The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1 (Chrestomanci, #1-2)
There is an alternate cover here.In this multiple parallel universes of the Twelve Related Worlds, only an enchanter with nine lives is powerful enough to control the rampant misuse of magic--and to hold the title Chrestomanci... The Chants are a family strong in magic, but neither Christopher Chant nor Cat Chant can work even the simplest of spells. Who could have dreamed that both Christopher and Cat were born with nine lives--or that they could lose them so quickly?

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1 (Chrestomanci, #1-2) Details

TitleThe Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1 (Chrestomanci, #1-2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 10th, 2007
PublisherGreenwillow Books
ISBN-139780064472685
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Childrens

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1 (Chrestomanci, #1-2) Review

  • Martine
    January 1, 1970
    Long before J.K. Rowling ever invented Harry Potter, Diana Wynne Jones penned the Chrestomanci series, in which children perform magic (or fail to do so) in worlds which resemble ours but are ever so slightly different. Like Rowling, Jones infused her fantasy novels for children with enough wit and interesting ideas to make them appealing to adult readers; unlike Rowling, she never made it big, although one of her books, Howl's Moving Castle , was adapted into an enjoyable anime movie by Hayao Long before J.K. Rowling ever invented Harry Potter, Diana Wynne Jones penned the Chrestomanci series, in which children perform magic (or fail to do so) in worlds which resemble ours but are ever so slightly different. Like Rowling, Jones infused her fantasy novels for children with enough wit and interesting ideas to make them appealing to adult readers; unlike Rowling, she never made it big, although one of her books, Howl's Moving Castle , was adapted into an enjoyable anime movie by Hayao Miyazaki a few years ago. It's a pity Jones is not better known in the world of children's fiction, as her work is as good as Rowling's, if not actually better. While they lack the puns and pseudo-Latin that make the Potter books such a delight, Jones' stories are exciting and well-paced -- more so than some of Rowling's books. They feature great magic, superb world-building and a psychological insight which I think beats Rowling's. Jones understands children well, which makes it easy to identify with her young protagonists, even if they occasionally perform acts of magic to which few of us can aspire.The first story in this two-book volume, Charmed Life, is set in a world which vaguely resembles today's England but seems a bit more old-fashioned and, well, magical. The protagonists are two orphaned siblings -- Eric Chant, nicknamed Cat, and his sister Gwendolen, a young witch of quite formidable powers. When the story opens, Cat and Gwendolen are taken to live with Chrestomanci, a mysterious man whose castle oozes magic and whose assistants are to teach them witchcraft. As always, Cat proves to be useless at magic. He feels stupid, doesn't feel at home in his new surroundings and generally spends a lot of time moping and feeling sorry for himself. Meanwhile, Gwendolen obviously excels at magic, but doesn't quite get the adulation she was expecting. Feeling ignored and insulted, she starts doing all sorts of terrible things to prove how powerful a witch she is. A battle of wills between Gwen and Chrestomanci ensues. Needless to say, things go horribly wrong, and people not just in this world but in all the parallel worlds of the universe may end up suffering for it, unless Cat and Chrestomanci can do something about it. Charmed Life is a great minor classic. It was my favourite book when I was twelve, and I can still see why -- it's bold, it's inventive, it has funny touches and it's very well put together (although the beginning is a tad slow). Like all good fantasy, it deals with big issues (who should be in charge of magical powers? What are the consequences of our deeds?), but what really makes the book the gem it is, is the characterisation. Cat is a bit too weak and passive to make for a dashing hero, but his frustration and loneliness are genuine, which makes his betrayal at the end all the harsher. For her part, Gwendolen makes a fabulously spoiled and selfish older sister; her tantrums rank among the highlights of the book, and her magic, while nasty and self-serving, undeniably has flair. As for Chrestomanci, who looks vague but might just be the most powerful enchanter in the world (or indeed in all the worlds), he's a brilliant character whom Jones rightly felt deserved a few more appearances in her oeuvre. Thus she devoted the second book in this volume, The Lives of Christopher Chant, entirely to Chrestomanci. A prequel to Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant tells the story of Chrestomanci's childhood. Like Charmed Life, it features the usual fantasy staples of larger-than-life characters, travel between worlds and the discovery of unsuspected talents, but there's more to it: living goddesses, animals with magical powers, and heaps of spectacular action. For all its magic and non-stop action, though, what sets this book apart from other fantasy fare is the excellent way it deals with the more mundane aspects of life: divorce, friendship, loyalty, betrayal and thwarted dreams. Adult readers will find the story a bit more predictable than Charmed Life, but it's undeniably gripping and imaginative and features a great cameo by a cat. If you like magic and cats, chances are The Lives of Christopher Chant will be right up your alley.
