Charmed Life: The Worlds of Chrestomanci
Diana Wynne Jones
HarperCollins, 2000 (1977)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
at Chant admires his older sister Gwendolen. He has clung to her since the sinking of a paddle steamer in which their parents drowned. Clinging to Gwendolen was a smart move on his part as witches cannot drown. Of course it's not always easy having a talented witch for a sister, when you don't have any magic yourself. There was the time she changed his violin into the cat Fiddle and it bit him - she didn't like the sounds it made.
hen the mysterious Chrestomanci takes them to live in his Castle, Gwendolen's head swells even more. Cat loves his tower room but finds the Castle very silent, as if it were blanketed in snow. Gwendolen is furious when she find out that magic has been forbidden to her ... there seems to be a great deal forbidden at the Castle.
wendolen resents her situation and indulges in an escalating series of magic tantrums that still do not get her the attention she feels that her talent deserves. Then she uses the forbidden dragon's blood, Janet appears on the scene and Cat's problems multiply.
is a marvellous tale of magic, misunderstanding and mystery. Diana Wynne Jones keeps piling on the surprises, what a wonderful imagination! I won't make the usual comparison to
, this series stands powerfully on its own in the
Worlds of Chrestomanci
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