's home world.
My main criticism of the book is that there are times when it feels a little uneven. For example, you have a large chunk of the book that focuses on Jamie's solo travels around the Boundariesm which maybe lasts the first quarter. Then he meets Helen and you get a few chapters investigating their travels together and quite soon after they meet Joris and travel as a trio. The problem is that as a trio, they don't figure out the rules or a way to defeat Them until after they meet Adam and Vanessa (which is past the half-way mark of the book) and Adam tells them what it is that They are doing. For me, this was a bit rushed and then add to that the inclusion of Konstam (Joris's demon hunting master) and the final third of the book relies on a lot of exposition to explain how they intend to defeat Them. For the target audience (which I take to be 8 to 12 year olds), this is perhaps not so much of a consideration, but it does stand out when compared against the more leisurely plot pace of J. K. Rowling or Philip Pullman who take more time to establish the set up for the denouement.
on 29 July 2015
A friend lent me this book 12 years ago and I periodically searched for it over the following years in order to revisit it. I was thrilled when I was finally reminded of the author and title! I devoured it in less than a day second time round and can't wait to share it with others- I feel it's suitable and enjoyable for 11+ year olds. I re-read it at 29!
on 16 December 2014
Excellent book. Cover design not as pictured but I would recommend Diana Wynne Jones to anyone of any age. Amazing author.
on 27 September 2000
I read this book many many years ago and it seems that it is to appear in a new edition. It is a splendid adventure centred around a small boy. He is unwittingly pulled into a strange world where he finds that we are being manipulated by 'them'. This is one of my favourite books from my childhood and I will be definitely buying it for my son. There are bits in it which may now be considered to be politically incorrect. I hope that no changes for the sake of this have been made.
on 4 May 2013
... so obviously it's brilliant!
It really annoys me that there reviews now have to have a minimum number of words. I can say what I want in much fewer than required, and it makes me not want to bother with these reviews. ;p