    more
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I read an article a few years back -- wish I could remember which publication; hopefully they've gone under -- which claimed that Diana Wynne Jones plagiarized Harry Potter for Charmed Life. As I recall, the accusation was largely based on these facts:(i) Harry Potter and Cat Chant are both young, male, British wizards who also happen to be orphans (and the reviewer inaccurately claimed that Cat wore glasses).(ii) Harry and Cat are both taken to a place to learn magic.(iii) What, you need more e I read an article a few years back -- wish I could remember which publication; hopefully they've gone under -- which claimed that Diana Wynne Jones plagiarized Harry Potter for Charmed Life. As I recall, the accusation was largely based on these facts:(i) Harry Potter and Cat Chant are both young, male, British wizards who also happen to be orphans (and the reviewer inaccurately claimed that Cat wore glasses).(ii) Harry and Cat are both taken to a place to learn magic.(iii) What, you need more evidence of plagiarism than that?!They also leveled their accusing pen at Neil Gaiman for daring to write The Books of Magic, featuring a young, British, bespectacled boy learning about magic.Needless to say, Diana Wynne Jones has been writing excellent -- and ORIGINAL -- novels since before J.K. Rowling was alive (and so has Gaiman). But if this poorly-researched article led just one Harry Potter fan to discover the strange and beautiful world of Diana Wynne Jones, then I suppose it wasn't entirely a waste of space.Nothing against Rowling, BTW -- I'm just not a fan of myopic Potter fanatics who consider Harry Potter the be-all and end-all of fantasy.
    more
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Diana Wynne Jones is a delight to read. Understated, clever, and filled with dry humor, this book was very hard to tear myself away from. The escapades of the Chant boys are ridiculously fun. I was introduced to Diana Wynne Jones by Miyazaki's animated version of her book, "Howl's Moving Castle", which I enjoyed reading after seeing the film. I picked up "The Chronicles", having heard that Jones' "Chronicles of Chrestomanci" series was superior to the "Harry Potter" books. Though "Harry Potter" Diana Wynne Jones is a delight to read. Understated, clever, and filled with dry humor, this book was very hard to tear myself away from. The escapades of the Chant boys are ridiculously fun. I was introduced to Diana Wynne Jones by Miyazaki's animated version of her book, "Howl's Moving Castle", which I enjoyed reading after seeing the film. I picked up "The Chronicles", having heard that Jones' "Chronicles of Chrestomanci" series was superior to the "Harry Potter" books. Though "Harry Potter" is enjoyable and addictive, the "Chronicles" is wonderful on an entirely different level -- the "Harry Potter" books are fast-food, whereas "the Chronicles" is an exquisite dish, to be savored and pondered (perhaps that's a dumb analogy, but I think it makes the point). The world that Jones has created is marvelous and complex, yet entirely believable. This first volume of "The Chronicles" is composed of two separate novels, "Charmed Life", and "The Lives of Christopher Chant". "Charmed Life" centers around Cat Chant and his sister Gwendolen, two orphans who are adopted by the enigmatic Chrestomanci, and their escapades at Chrestomanci Castle. "Charmed Life" is fun, but I found "The Lives of Christopher Chant" to be superior and more engaging, overall."The Lives of Christopher Chant" was, in a word, amazing. Jones' style is remarkable for so many reasons, one of which is the way she changes it to fit Christopher's age. His early years read like the dream-like, wonder-filled memories most of us form of our youngest childhood days, and as Christopher ages, the writing style becomes gradually more sophisticated and elaborate. The story of Christopher's youth is beautiful, and I won't attempt to summarize it. Stepping into his world, even through the limited medium of words, feels like a rare privilege, and does not once disappoint, right through the end of the book.I can't wait to read the next volume!
    more
  • Joaquin Mejia
    January 1, 1970
    Volume 1 of "The Chronicles of Chrestomanci" contains the first two books of the series which are called "Charmed Life" and "The Lives of Christopher Chant". Cat Chant is the main character in the first book and Christopher Chant is the main character of the second book. They both live in a world where there is magic everywhere. Sadly, neither Cat nor Christopher can do magic. But they will discover that there is more to them than they expect.Diana Wynne Jones's books are always filled with fun, Volume 1 of "The Chronicles of Chrestomanci" contains the first two books of the series which are called "Charmed Life" and "The Lives of Christopher Chant". Cat Chant is the main character in the first book and Christopher Chant is the main character of the second book. They both live in a world where there is magic everywhere. Sadly, neither Cat nor Christopher can do magic. But they will discover that there is more to them than they expect.Diana Wynne Jones's books are always filled with fun, magic, and wonder. But every book offers its own unique adventure. Cat's story is very different from Christopher's. Reading both of their stories in one volume made me glad about Diana Wynne Jones's ability to give her readers a different kind of adventure in every book. No wonder why so many people try to collect as much books written by her as possible. There are four more books to read in the "Chrestomanci" series. But I guess I will read the other volumes that have two books each. I am so excited to read the other books now.
