Monday, August 2, 2010

Review: Charmed Life

Charmed Life is the first book in Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci series and the first book I have ever read by her.

Orphans Cat and his sister Gwendolen, a young witch, are summoned to live with at Chrestomanci Castle, home of the powerful enchanter who regulates the use of magic in the parallel worlds and his family. When the Chrestomanci doesn't acknowledge ambitious Gwendolen's talent, she decides to wreck havoc on the castle to make him pay attention. Poor Cat is haplessly dragged alone for the ride.

I know DWJ has legions of fans, but I wasn't really impressed by this book. There were basically no sympathetic characters - Gwendolen is clearly just a shrew, Cat is a patsy, we hardly know Chrestomanci and his wife, their daughter is obnoxious, and their son barely registered as a person. The only person I liked in the book was Janet, and she's not in most of the book. Does Wynn Jones have something against kids? For a kids book, I found the children characters to be really poorly developed. I resented that the female characters were either harpies or doormats, but the male characters didn't fare much better.

As I said, I know this author has a lot of fans. I loved the movie Howl's Moving Castle, so maybe I will seek out the book, but otherwise, I doubt I will pick up another one of Wynn Jones's books again.

Buy Charmed Life on Amazon.

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