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Archer's Goon

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  2,764 ratings  ·  156 reviews

The trouble started when Howard Sykes came home from school and found the "goon" sitting in the kitchen. He said he'd been sent by Archer. But who was Archer? It had to do with the 2,000 words that Howard's author father had failed to deliver.

It soon became clear not only that Archer wanted those words, but that his wizard siblings, Hathaway, Dillian, Shine, Torquil, Erski

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published August 1984 by Methuen Young Books (first published 1984)
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Writing can take over the world.

When even random daydreams are important signifiers you know you are in the grip of a superbly plotted extravaganzer. There is so much to admire here, and a huge cast of characters, each of whom is important, is distinctive and memorable, despite only appearing briefly in person. The story rolls along at speed without ever feeling forced.

As usual with DWJ lots of acutely observed moments, the epic hypocrisy of taking the taxpayers moral high ground when you aren't
Melissa Proffitt
I don't have a favorite Diana Wynne Jones book; I have a cluster of five favorites and six more second-tier favorites. Of those top five, three were published consecutively, and Archer's Goon is the first of those. DWJ's sixteenth published book, Archer's Goon represents, with Howl's Moving Castle, the peak of the humorous writing that characterizes much of her 1980s period. The core is a strong, beautifully plotted story, but it's overlaid with so many funny bits that it isn't until you get to ...more
Archer's Goon is a mysterious large man who shows up one day in Howard Sykes's kitchen, refusing to leave until Howard's father Quentin delivers the two thousand words he owes. When Quentin won't deliver, the Sykes family finds out that their town is run by seven competing siblings who are wizards - and one of them needs those words.

Jones's plots are always mysterious, and I think Archer's Goon is up there with her most bizarre. But she does a wonderful job keeping the mystery intriguing right
Glen Engel-Cox
I had been wanting to read Archer's Goon for quite some time, following my discovery of Jones' Chrestomanci series and generally feeling that she was my type of writer, something that hadn't been dispelled by the enjoyment of a couple of her other novels like Eight Days of Luke and Howl's Moving Castle (which, I believe, is soon to be a motion picture). But Archer's Goon had been originally published in 1984 and no one had seen fit to bring it back into print. I searched in vain at used book sto ...more
Julie Davis
One day Howard and his sister Awful (you soon discover just how "awful" Anthea is and the reason for her nickname becomes evident)come home from school to find a huge goon in their kitchen. He says he was sent by Archer because Howard's dad hasn't turned in his quarterly payment of 2000 words. Just who Archer is and how 2000 words can be payment for anything turn are the beginning of a quest that take Howard and Awful on an adventure that truly is indescribable. It is a mystery that constantly s ...more
This was the first of Dianna Wynne Jones' books that I ever read, and I went on from there to read and reread them all, or at least all of the ones on the library shelf.

Archer's Goon is without a doubt one of the most genuinely oddball books you will ever read. Wickedly witty, is how one "real" reviewer described it. And I'll stick with that, since an actual description of the plot couldn't give you ANY idea of how good it is. It's funny, it's suspenseful, it's full of characters likeable and ha
Bernice Wong
The first book in which I was introduced to Diana Wynne Jones' seemingly haphazard, confusing, crazy but riveting storylines. It's like an amusement park ride! I actually had to re-read the story around three time to fully understand it, and it was an enjoyment every time!
I got this book from the library. The best part was that on the last page, someone had written neatly in pencil: "this book comes with free spider." A spider was evenly pressed between the pages. Seriously, this was the best part of the whole book.
Zach Sparks
I must have read this one for the first time back when I was in high school. I seem to remember reading it around the time just before or after Hexwood. I do believe that I liked it much better this time around, probably because I'm older and can appreciate the way that Jones writes such perfectly true to life disfunctional families in the midst of such wonderful fantasy. Some of my favorite moments in this book have to be when one of the characters is having a realization about their place in t ...more
Definitely in my top 5 from DWJ. Not a number one, but not far from that.

Slow to pick up at first, but becomes steadily more and more fascinating as the story proceeds.

The numerous big plot twists are mind-blowing even for Diana's writing, yet still, it all makes sense and comes down very logically. This book is a prime example of how Diana had a tendency of dropping hints for observant readers to pick up. You can tell what's going to happen next if you just know where to look, yet it's never b
Took me a while to warm up to Archer's Goon, but in the end I enjoyed and admired it. Howard, his parents and his little sister, Awful (best name ever) live in some sort of magical city ruled by 7 wizards, all siblings, who farm over certain domains. Think greek gods, only quirkier.

One day, a goon arrives at their kitchen table and demands 2000 words. Howard's dad, for some reason unknown, writes 2000 words of anything, so long as they are original, sends them to a wizard and gets out of paying
Nov 07, 2011 Minna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of DWJ
Recommended to Minna by: A friend
I always enjoy Diana Wynne Jones's books and got to borrow this one from a friend. She wanted me to read it so she could have someone to talk to about it. No one else she knew had read it. It took me almost a year to pick it up.

This seems to be one of her first books, and it really shows how much she has developed as a writer. The book, while not bad, sometimes loses it's drive and I can't really put my finger on why. Sometimes I just don't want to get things resolved or see how they could be.
YA Fantasy. Howard Sykes comes home from school and finds his kitchen full of Goon, an enormous man with a tiny head. The Goon says that Howard's dad owes Archer his quarterly payment of 2000 words and the Goon's there to collect.