    more
  • Adelina
    January 1, 1970
    For Christmas this year, my sister asked us instead of buying her a present, if as our gift to her we would read any book she chose for us. I was happy to oblige the request because I know my sister has great taste in books, and would pick something accordingly. I was not disappointed with her choice of the first volume in the Chrestomanci series. And thank goodness she has the rest of the series I can now borrow too!She chose this book for me because I am a Doctor Who fan – or Whovian. If you w For Christmas this year, my sister asked us instead of buying her a present, if as our gift to her we would read any book she chose for us. I was happy to oblige the request because I know my sister has great taste in books, and would pick something accordingly. I was not disappointed with her choice of the first volume in the Chrestomanci series. And thank goodness she has the rest of the series I can now borrow too!She chose this book for me because I am a Doctor Who fan – or Whovian. If you watch Doctor Who or know anything about it, you know The Doctor is a Time traveler. Which reminded my sister of the Twelve Related Worlds. Although it’s not time travel – but rather world hopping of sorts.The Twelve Related Worlds are the only known “Worlds” out there. As the book description says, they are parallel universes. Within each World though, is a series of worlds. The whole “what if” this happened situation will create a spin off to a new world within that world’s universe. There are 9 worlds in a series – meaning there are 9 of you out there somewhere. And that is where the Chrestomanci comes in. A person born in a world, that does not have another on the other worlds, giving him 9 lives in 1 body.I highly recommend this book! It was a fascinating read, one that really pulled me from reality into a new world.
    more
  • Priya
    January 1, 1970
    (First read in May 2011. Re-read in March 2016)Diana Wynne Jones's writing is the literary equivalent of a delicious cup of cocoa. :)
  • Sam at A Journey Through Pages
    January 1, 1970
    Review from A Journey Through PagesNow Diana Wynne Jones has been one of my favourite authors for about 8 years now, ever since I read Year of the Griffin. Though one of my favourite memories is when Howl's Moving Castle came out and would see commercials and go: Hey! That's the name of my favourite author paired with my favourite animator, what is going on!? I have since read many books by her (rest in peace Jones, rest in peace), but Chronicles of Chrestomanci is a series that I found myself a Review from A Journey Through PagesNow Diana Wynne Jones has been one of my favourite authors for about 8 years now, ever since I read Year of the Griffin. Though one of my favourite memories is when Howl's Moving Castle came out and would see commercials and go: Hey! That's the name of my favourite author paired with my favourite animator, what is going on!? I have since read many books by her (rest in peace Jones, rest in peace), but Chronicles of Chrestomanci is a series that I found myself avoiding for the longest time.I couldn't tell you exactly why I avoided the series for so long, possibly it could be because of my long standing prejudice against reading books from a male point of view (silly really, but I convinced myself that I could only connect to female narrators).And then one time perusing the library I noticed The Chronicles of Chrestomanci Volume 1 and decided, what the heck, I love her writing style I should give it a try. And I must say, I don’t regret it at all.Comprised of two books, both older than me, Charmed Life, whose hero is Cat Chant, and The Lives of Christopher Chant, starring Christopher Chant. They are actually in backwards chronological order as Jones wrote Charmed Life first.The books are very stylistically Jones, very whimsical and light. It became my before-bed wind-down book because its simplicity was perfect for me to unwind to with a cup of herbal tea in bed.Of the two, Charmed Life was my favourite as I found myself enjoying the character of Cat more than the character of Christopher, though there was a joy in reading the second book as you knew by then who Christopher is in the first and making the connections was exciting.(More to Review on Blog)
    more
  • Kaethe Douglas
    January 1, 1970
    I love the concept at the heart of these two books: the many worlds theory is true; some of these worlds use magic. I enjoy the efforts of the Chants to become who they want to be, and the process of figuring out who that is. I particularly love the character of the embodied Godddess, as well as Throgmorten. I don't even mind too much that Edwardian notions of birth-based class were transferred into a magic-using Britain, where the servants are sadly deficient in innate skill (which is somehow l I love the concept at the heart of these two books: the many worlds theory is true; some of these worlds use magic. I enjoy the efforts of the Chants to become who they want to be, and the process of figuring out who that is. I particularly love the character of the embodied Godddess, as well as Throgmorten. I don't even mind too much that Edwardian notions of birth-based class were transferred into a magic-using Britain, where the servants are sadly deficient in innate skill (which is somehow less offensive that the quite powerful house-elves being enslaved in Harry Potter, because of their race). Forgive me the pun, but the books really are enchanting.
