Monday, 13 February 2012

Review: Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

Charmed Life
Series: Chrestomanci Series
Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 269
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased


Reason chosen:  I had to read this book for a children’s literature class that I am taking for University. Although I’m glad that I read it and I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a children’s novel...although I guess it still is.

Summary taken from Chapters/
Everybody says that Gwendolyn Chant is a gifted witch with astonishing powers, so it suits her enormously when she is taken to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Her brother Eric (better known as Cat) is not so keen, for he has no talent for magic at all.
However, life with the great enchanter is not what either of them expects and sparks begin to fly!

This is a charming other dimensional novel about growth and going from innocence to understanding. This novel has influence for Harry Potter written all over it. There is ‘He who must not be named’, an orphaned child, and so many  other little things that make you see where J.K. Rowling got some of the little detail for her bestselling novels from.
The adventures and mishaps that occur in the novel are ones that sometimes make you laugh, and sometimes make you angry.
The novel takes place in another dimension of our world where everything to do with magic is simply natural to them, which can sometimes be a bit confusing, but nevertheless provides constant entertainment as we learn along with the Cat Chant. And just when you thought that the world of Chrestomanci couldn’t get any weirder they introduce a character that comes from our  world and I found myself shaking my head and saying, “Don’t worry Janet...I completely understand. It can be confusing sometimes.”
And like when I read Harry Potter I found myself yelling out “What? Where did she go? What is his weakness? Does he always come when you call him?” I feverishly got wrapped into another world and wanted to know everything about it. Don’t get me wrong, this novel is not on the same level as the Harry Potter series—there has a considerable less amount of adventures, but a considerable more amount of mysterious characters and is a promising beginning to a series. Especially taken into consideration that it was written in the 70s and I can’t wait to read the remainder of the series.

A Completely other dimension that still mentions our own, making it seem like it is really a place that could exist.
Chrestomanci: I want to know so much more about him.
Cat: I want to know about his future
Gwendolyn: The kind of character you really love to hate.

Because it’s based in another dimension and the author does not take the time to explain this (until the added extra features at the back of the book) some things tend to be complicated, even if you take the time to re-read it.

Overall (Writing style, story line, and general):
Overall this is a book I would read again, and it’s definitely a series I will read in the future. Taking into considering the era that it was written in it was a lot easier to follow than I would have originally thought, and I only had Google some things to find out what they really were.

Viewer Type Recommendation:
Anyone who loved Harry Potter, magicians, fantasy

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