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The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #4)
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The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci #2)

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  17,802 Ratings  ·  403 Reviews
Young Christopher Chant, in training to become the next Chrestomanci or head controller of magic in the world, becomes a key figure in a battle with renegade sorcerers because he has nine lives.
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published 1988 by Greenwillow Books
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mark monday
Oct 08, 2011 mark monday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this prequel to Charmed Life gives the mysterious and urbane Chrestomanci (multi-dimensional policeman of all things magical) his own backstory. this was a wonderful kid's novel, swiftly-paced and enjoyable from beginning to end.

i loved the connectivity between this book and its predecessor, seeing the basic similarities and differences between Cat and Christopher, their similar reactions to their current Chrestomanci and Chrestomanci Castle, their different ways of not being magical, their simi
Arielle Walker
I don't think I'll ever get over how fantastic this series is.
Apr 02, 2011 Myles rated it it was amazing
DWJ Book Toast, #2

Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite fantasy authors, growing up and now, and I was saddened by the news of her death. I can't say I'm overcome with emotion - as personal as some of her work is to me, its not like I knew her after all - but I wish I could put into words how I feel about her no longer being out there, writing new adventures and laughing at all of us serious fans thinking so hard about her words when we should simply get on with the business of enjoying them.

Mindy Conde
Apr 11, 2014 Mindy Conde rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
The order to read these books is a bit murky. The newest publishing of the books list #2 as The Magician’s of Caprona, but a list I found that showed Diana Wynn Jones’ recommended reading order pointed to The Lives of Christopher Chant as #2, which was what I went with. Its confusing because the publishing order is another option that gives yet a different order. In any case, so far the stories are related but not so contingent on the others that I’ve found you have to read them in a certain ord ...more
Nov 20, 2015 beatricks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of the three Chrestomanci books I've read so far, this was easily my favorite. I've enjoyed DWJ's style from day one, but this is where everything came together for me and I developed really strong feelings about plot and relationships. I love how DWJ just goes for it in terms of frankly messed up subject matter but still keeps things brisk and funny. She does a great job of putting us in the tight POV of Christopher as a very young child as well as when he gets older, so that we share much of h ...more
An Odd1
Jun 08, 2013 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Funny, serious, memorable. Christopher grows up in magic Victorian London, escapes from marital conflict in dream spirit travel to Anywheres, strange lands, even mermaids. Of course, he would obey his uncle Ralph, the first adult to be kind and attentive. Asked to experiment with his skill under the guidance of Tacroy, bring back an animal, he goes after a Temple cat of the Asheth. The girl Goddess swops cantankerous ginger tom Throgmorten for books -- she's bored. The ruthless cat reminds him o ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Libby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how to accurately describe my love for this book. Every time I read it I feel more strongly (and I think on average, I read it about twice a year, so I feel very strongly about it indeed!) Never-mind that it's a "children's book" (whatever that means). It's beautiful, it's timeless, it's rich and it's subtle. I adore it.

I first read it when I was about ten. This and "Witch Week" were in the two little bookshelves at the back of my fifth-grade classroom, and as you do when you're a t
Janelle Dazzlepants
This book has a similar plot to the first one in the series, Charmed Life, in that it follows the soon-to-be Chrestomanci's struggles to adjusting to life as a nine lifed enchanter in Chrestomanci Castle - except this time it's Christopher Chant instead of Cat/Eric Chant.

It's also similar in that Christopher was an obnoxious little brat about everything in the castle, and he acted like such a disrespectful twat and thought the most important thing in the world was cricket. That being said, he d
Mar 02, 2015 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read five of the Chrestomanci books, I think that the series should begin with this one (not the order they are are published in the three volumes). Like so many DWJ books, it is about a child obeying a wicked uncle (in other books, it's a parent, sister, or other awful relative). Christopher is mostly neglected by his wealthy parents, so it's no wonder that he latches onto the affection bestowed upon him by his uncle, who is manipulating his unusual ability to enter other worlds whilst d ...more
Jul 28, 2016 Daphne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as the second book in the series, following the author's suggested reading order. I was a little skeptical at first about this order, because I felt like this book was fairly similar to the first. It both concerned a young boy with 9 lives with several similarities between them.

But, Christopher is different from Cat, and his story is different. I now think that this book is a good sequel to the first, because it contains characters introduced in the first book but also expands on th
For a while this was my all-time favorite book. I chose it to write a book review on when I was twelve, which was a lot of fun (though I seem to recall having some trouble picking out a favorite passage).
By the time I read this, I'd read two others of the same series, and so I was familiar with the character of Chrestomanci. As such, it was nice to see him growing up, and to be able to pick out traits he retains in the earlier books.
Similarly, it was interesting to see a younger version of Mill
Fun and easy to read. Pretty sure I didn't read this, the first time, so, hm. Maybe I only read the first book, when I was younger. In any case, it's best to read this after Charmed Life, otherwise it would give the game away with some of what happens in Charmed Life.