    more
  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    Diana Wynne Jones is just a fantastic writer. I loved both Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant. I want to be Chrestomanci when I grow up.Disappointed to find a few points of colonialism/orientalism/racism in Charmed Life but was glad to see the inclusion of a brown-skinned (the way he's described he sounds Black to me) character in The Lives of Christopher Chant but then again, his people are really cruel, but smart, so... I'm betwixt and between on that.
    more
  • Monica
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this book when I was younger, and it was actually one of the most influential novels of my childhood. I really need to read this book again as an adult, because no matter what my change in perspective will do to the story, I am pretty sure I will enjoy it for the sentimental value alone.
    more
  • Jameschneider007
    January 1, 1970
    This book is very magical. I like the way that it makes the magical things around the characters more or less common practice. I really like that each of the magical spells that are cast seem to have some kind of a cost. It is just very good, as is volume two.
    more
  • Elli Williams
    January 1, 1970
    Cute Book, I think if you liked Harry Potter, you may like this.
  • Rindis
    January 1, 1970
    Somehow, I missed Dianna Wynne Jones during my reading heyday in the '80s. So my first introduction to her was through Hayao Miyazaki. My second introduction was slightly later through a friend who had gotten these collected volumes of the Chrestomanci series. Recently, I found my own used copies. I had already read the first book through Kindle, and planned to just skim it as a reminder before going into the second book, but I ended up re-reading the entire thing instead, which should serve as Somehow, I missed Dianna Wynne Jones during my reading heyday in the '80s. So my first introduction to her was through Hayao Miyazaki. My second introduction was slightly later through a friend who had gotten these collected volumes of the Chrestomanci series. Recently, I found my own used copies. I had already read the first book through Kindle, and planned to just skim it as a reminder before going into the second book, but I ended up re-reading the entire thing instead, which should serve as a recommendation right there.In this volume, both Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant have a lot of structural similarities."Chrestomanci" is the name of a government office in an alternate England. He regulates magical access to other worlds, to prevent or at least curtail illegal trade in nasty things like dragon blood and mermaid tails. How exactly this works is not explained, nor what this means for other countries, but it does require someone of great magical power. What happens if the only person available with enough power would be more likely to conduct such trade isn't mentioned.But, both books are from the point of view of children (around 10-12), so a lot of that is way outside the scope of the stories here. There is an underlying current of if you have the power, you're probably also temperamentally the right person for the job, no matter how unlikely it seems at first.Charmed Life is a fun read from start to finish, but suffers from the usual DWJ habit of the plot just collapsing into a very sudden ending. It's a bit rushed, and people kind of just show up for it (okay, they were legitimately summoned to the big climax, but they're more powerful than the limited viewpoint has shown so far). The Lives of Christopher Chant is kind of a re-run of some of the same themes in a prequel, but much better developed. Chris is much more proactive, and has definite goals he tries to pursue, even if some of them turn out to be bad ideas, and the ending flows out of the action in a much more satisfying way.So, given the first book was good enough to draw me into a re-read, and it just gets better from there.
    more
  • Reid
    January 1, 1970
    It's been awhile since I read these, but I recall them as being great fun.
  • Chachic
    January 1, 1970
    Review for Charmed Life:This is the first book in the Chrestomanci series and introduces readers to the Twelve Related Worlds. Even though I haven't read a lot of Diana Wynne Jones, I think it's safe to say that all of her books are similar in the sense that they all have magic, adventures and interesting characters. I wish I knew about her books when I was younger. I think I would've love her books as a child. In any case, I still enjoyed reading them as an adult so it's all good. In Charmed Li Review for Charmed Life:This is the first book in the Chrestomanci series and introduces readers to the Twelve Related Worlds. Even though I haven't read a lot of Diana Wynne Jones, I think it's safe to say that all of her books are similar in the sense that they all have magic, adventures and interesting characters. I wish I knew about her books when I was younger. I think I would've love her books as a child. In any case, I still enjoyed reading them as an adult so it's all good. In Charmed Life, the main character is Eric Chant, nicknamed Cat. Cat thinks he can't do magic and he's used to being bossed around by his sister Gwendolen, who's destined to be a great witch. This book isn't as fast-paced as other Diana Wynne Jones and you tend feel sorry for Cat because he's clueless most of the time. What I really liked about this book was the characters in Chrestomanci Castle - Chrestomanci himself, his wife Millie and their kids Julia and Roger. Chrestomanci reminds me of Howl because of the way he dresses although he does have more extravagant tastes when it comes to dressing gowns. I felt like this book was more of an introduction to the world than anything else. It did make me look forward to reading more about the world and the characters in the series.Review for The Lives of Christopher Chant:The Lives of Christopher Chant occurs a couple of years before Charmed Life and it's about the childhood of Christopher Chant, the Chrestomanci in Charmed Life. I liked this one better than the first book, Christopher have more adventures as a child than Cat did in the first book. Christopher's back story is much more engaging than Cat's. One thing they have in common though is that initially, both of them thought that they couldn't do any magic when in fact, they're both destined to be powerful enchanters. Although Christopher couldn't do magic, he can travel between the worlds. His travels are very interesting and they show how diverse the worlds really are. I enjoyed reading about his escapades and I had a couple of laugh out loud moments with this book. The way he kept losing his lives one after the other was hilarious. As with the first book, the characters in this one also had remarkable personalities and they add more depth to the story.
