Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1: Charmed Life/The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne-Jones

Charmed Life

The adventure begins in a strange and not-quite contemporary England that is still peppered with paddle steamers, horse-drawn carriages and girls wearing petticoats. Orphans Eric Chant (nicknamed Cat) and his sister Gwendolen, a gifted witch, are whisked away to live in a castle with Chrestromanci, a much-revered man of magic, wealth and mysterious ways. Their new life is full of the surreal and unexpected, and there are several crazy new rules to master--not least by Gwendolen who must learn to channel her astonishing powers for good instead of mischief as she forever seems determined to do!

My View

Loved this! It has been said if you love Harry Potter then you will love this, the most ardent HP fans may not agree but, it has to be said this was written long before HP was even thought of! However, this was brilliant Gwendolen is brilliant I loved reading about her and her brother Cat - if you love anything magical giove this a try you may be pleasantly surprised.

The Lives of Christopher Chant
Christopher Chant is a dreamer, a boy who returns home each night with strange gifts from his nocturnal travels and leaves sand in his bed as proof. He's happy to play cricket and wander the world in secret--so having nine lives and being the next "Chrestomanci" is not part of his plans for the future. It's only when an evil smuggler known as The Wraith threatens his existence that the young Christopher truly takes hold of his destiny. He must try to halt his loss of lives and defeat evil before times runs out.

The childhood of Chrestomanci. Everything in this book happens at least twenty-five years before the story told in Charmed Life! Discovering that he has nine lives and is destined to be the next 'Chrestomanci' is not part of Christopher's plans for the future: he'd much rather play cricket and wander around his secret dream worlds. But he soon finds that destiny is difficult to avoid, and that having more than the usual number of lives is pretty inconvenient - especially when you lose them as easily as he does! Then an evil smuggler, known only as The Wraith, threatens the ways of the worlds and forces Christopher to take action!

My View
I loved this even more than Charmed Life this is set before Charmed Life and Christopher Chant is a fantastic character, a very powerful magician who also has nine lives! However, Christopher (much like Gwendolen) is unable to perform even the most simple of spells. Christopher starts having strange dreams, where he is crawling through this strange land, covered in rocks and fog.

Not wanting to give too much away its a really fascinating magical world Diana has created, of course primarily aimed at the YA market but, I am sure more lets say mature adults will enjoy it too! A good fun easy to read novel.

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