Christopher Chant isn't the pleasantest kid to read about, if you're reading in an aware sort of way and you know some things about the world -- e.g. dragon blood -- but at the same time, you get sucked into what he's doing. And it'
Serena Wyndelin Ogawa
Reading chronologically, this is the first book of the Chrestomanci series. And what a beginning it is. The reader gets to grow alongside Christopher Chant, and learn magic with him. The many worlds presented are fun, vibrant, and make for an interesting contrast to the one Chant lives in.

Jones' writing keeps readers thoroughly invested and submerged in her world. Even bits of exposition are presented as casual comments rather than any heavy-handed world building. Her works are always a joy to
Nov 05, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this series as a 5th grader. In fact, my copy got confiscated by the terrifying 4'9" Mrs. Wasserman because I was reading it under the desk and trying to look innocent.

I was delighted to reread this and realize that these books really ARE captivating, and maybe I did have some literary taste as a kid.

I loved the way the adolescent hero has a terrible shock discovering that he is not adorable, and that he may in fact be an arrogant jerk. What a perfect insight into being 13! And Jones is
DWJ, in these early Chrestomanci books, captures something of the blind obedience of children, doing what they're told (at least for people they like or trust) and understanding very little of what's going on. [Though Christopher is almost wilfully blind toward the end there.]

The story can be read from a post-colonial viewpoint, with the unhesitating exploitation of various cultures by the Wraith's gang, but it also raises the question of what gives a British government-appointed enchanter from
Harry Rutherford
Jan 06, 2013 Harry Rutherford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light
I'm reading these in what Wikipedia informs me is Diana Wynne-Jones's suggested reading order, which is different from the publication order. I've been enjoying DWJ, which is why I've been reading them so quickly, but this is the first one which really makes me understand why she has such a devoted fanbase: she really has created a convincingly strange alternative world, with a real humour and charm to it.
Jul 13, 2007 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
If you liked Harry Potter, don't read this book. If you think Harry Potter is derivative puerile nonsense entirely bereft of wit, charm, or originality then I salute you. You should enjoy this delightful children's fantasy.
Rosie Nguyễn
Feb 06, 2017 Rosie Nguyễn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Learned a lot of new nice useful words from this charming book
Jul 24, 2016 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love the Chrestomanci universe. (At least, I love the stories that surround the character and the castle, so notable exceptions include Volume II.) As a story, I don't think this is paced as well - or as fun - as Charmed Life, but it does dovetail with Charmed Life in fascinating, tongue-in-cheek ways, and those overlaps do a lot to elevate the story, placing it in context in the wider Chrestomanci universe.

More specifically, this is the story of the way the vague, suave, dressing-begow
Jul 22, 2008 Scurra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
One of those strange examples of a story set before another but which loses something if you read/see it first (others being things like The Magician's Nephew and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.)

So this story is set a generation before Charmed Life and it follows much the same model: it's about how the greatest magician of the world discovers his destiny, resents it but eventually comes to terms with it.

One of the things I like about DWJ is her careful attention to detail in the plotting, somethi
Dec 02, 2015 Tangerine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
[questo commento vale, in parte, anche per gli altri volumi della serie]

"Se vi dicessero che il vostro mondo non è l'unico esistente.
Se vi dicessero che ci sono centinaia di mondi paralleli, originati in seguito a inevitabili spaccature nella Storia.
Se vi dicessero che in alcuni di questi mondi la magia è comune quanto la luce del sole, ma che è pericolosissima se riposta nelle persone sbagliate.
Se vi dicessero che può esistere un solo mago che ha nove vite ed è destinato a diventare l'incantat
Cameron Toney
Dec 19, 2016 Cameron Toney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I can see that its important not to get too comfortable in this series. I thought I knew the scope, but this book, a prequel of sorts to Charmed Life, shows that there is a lot below the surface. And long may it be!
While Charmed Life was completely charming, Lives is a stronger story. Young Christopher Chant is a well written boy, with all of the stubbornness, charm cleverness and gullibility of a real small child. Thats essential, as we need to follow him along on this fantastical adventure.
Oct 06, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dwj, chrestomanci
This Diana Wynne Jones book has an intriguing title: we are used to The Lives of the Caesars (where more than one person is involved) or, on the other extreme, The Life of Brian (which is about just one person). The Lives of Christopher Chant reflects the notion that one person can have, like a cat, more than one life. This notion is an old one, from the transmigration of the soul to the Russian folk-villain Koshchei, whose external soul is hidden away in one object enclosed within another, and ...more
Angelic Zaizai
ini bukan sambungan dari buku 1, tokoh utamanya beda lagi..
Di buku ini kisah hidupnya Chrestomanci yang di buku 1, waktu masih anak-anak.. namanya Christopher Chant
Seperti anak2 keluarga kaya [ibunya yang kaya:], Chris ini jarang2 ketemu ortunya, diasuh sama Nanny, trus dipanggilin guru pribadi yang terus menerus ganti, pada ga betah karena ortunya si Chris berantem mulu..