    more
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    like a lot of people, i was introduced to ms. jones through Howl's Moving Castle. i thoroughly enjoyed that book, as well as the parts of the movie i saw. (never saw the whole thing, but i was shown the part where howl was depressed and goopy, and it made me laugh like mad.) these books fit right in to the idea i had of ms. jones as an author - cute, fluffy, and i really liked both books. i hesitate to compare them to harry potter, mostly because everyone ELSE does, but okay. written YEARS befor like a lot of people, i was introduced to ms. jones through Howl's Moving Castle. i thoroughly enjoyed that book, as well as the parts of the movie i saw. (never saw the whole thing, but i was shown the part where howl was depressed and goopy, and it made me laugh like mad.) these books fit right in to the idea i had of ms. jones as an author - cute, fluffy, and i really liked both books. i hesitate to compare them to harry potter, mostly because everyone ELSE does, but okay. written YEARS before harry potter, cuter, lighter, better thought out, better written and about twelve times less annoying. (yes, there were times when i thought these two books were a little over the top - i realize gwendolen was the villain, but i'm not sure that a villain is supposed to be so annoying (instead of evil) that you just want to punch them or smear mud in their hair and run away.) i enjoyed both books (two together in here), but probably liked the second one more. there's great dry humor in the books, good characters, and it just made me happy to read them. very lighthearted, great for a lazy afternoon poolside, or on your couch. i'll be looking for the rest of them as i go through my summer reading list. recommended for anyone who would get a kick out of YA-Fantasy with a light touch.
    more
  • Quinn
    January 1, 1970
    The first book in the Volume was Charmed Life featured Eric \Cat\" Chant (who I somehow got confused with Christopher Chant in the next book -_- I'm so lame) and his sister, Gwendolyn Chant.^^^^Gwendolyn is such a... grrrrr! So mean... so wanted to biatch slap some sense into her. While Cat's... he's just silly. =P^^^^It was a bit exasperating to read, I admit, but overall it's pretty good - I'm such a sucker for magic/magicians/enchanters/etc, etc.^^^^I enjoyed the second book, The Lives of Chr The first book in the Volume was Charmed Life featured Eric \Cat\" Chant (who I somehow got confused with Christopher Chant in the next book -_- I'm so lame) and his sister, Gwendolyn Chant.^^^^Gwendolyn is such a... grrrrr! So mean... so wanted to biatch slap some sense into her. While Cat's... he's just silly. =P^^^^It was a bit exasperating to read, I admit, but overall it's pretty good - I'm such a sucker for magic/magicians/enchanters/etc, etc.^^^^I enjoyed the second book, The Lives of Christopher Chant, a lot more. Keep forgetting that it's set 25 years before the first book. Found it more interesting and funnier.^^^^I love the development Christopher goes through and how you find out that some things can be traced to the first book (but then I suppose that's one of the reasons why it's a series =P). ^^^^I suppose what I mean is that it was pretty easy for me to go \"oh yeah! That's so-and-so from the first book!\" because I'm rather slow and thick when it comes to relating things back to prior books in a series =P But it isn't done in a condescending way where it seems like they really made a point about it being related to the first book.^^^^Throgmorten is one of favourite characters hehe"
    more
  • Aura
    January 1, 1970
    While I really enjoy discovering Diana Wynne Jones's books one by one, I noticed something about her voice. Apart from the energy radiating from the lines (which I think is more obvious in Howl's Moving Castle), there's a detachment from the her part that usually goes very well with fantasy meant for children. Children are interested in the story after all, which they get more readily by relating to those who inhabit the newly discovered world. And this works brilliantly when there always the el While I really enjoy discovering Diana Wynne Jones's books one by one, I noticed something about her voice. Apart from the energy radiating from the lines (which I think is more obvious in Howl's Moving Castle), there's a detachment from the her part that usually goes very well with fantasy meant for children. Children are interested in the story after all, which they get more readily by relating to those who inhabit the newly discovered world. And this works brilliantly when there always the element of surprise knocking at the door or characters in whose misery one is drawn. Otherwise, the story gets flat for me if there isn't an narator to guide me through the journey. I stumble and feel lost. I look at the page and get no answers to whatever I might be asking.Crestomanci's world is full of interesting things, but not one I feel many people would say 'Gosh, I wish I lived there'. I read fantasy precisely for the atmosphere and in general I read books because of the characters, so please Jones give me more insight into the characters in the rest of the Crestomanci series and I'll have to praise the world building.
