“Diana Wynne Jones is that kind of writer, some one who makes her characters real, and the family situations are always funny and very realistic, and the magic is of the kind that everyone wishes they had when they are young.”
Exactly what it says on the tin.
“Diana Wynne Jones always takes magic for granted in the story she creates. And so the characters don’t go around explaining the fact that it is there to each other and to the reader. Instead, they might have to find out how it works, or what to do with it.”
There is nothing like discovering DWJ’s work for the first time and realizing how much of it there is!
“I don’t know where these books have been all my life. I keep expecting some sudden sense of ‘deja legi’ to hit me in the face and remind me that I loved them as a kid, but so far nothing. All the better, because now I get to read them for the first time.”
NOTE: These are the UK editions.
The Chrestomanci series, by Diana Wynne Jones
Chrestomanci is the title of a powerful enchanter with the responsibility of regulating magic usage in a set of parallel universes. The Chrestomancis are unique in that they have nine lives; this is because, while most people in the world of Chrestomanci have spiritual doubles among eight other worlds, a potential Chrestomanci has no doubles. It is a government job, and each Chrestomanci is responsible for locating and training his or her successor.
Merely calling out “Chrestomanci” will cause the current Chrestomanci to appear, whether he wants to or not, anywhere on his own world. It is implied in Witch Week that saying his name three times will summon him on any world. Once called, a Chrestomanci will attempt to solve any urgent magical dilemma, either out of obligation or natural inclination. (wikipedia)
- Charmed Life
Reading order (raccommended by DWJ herself)
- The Lives of Christopher Chant
- Conrad’s Fate
- Witch Week
- The Magicians of Caprona
- The Pinhoe Egg
- Mixed Magics
“I feel like a thief with the swag,” Janet whispered. “Someone’s going to shine a searchlight any second, and then the police will close in. Are there police here?”
“Yes,” said Cat. “Do shut up.”
But, as usual, there was no one about near the private door. They crept down the shiny passage and peeped outside. The space by the rhododendrons was empty. They crept out towards them. Trees that would hide Mr. Baslam would hide them and their loot. They were three steps outside the door when a massed choir burst into song. Janet and Cat nearly jumped out of their skins.
“We belong to Chrestomanci Castle! We belong to Chrestomanci Castle!” thundered forty voices. Some were deep, some were shrill, but all were very loud. They made a shattering noise. It took them a second or so to realize that the voices were coming from their bundles.
“Creeping antimacassars!” said Janet.
The DWJ blog tour comes to a conclusion care of the thoughtful Judith Ridge, who explains in depth why Charmed Life is the perfect example of a perfect children’s novel — and why Diana’s books are always worth returning to.
“Anyone who comes to a novel by Diana Wynne Jones thinking they’re knowing what they’re getting on *any* level is in for trouble. She destroys the arrogance of the good reader, by being *better*. Better at story, and better at knowing people and what they are capable of—their capacity for casual wickedness and stupidity as well as their capacity for great love, kindness, forgiveness and intelligence. Diana didn’t suffer fools, not gladly, not at all, and neither do her books.”
Kate Coombs counts DWJ as one of her top three best children’s fantasy writers, and shares some of her favorite titles, including The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.
“If you’re going to write fantasy, you should read this book. And if you’re a fantasy reader, you should, too.”