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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

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 6 January 2018
Stunning book! A must-read. I know this book really well, as I always read it to my classes (I teach Year 5 and 6). The main character, Christopher, is a psychic who can travel to other realms and has extraordinary experiences, which to him appear totally normal. Children are invariably spellbound by the turns and twists of the plot.
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on 6 September 2013
How fantastic that I can now get most of Diana Wynne Jones books on my Kindle - I'm having a brilliant time re-reading all my old favourites. In my opinion Diana was the most perfect writer ever - not a single wasted word and the way she wove a story - sheer genius. I recommend any of her books for children and adults alike.
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on 13 April 2013
Lovely to see a girl in the part of the villain for once, instead of being the victim. Beautifull written and helps youngsters understand string theory simultaniously, what more could you ask for!
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on 14 August 2017
good book,well wrapped for delivery
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on 22 August 2010
Love this story it is an amazingly insightful introduction for children about the theory of the Quantum Universe, but a great little bit of story telling about a boys adventure.
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on 30 August 2013
I remembered reading this book as a child and have for years desperately tried to find the title and own one again - luckily I re-discovered it and it still was a fabulous read. For anyone wanting true magic - buy this book.
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on 7 February 2014
It's such a great fantasy book and different and inspiring ideas, persuades you to read the rest of the books.
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on 2 June 2015
One of my favourite books. The worlds are beautifully described.
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