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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
33
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 19 January 2010
This book strikes me as a well-crafted, strongly-written Diana Wynne Jones classic.

There are some great fantasy ideas here and some extremely likeable characters.

Possibly the full-wealth of potential of the situation in this book isn't fully explored, but there is plenty of scope to set the characters up in their own series, like the Chrestomanci series, and look a little deeper into this interesting world.

All in all this story didn't appeal to me personally as much as House of Many Ways or Conrad's Fate, but it's still a decent, entertaining read and appears to be one of those books that improves with every subsequent read.

Highly recommended. Can't wait for the next one!
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on 30 April 2015
I loved this book. Although it is a children's book any age group can enjoy it.
I was hoping for a sequel but it was the authors last book before she died.
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on 20 October 2016
Loved the characters, loved the story and especially loved Ralph. I need to read the next one to see what happens.
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on 17 February 2010
All the best of Diana Wynne Jones here: engaging characters, curious magic and enchantment hiding in the mundane!
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Professor Andrew Hope has inherited Melstone House, and it turns out to be more than he bargained for. The housekeeper and gardener don't get along, the paperwork is a mess, and a mysterious orphan boy, Aiden, turns up on his doorstep.

Things only get worse when Andrew discovers someone - or something - is trying to take over his property and get to Aiden. Andrew must find a way to keep his land and the boy safe or it could prove disastrous for everyone.

I had a difficult time getting into this book. The concept is good, but the constantly shifting points of view made it hard for me to bond with the main characters. Aiden seemed older and far more mature than a young boy should be, and Andrew seemed distant.

The minor characters were quirky and funny and helped keep me reading. After I got used to the changing points of view, it made reading easier. The more I read, the more things got exciting, so I'm glad I didn't give up.

Reviewed by: Joan Stradling
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on 25 February 2015
Highly recommend this if you are into mystical story lines...kept me hooked from beginning to end.
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on 25 October 2010
Good tale - well told as always & good to read aloud to kids or for them to read themselves!
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on 10 June 2012
This is the first DWJ book I have read (aloud to my 7 year old daughter) and I was massively disappointed (she less so). Absolutely nothing happenned in the first two thirds of the book and I was hoping for an amazing conclusion but...nothing. A ridiculous hodge podge of silly magic with litle story, don't go here.

I will however, on another reviewers recommendation, try one of her other books.
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on 20 February 2010
As usual, a delightful book from one of my favourite authors. I love the way Dianna Wynne Jones builds up the protagonists' characters to create a very satisfying, exciting and enjoyable story. The characters, like those in everyday life, are a mixture of grumpy, bossy, friendly and helpful people. One of the most helpful characters to young Aidan is Groil, a wonderfully exuberant giant who helps Aidan by guarding his possessions from the wicked Mr Brown(Oberon)
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on 16 June 2010
A most invigorating and bewitching story, full on every page with a 'harlequin' of characters and places. A story never to be forgotten; one that might haunt or confuse, or even befuddle a reader, but definetely one not to be missed!
Meet Andrew and Aiden, Stashe and Tarquin, Shaun and all the Stocks, also Rolf the dog, and finally Groil. Who or what is he? Read on and find out...
Also discover the 'Counterparts' and what they mean, or the 'Care of Field' and the significance of boundaries and barbed-wire. The list goes on and on, and is quite exhausting at times! A Roller-coaster of a boook in fact!
Hope there's another one like this...
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