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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 June 2017
great books
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on 5 September 2000
The Magicians of Caprona was great I couldn`t put it down.It was funny, scary and sad plus it contained all other emotions of the emotional rainbow. If your looking for something less heavy than Harry potter with a bit more of a thrill-I recomend you read this.
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on 10 March 2016
I had the pleasure of reading this one for the first time as an adult (for some reason this one never appealed to me when I was a child, though I read The Lives of Christopher Chant and Charmed Life over and over again). It is a good one, though not as memorable as TLoCC. Chrestomanci makes an appearance along with "two households, both alike in dignity", some bright, intrepid, sensible kids, intelligent cats, really evil villains, and a mystery to be solved. The usual theme is here, of "normal" people in a magical world learning they're actually pretty special too. One of the other reviews mentions the bit with the puppets as being fantastic- it is, but wow, that bit's dark!
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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 16 July 2000
Set in an Italy of small states, this is as brilliant as Diana Wynne Jones usually is. There are two rival magical families (shades of Romeo) but the duel is not just between them, but a struggle to save Caprona. The Punch and Judy episodes are fantastic, and if you're scared of heights hold on to something while you read the part where the children and cats are climbing the Cathedral to find the solution to the crisis. The washing up spell is hysterical.The resolution at the end is as magical as the battle. A wonderful read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 July 2012
A classic Diana Wynne Jones story, with characters you really care about and a vividly drawn setting. The plot has overtones of Romeo and Juliet, with two feuding families in an Italian city state, but with plenty of magic thrown in. Although the story is technically part of her Chrestomanci series, it can be read as a stand alone novel because it isn't necessary to know things from the earlier books and it does not contain any spoilers.

The book is slightly darker than I remembered, particularly in its middle section, although it would still be suitable for younger readers of around ten up. As with all Wynne Jones books, it's extremely hard to put down and has a clever story with plenty of twists and turns, all well paced. Older readers will forsee some of them, but that doesn't detract from the reading experience. Apart from Chrestomanci himself, who has a minor role, the characters are all new. This isn't a problem, because Wynne Jones has a gift for making her characters feel like good friends within the space of a few pages. It's this that makes her stories still enjoyable for adults, whilst remaining true books for children.
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on 6 April 2001
Its amazing and magical.About friendship with excitement jumping in.Its like a folded piece of paper which unfolds slowly as you read on.It leaves you really excited untill the end and you want to read more and more. Take my advice and read it!
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on 16 March 2015
I so enjoyed this book and find that Diana Wynne Jones writes in such a vivid and accessible style and her story telling keeps me enthralled. The characters are well drawn and there is a good balance of light and dark in all of them which always adds credibility. I know it's a good book when I find myself itching to get back to the next chapter even when I'm doing other necessary things (like work!). Of course, I now want to read the next book in the series.
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on 8 February 2001
DWJ adds an Italian feel to the Chrestomanci series. This book was, I think, the first book of hers I ever read. It takes the Capulet/Montague theme from Romeo and Juliet, but sets it down in a city with two warring families of magic practitioners. The main characters are children rather than teenagers, but I don't think it's meant as a reworking of the play, it's an original in itself. They have to learn to work together (despite their family feud) to try and rescue the city...any more and I would give the plot away. But it's a good read if not as *complex* as some of Diana Wynne Jones' work, and highly recommended for younger readers.
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on 16 June 2015
I feel that this is the weakest of the three Chrestomanci books. Whilst the first Chrestomanci book (Charmed Life) was a highlight of my reading as a child, and the third Chrestomanci book (The Lives of Christopher Chant) was a happy discovery as an adult, this middle one (and I know the fanbase who can brook no criticism will fry me for this) is a bit so so.
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