Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1) by Diana Wynne JonesIve just finished reading this to my daughter Celyn (11, too disabled to read for herself).
Its a fun story of Cat and his witchy sister Gwendolin living in a world thats almost ours but where witches and wizards exist and are well-known.
Like an enormous wedge of literature its one of those adventures that would be over really quite quickly and with very little fun if the man (or woman) at the top just sat down and told everyone what was going on. Dumbledore could probably have reduced the Harry Potter series from seven long books to three short ones if he just told Harry things he knew that Harry needed to know. But lets not dwell on that.
At first glance its quite a light-hearted tale centred around the true motivation of the eponymous Chrestomanci, a very dapper master-wizard who takes the siblings into his castle and family. Its written with Diana Wynne Jones customary skill, energy, and imagination, and very enjoyable.
As things develop elements of the story takes a surprisingly dark tone, but the best childrens books always carry an edge, and this edge serves to add interest in the finale!
Those seeking a magic-system will be disappointed. DWJs magic is magic and she doesnt share the rulebook in any of the four novels weve read so far. But thats how I like it and Ive no complaints.
Ive ordered book 2 on the strength of this one, so thats my recommendation right there.
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Jones, Diana Wynne - Chrestomanci 1 - 1977 - Charmed Life
Cat doesn't mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack. It is full of people working magic—warlocks, witches, thaumaturges, sorcerers, fakirs, conjurors, hexers, magicians, mages, shamans, diviners and many more—from the lowest Certified witch right up to the most powerful of enchanters. Enchanters are strange as well as powerful.
16 August 1934 - 26 March 2011
It was the first Chrestomanci book and it remains a recommended introduction to the series. The Chrestomanci books are collectively named after a powerful enchanter and British government official in a world parallel to ours , where magic is accepted as commonplace. The Chrestomanci is a government office whose duties include the supervision and enforcement of magical law, and only the most powerful enchanter is up to the task. Charmed Life is set during the tenure of Christopher Chant, who serves as Chrestomanci in five of the seven books and is often referred to by his title. But when Chrestomanci fails to express interest or awe in her skill, spoiled Gwendolen devises a series of nasty tricks that result in Chrestomanci's removal of her magic.
With an OverDrive account, you can save your favorite libraries for at-a-glance information about availability. Find out more about OverDrive accounts. Cat doesn't mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—