    more
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Diana Wynne Jones has an odd style and it always takes me a while to get into her books. She writes children's stories but uses a straightforward adult style to tell them, so it's difficult to decide where these books fit as you're going along. What keeps me coming back to this very prolific author is that any of her books is always guaranteed to be entertainingly creative about the magic in the stories. In this case, I read the first 50 pages a couple of years ago and lost interest because I co Diana Wynne Jones has an odd style and it always takes me a while to get into her books. She writes children's stories but uses a straightforward adult style to tell them, so it's difficult to decide where these books fit as you're going along. What keeps me coming back to this very prolific author is that any of her books is always guaranteed to be entertainingly creative about the magic in the stories. In this case, I read the first 50 pages a couple of years ago and lost interest because I couldn't figure out where the story was headed at all by that point. However, I tried again recently and found shortly after that point that I couldn't put it down. This book is really two books in one, the first one an introduction to the world and character of Chrestomanci and the second a prequel that explains the origin of one of the characters in the first story. The first story was charming and had a very likable main character in Cat, but the second book was wonderful, a very sweet magical story of good vs evil.
    more
  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    A friend recommended the Chrestomanci series to me and I must admit after reading Charmed Life, I almost didn't continue. It was too vague and confusing because the main character did not understand things either. He finally begins to understand and the book abruptly ended. I did end up reading The Lives of Christopher Chant and I liked it a whole lot more. It also made me like the original book more. So, I would definitely read the Chrestomanci books in a different order. As I got on to post my A friend recommended the Chrestomanci series to me and I must admit after reading Charmed Life, I almost didn't continue. It was too vague and confusing because the main character did not understand things either. He finally begins to understand and the book abruptly ended. I did end up reading The Lives of Christopher Chant and I liked it a whole lot more. It also made me like the original book more. So, I would definitely read the Chrestomanci books in a different order. As I got on to post my review, I found this list from the author of the order she would read the books.The Lives of Christopher ChantConrad's FateCharmed Life*"Warlock at the Wheel"*"The Sage of Theare"Witch WeekThe Magicians of Caprona*"Stealer of Souls"*"Carol Oneir's Hundredth Dream"The Pinhoe Egg*short stories published in Mixed Magics
    more
  • Katie Whitt
    January 1, 1970
    I can't believe it took me this long to actually read these books! I'm a huge Neil Gaiman and he talks a lot about Wynne Jones, but I also kept hearing it as a substitute for Harry Potter withdrawals and none of those recommendations has ever worked for me, but to be honest this fit the bill. In my opinion it's more of a mash up of HP and the Bartimaues trilogy, but since I love both those series that's perfect for me! I like that Wynne Jones doesn't write anything too precious and there are som I can't believe it took me this long to actually read these books! I'm a huge Neil Gaiman and he talks a lot about Wynne Jones, but I also kept hearing it as a substitute for Harry Potter withdrawals and none of those recommendations has ever worked for me, but to be honest this fit the bill. In my opinion it's more of a mash up of HP and the Bartimaues trilogy, but since I love both those series that's perfect for me! I like that Wynne Jones doesn't write anything too precious and there are some truly vicious/unlikable characters in her books, but there are some pretty great ones too. Can't recommend enough.
