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The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci #2)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  15,356 ratings  ·  312 reviews
His father and uncles are enchanters, his mother a powerful sorceress, yet nothing seems magical about Christopher Chant except his dreams. Night after night, he climbs through the formless Place Between and visits marvelous lands he calls the Almost Anywheres. Then Christopher discovers that he can bring real, solid things back from his dreams. Others begin to recognize t ...more
Published (first published 1988)
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mark monday
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
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.

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
Mindy Conde
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
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
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'
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
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.
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.
I really love DWJ's Chrestomanci series, and I just wish she'd written so many more. I read them all out of order, in terms of the chronology within the books, but I suspect they were written all out of order, too.

This book focuses on Christopher, whom we know later as the flamboyant and forbidding Chrestomanci. I think it shows well some of the influences that go to making Christopher the person that he is, and manages to be a thoroughly satisfying novel on top of that.

It's also quite grim in
An Odd1
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
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
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
Julie Davis
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
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
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
Libby Addison
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
Scott Forbes
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
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
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
Luciana Darce
Eu acredito que li quando era mais nova um ou outro volume da série Crestomanci, mas confesso que não lembro de nada. Sei que o conheci à mesma época em que estava folheando meus primeiros Pratchett na Nobel, e que um pouco depois disso descobri o brilhante O Castelo Animado, que é da mesma autora.

Aliás, curiosidade: a Jones foi aluna de Tolkien e Lewis em Oxford e professora da Rowling. Mundinho pequeno, não?

Minha edição é uma que vem com os quatro volumes juntos, mas aqui no Brasil elas foram
The second in the Chrestomanci series this is actually a prequel to Charmed Life. And I enjoyed it a bit more too. The main character, Christopher, is much more likeable than his cousin, Cat. Again the book is rather short but long enough for what it was.

After this book I don't think I'll continue with this series as I can't really see it progressing anywhere interesting.
I really loved this book. It was wonderfully written, beautifully executed, and thoroughly enjoyable. It was really fun, the children were believable, and I adore the cat. I love the sense of morality and and draw to kindness present throughout the novel, as well as the desire to preserve the lives of those who only have one. I would highly recommend this book. To anyone, really.
At first, I was a little scared to read The Lives of Christopher Chant, especially in the night. But then, it just took a hold of me. The book turned really fun when he could do magic. The book makes me feel I could slide between walls and make things appear. The theme is about Christopher Chant who is quite lonely, his father is an enchanter and his mother is a sorceress. He has nine lives and can climb into another world in his dreams. The theme or message is almost telling is there is no pure ...more
Julie Decker
Christopher Chant is assumed to lack magic, but soon it's discovered that he has multiple lives--a sure sign of a great magician! Once the characters figure out what's been holding him back, he begins to have many adventures with his lives, including meeting a girl in another world who is supposed to be a sacrifice.

The storytelling is a little more distant than I usually like, but despite the padding between the reader and the characters, there is quite a lot to love and get invested in here. Th
Brenda Clough
Although this is billed as #2 it really is the first in the series, since it is the childhood of Christopher Chant. Utterly delightful; Jones was doing Harry Potter way before Harry was ever thought of.
Doa' Mohaisen
A very simple question is wandering in my mind! Why good stories end too fast?
Diana, you are awing me now more than before. I hate our dreary world! I think it's a bit dull and I'm really absurd. You can't compare dreams with reality at all!

In this novel, Diana Jones takes you again in a magnificent story about Chrestomanci. It's considered to be a prequel to "Charmed Life". I think this novel doesn't only fascinate its reader, but also teaches him moral lessons. Don't trust all people, widen yo
The best thing about Diana Wynne Jones is I can open any of her books and be thoroughly charmed by her whimsy and humor. Another gem. (But has she ever written a dud?)
This is the first Chrestomanci book I ever read, and the story which led to my giant love for Diana Wynne Jones. I have reread this book so many times since I was little. Whatever age you might be, please do not overlook this book. Christopher is a great character. Not yet Chrestomanci, not yet so invested in his appearance, but still obviously the foundations of the illustrious character. This is the book which I feel does the multi world setting most justice. DWJ makes it so easy to understand ...more
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  • The Cuckoo Tree (The Wolves Chronicles, #6)
  • Deep Wizardry (Young Wizards, #2)
  • The Hounds of the Mórrígan
  • The Changeover
  • Flora's Dare (Flora Trilogy, #2)
  • Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Cecelia and Kate, #1)
  • The Story of the Amulet (Five Children, #3)
  • Below the Root (Green Sky, #1)
  • Which Witch?
  • Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, #5)
  • The Time Garden (Tales of Magic, #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)
Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1) Castle in the Air (Howl's Moving Castle, #2) Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1) House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3) The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1 (Chrestomanci, #1-2)

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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.” 61 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.” 21 likes
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