Istimewanya Chris bisa jalan2 ke dunia dunia lain, dalam bentuk tubuh solid, ga cuma roh, dan kemampuannya ini dimanfaatkan p
Scott Forbes
Jan 27, 2012 Scott Forbes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy reading Diana Wynne Jones. She has a whimsical and magical quality to her writing that I don’t remember seeing anywhere else. Her characters are all very well realized and entertaining (even when they are frustrating). I’ve read the Chrestomanci series completely out of order, but that hasn’t interfered with my enjoyment of the books.

In terms of characterization, I felt like I better understood each of the characters in this book within the first few pages than I did the character
Julie Davis
Dec 29, 2010 Julie Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For as long as he can remember Christopher could walk in his dreams through the Place Between to different valleys for visits to the different towns and people there. Sometimes, if he worked hard at it, he could even bring back some of the gifts they gave him. This led to his uncle noticing his abilities and setting a series of experiments for Christopher to do while in these worlds. As time goes by, we watch Christopher grow, go to school, and eventually discover what his true talent is and wha ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Christen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
In the rising tide of angst and series endings in juvenile fiction, it’s a breath of relief to pick up a Diana Wynne Jones novel again. Her contribution to the fantasy genre is vast, including Howl’s Moving Castle and most recently, Enchanted Glass. This novel in the Chrestomanci series takes up the life of a young enchanter, Christopher Chant. Actually, he has nine lives and this fact lands him in a pinch. Nine-lived enchanters are quite rare and powerful, as well as useful to nefarious men lik ...more
Jun 13, 2013 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A boy with nine lives walks through worlds, gets up to mischief and no good. Loses lives, makes friends and grows up a little. In doing so he becomes the Chrestomanci, guardian-enchanter-magician of the multiverse. Loved it.

A modern day fairy tale in an idyllic magical England. A twist on some common and not-so-common fantasy tropes framing a light-hearted coming of age story with a hint of prepubescent romance.

There are some things that you’re exposed to as a child that you end up carrying arou
Nov 26, 2008 B added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
This ties with Witch Week as my favorite Chrestomanci book. It is also one of Diana Wynne Jones' most completely solid books: it satisfies on every level, whether you want a fun enjoyable read, an intriguing fantasy, a wonderfully created world, really fun characters, a book you can think about and analyze long after you read it... This one has it all. Like most Diana Wynne Jones books, the main reason it's not my favorite book by her is that she's written so many books that so solidly appeal to ...more
Jul 07, 2014 ribbonknight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this WAY MORE than Charmed Life. Christopher is a much more interesting protagonist, and the I found the plot & world-building in this book to be much more fascinating, and I usually don't care about world-building so that's saying a lot.

The insights into everyone who becomes a character in Charmed Life are fascinating, and now I just want to reread certain parts of Charmed Life to see those characters later on. I really love Christopher, & plan to reread this book in the future.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Flora's Dare (Flora Trilogy, #2)
  • Which Witch?
  • The Hounds of the Mórrígan
  • The Cuckoo Tree (The Wolves Chronicles, #6)
  • Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • Book of Enchantments
  • Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, #5)
  • Deep Wizardry (Young Wizards, #2)
  • Juniper (Doran, #2)
  • The River at Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #3)
  • Knight's Castle (Tales of Magic, #2)
  • Shatterglass (The Circle Opens, #4)
Diana Wynne Jones was the author of more than thirty critically acclaimed fantasy stories, including the Chrestomanci series and the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm.

For Diana Wynne Jones's official autobiography, please see
More about Diana Wynne Jones...

Other Books in the Series

Chrestomanci (6 books)
  • Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1)
  • Witch Week (Chrestomanci, #3)
  • The Magicians of Caprona (Chrestomanci, #4)
  • Conrad's Fate (Chrestomanci, #5)
  • The Pinhoe Egg  (Chrestomanci, #6)

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“Christopher discovered that you dealt with obnoxious masters and most older boys the way you dealt with governesses: you quite politely told them the truth in the way they wanted to hear it, so that they thought they had won and left you in peace.” 64 likes
“He scarcely saw his parents. When Christopher was small, he was terrified that he would meet Papa out walking in the Park one day and not recognize him.” 23 likes
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