    more
  • Misaki
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a 'just-right' book for me. Diana Wynne Jones created very different and unique worlds in the story. Although I had to re-read some parts to understand what's going on, she included many clear, interesting details of the places. I really enjoyed being sucked into the magical world of Chrestomanci while reading this book. Another cool thing about how this book is written is the order in which the two stories (of Cat and Christopher) is told. Even though Cat's stories came after Chri This book was a 'just-right' book for me. Diana Wynne Jones created very different and unique worlds in the story. Although I had to re-read some parts to understand what's going on, she included many clear, interesting details of the places. I really enjoyed being sucked into the magical world of Chrestomanci while reading this book. Another cool thing about how this book is written is the order in which the two stories (of Cat and Christopher) is told. Even though Cat's stories came after Christopher's, Diana Wynne Jones put the story of Christopher after Cat's. This made it very exciting to solve the mysteries of each of the characters in their worlds.
    more
  • Kay
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know why these YA novels did not catch on as well as the Harry Potter books, for the ingredients are much the same, though Wynne Jones keeps the series fairly tight and doesn't succumb to the bloat of the later books in the Harry Potter series. There are four Crestomanci books, and they can be read independently.
    more
  • Leanne
    January 1, 1970
    The second book, The Lives of Christopher Chant, is simply -- and I believe this is the official term -- amazeballs. Millie may be one of the best characters ever, and Throgmorton, Christopher, and Tacroy are pretty delightful as well. Everything ends very happily and nicely, but that's okay with me. Reading Diana Wynne Jones always cheers me up.
    more
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Book about witchcraft and a kind boy with a crazily mean and uncaring sister in contrast to himself. He can't do magic and she can. What is up with that? FYI, the beginning, for me, was slightly uninteresting, but gets really good at the end. So keep reading!
    more
  • Hanne Federwölkchen
    January 1, 1970
    I still have to process some of this, but wow, what a book!
  • Jay
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book - just as much as I did reading it as a kid.This book is actually two combined into one: Charmed Life, originally published in 1977, and The Lives of Christopher Chant, originally published in 1988. Charmed Life Follows the story of Cat, i.e. Eric Chant, who finds himself an orphan taken in, with his sister, by the enigmatic Chrestomanci in Chrestomanci Castle. It turns out that Chrestomanci is a title that is held by a government-appointed officer; the current one I thoroughly enjoyed this book - just as much as I did reading it as a kid.This book is actually two combined into one: Charmed Life, originally published in 1977, and The Lives of Christopher Chant, originally published in 1988. Charmed Life Follows the story of Cat, i.e. Eric Chant, who finds himself an orphan taken in, with his sister, by the enigmatic Chrestomanci in Chrestomanci Castle. It turns out that Chrestomanci is a title that is held by a government-appointed officer; the current one's name is Christopher Chant. Cat's sister is a powerful and ambitious witch who gets the both of them into all sorts of trouble and then disappears leaving Cat to deal with the consequences. This ultimately brings him and all of the other occupants of the house within a hair's breadth of disaster. Overall, the plot is enticing, if simple, and the characters well written, if (also) simple - it is a good children's book that doesn't touch on subjects that are overly heavy or deep, but still has substance. Additionally, this book serves to introduce the reader to the world of the Chrestomanci: this is a world of both openly practiced magic and decided normalcy, taking place in a roughly Edwardian age. This world is one of many that co-exist together, though we don't learn about the structure of the worlds or how they are connected until the second of the featured stories, which actually takes place (story-wise) before the first.The second story, The Lives of Christopher Chant, follows the childhood of Christopher Chant, who can access a series of "anywheres" in his dreams. These "anywheres" are, in fact, other worlds, the concept of which is introduced in the first book. Christopher goes on a series of adventures in several of these worlds before he is taken to the Chrestomanci Castle and put in the custody of the current Chrestomanci, Gabriel de Witt. At the Castle, several plot points converge with a vengeance - there is crisis, Christopher shows his worth, and the story is concluded with satisfaction.In this book, Jones really shows her talent for characterization, for we have a wider cast of characters that are unique without being flat, and looking at Christopher as a child, it is possible to see him grow into the Chrestomanci of Charmed Life without feeling he was prematurely mature or retroactively created (as, indeed, he must have been).These praises said, I would have liked a little more within the rich world of the Chrestomanci. The reader is given the impression of a world that is at once different and familiar, and allowing the characters to explore it more and experience it more (rather than being cooped up in a castle) would have been immensely satisfying. Perhaps we shall see that in further books.There is no graphic sex or language, and minimal graphic violence. I would recommend this book for elementary readers and above. Four stars.
    more
  • Mahra
    January 1, 1970
    "i stepped into a magical universe and i want to stay <3"*When starting this series i noticed that you have to follow the chronological order!!! which is not the same as the published order!!*(Charmed Life)1. I have and will always love DianaWJ writing, its the top best!2. Gwendolen struck me as spoiled at first but then she's wicked!! and the fortune lady never lied! she did become the ruler of the world.. well, somewhere far away.3. Cat or 'Eric' is so nice and innocent, he always thought t "i stepped into a magical universe and i want to stay <3"*When starting this series i noticed that you have to follow the chronological order!!! which is not the same as the published order!!*(Charmed Life)1. I have and will always love DianaWJ writing, its the top best!2. Gwendolen struck me as spoiled at first but then she's wicked!! and the fortune lady never lied! she did become the ruler of the world.. well, somewhere far away.3. Cat or 'Eric' is so nice and innocent, he always thought the best of his sister and i do not blame him at all.4. i have always wondered why his name was 'cat' but then i knew and i was like OHHHH!!5. IT ANNOYED ME TO THE CORE! that Gwondolen CARELESSLY used her brother's lives to do whatever! without his permission! and even wanted to take his life! and worst of all the matchbox!! the fact that she put her brother's lives in a matchbox! evil!6. i loved the spell that said 'I belong to Chrestomanci castle' or 'i belong to caroline chant' i wish i can have this spell on my stuff too!!7. Cat and Jenna (his sister replacement) are so cute, can i ship them??!8. Chrestomanci's outfits are elegant omg marry me plz. 9. chrestomanci dresses up for the position lol. 10. i loved the fact that when someone mentions Chrestomanci he appears out of now where!!Charmed life is 5 shinning stars, i loved the story so freakin' much that i wanna read it again!----------------------------------------------------(The Lives of Christopher Chant)I did not hesitate to start the next book!! i was like LETS DIVE IN!!!!!!1. Christopher lived with parents who drove everyone crazy, poor him. 2. I immediately knew that Uncle Ralph was using Christopher for smuggling, it annoyed me that Christopher's father did do much to warn his son >:(3. I admired Christopher's character how he was calm and collected most of the times or maybe i liked his POV.4. when christopher saw himself in the hospital cold room for the dead i was like holy shit.5. i can see how christopher carelessly wasted his lives which makes since back in 'Charmed Life' how he was all angry at Cat for burning a match!6. SHIPPING MILLIE N CHRISTOPHER CUZ I KNOW THEy WILL BE TOGETHER!!!7. i hope we see both of millie n chris falling in love in the next book!!8. TACROY N ROSALINE!! OMG I WANNA DRAW THEM!i adore this series to no end, no matter what i write here it would not amount to the fun amazing read i had in this universe that DiannaWJ created! so happy and excited to read the next book![image error]
    more
  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    This first volume of Jones' Chrestomanci Chronicles are two novels: Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant, that can stand alone pretty well but fit together nicely also.So, these books were originally published 20 years before Harry Potter and I just have to believe that they influenced it somehow. It's a world of lots of witches and enchanters and such but they don't live in secret. They're so commonplace, actually, that the offhand tone of the book presents it all as rather dull. Bot This first volume of Jones' Chrestomanci Chronicles are two novels: Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant, that can stand alone pretty well but fit together nicely also.So, these books were originally published 20 years before Harry Potter and I just have to believe that they influenced it somehow. It's a world of lots of witches and enchanters and such but they don't live in secret. They're so commonplace, actually, that the offhand tone of the book presents it all as rather dull. Both books focus on children who have powerful forces in the world of magic swirling around them.The books are really very charming (no pun intended) and funny. Cat, the main character of the first book is maddeningly indifferent to the plot around him and generally just wants to do things a kid wants to do. He's ineffective when he does try to do things which makes him a comic and sympathetic protagonist.In the second book, Christopher is much more in control of himself in the ways that Cat was not but remarkably not in control of himself in other ways.As realization dawns on both boys, the stories spill out wonderfully. You feel like you're a couple steps ahead of them for most of the books but then you realize Jones has kept a few great twists from you as well.Highly recommended!
    more
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    These books are perfect.Diana Wynne Jones's very engaging novels lead the reader along, dropping little narrative hints, and then, about 15 pages from the end, the resolutions to her fiendishly complex plots come down on you like an avalanche. I first read The Lives of Christopher Chant in fourth grade. For the first few years of reading Diana Wynne Jones, I never understood what was happening the first time through one of her books. But I read them anyway, because I knew a fantastic payoff awai These books are perfect.Diana Wynne Jones's very engaging novels lead the reader along, dropping little narrative hints, and then, about 15 pages from the end, the resolutions to her fiendishly complex plots come down on you like an avalanche. I first read The Lives of Christopher Chant in fourth grade. For the first few years of reading Diana Wynne Jones, I never understood what was happening the first time through one of her books. But I read them anyway, because I knew a fantastic payoff awaited for my second read-through. I don't know how many times I've read Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant, but you guys - these two books are what it's all about.
    more
Write a review