Consider this a more cheerful version of Jones' Eight Days of Luke with a hint of Gaiman's Endless thrown into the mix. Seven powerful wizards control Howard's town, and he and his family visit each of them, trying to free themselves from their meddling, eavesdropping w
Aug 13, 2007 Jam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who sometimes have to deal with their family.
One of my all-time favourite Diana Wynne Jones books. She's at her best dealing with families, and this deals with two. There's the core family, the Sykes-- Quentin (author and professor), Catriona (music teacher), Howard and Awful (Anthea is her real name, but she's *earnt* the name Awful). They live in more or less domestic harmony, of the sort that involves balancing out each minor crisis with tea, affection and the distraction of another crisis.

Then there's the other family, seven siblings
Another re-read of one of my favourite DWJ books. As usual, I find it hard to explain why I love her books. The plot, the pacing, the lovely details (Hathaway unobtrusively switching the biscuits and wine to make them more palatable; Torquil calling Howard "limpet boy"; Awful primly refusing all of Dillian's food; Quentin telling the kids that his writing keeps them in bread and peanut butter; Howard running away with his boot going splart-splart-splart and begging Hathaway to send a bus - somet ...more
There's no contest for me - this is, hands down, my favourite DWJ. It's not as intricate as Hexwood, nor perhaps as subtle as Fire and Hemlock, but for mastery of form and style, this is nigh-on perfect.

A wonderful study of family dynamics, the way the two families reflect each other in unexpected ways never gets dull, and the farcical elements are perfectly played. Even as you realise what is really going on, she manages to pull surprise after surprise from the narrative - and for once the fin
Another reviewer mentions dysfunctional families and I'm glad I saw that statement because I was initially annoyed by this book. Not enough to keep me from finishing it, but annoyed in a way that I couldn't put my finger on as the book took me on a tour of the members of a wizarding family that I just didn't like with each member I met. I kept asking, "why do we need to meet them all?" But it made sense in the end and the reviewer changed my opinion from "this book is about a bunch of irritating ...more

Archer s Goon really surprised me.

Obviously, being a Diana Wynne Jones book, it was going to be good quality but still I was dubious.
I have been putting off reading this book for about a year now, as I didn't think much of the blurb on the back. So my expectations weren’t high.
But, due to my goal of reading all of the published works of one of my favourite authors, I picked this book up at the library.

And... I was blown away. Diana Wynne Jones can make the most bizarre plot seem real.
At first I though that I would hate it but it had been lent to my by a family friend who I didn't want to disappoint. I took it on holiday with me to France and started reading it. I was enthralled and enchanted by it. It was pure brilliance. This was three or four years ago. I wanted to buy it for myself but I forgot the title and was beginning to think I'd dreamed that this book even existed. Then inspiration struck in the form of my mother when she was trying to persuade my father that we sho ...more
Ever wondered what Nine Princes in Amber would be like, had it been written by the ever-brilliant Diana Wynne Jones? NOW WE KNOW.
I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into when I started this book. I am always amazed at how different each of Diana Wynne Jones's books turn out to be, and this one is no exception. It did not feel as dark as many of her others have been(view spoiler). This book was full of laughs and the ending, though not ultimately surprising, was satisfying. (view spoiler) ...more
An old YA favorite. I re-read this as something of a light palate cleanser after my previous book took me months to get through. It was out of print until recently, and I picked it up for the find memories when it became available again.

Diana Wynne Jones was one of my favorite authors growing up. Charming, richly imaginative book that defies description. It's modern-day, but centers on the machinations of a family of seven siblings who run the town in which it's set in secret, each responsible f
Howard comes home one evening to find the Goon sitting in the kitchen, demanding the two thousand that are owed by Howard's dad. Over the next few weeks, Howard and his whole family start getting involved in what seems to be a giant conspiracy by a family of very powerful people. It's up to Howard, doubtfully aided by his sister, Awful, and the Goon, to figure out what's going on and sort it out.

I enjoyed this YA fantasy novel, with the seven siblings who 'farm' the town that Howard and his fami
Lindsay Stares
Premise: Howard's family's life is normal. His dad's a writer, his mom teaches music, he and his sister are in school. One day he comes home to find a Goon in the kitchen, and Howard has to figure out what his dad's arrangement with the town council has to do with all the odd goings-on...

This is actually the first book by Diana Wynne Jones I have read, and it was an absolute delight! This has a tone and style reminiscent of my very favorite children's books.

The characters are balanced nicely be
This was the first Diana Wynne Jones' book I had read many years ago. It caused me to devour most of her other work and I'm happy to report my boys loved it too. It may not be her best book, but has some of her best characters in my mind. And it's characters that Jones excels at. She creates such lively, humorous characters, sets them up in a minor mystery with a whimsical setting, and what follows is usually quite entertaining. In this case a 13 year old boy, Howard, with his short tempered, ap ...more
Seven siblings, megalomaniac wizards, have control of the town- each in charge of different divisions. But the problem is that they never get a long. They quarrel, spy, and conspire against each other. One of them has somehow been able to keep all seven of them trapped in that town, unable to leave- which puts a wrench in more than one plot to rule the world. And it appears that part of the plot has something to do with Howard's family (Howard is our main protagonist), particularly his father's ...more
Diana Wynne Jones does it every time. Sometimes I pick up one of her books and the first chapter has me completely underwhelmed or even bored. Two chapters later, I'm hooked, and then I end up staying up reading way too late and messing my sleeping schedule because I lose all sense of time. Her plots are interesting, a little crazy, and always masterfully woven. In the beginning, not much makes a lot of sense, and thing seem mundane. Deeper into the story, things make even less sense, and become ...more
I've been gradually collecting as many of Diana Wynne Jones' books as I can track down without going broke, so I was excited to receive this as a swap (from Australia, no less). The story starts off quite simply; brother and sister arrive home from school to find a thug waiting for their dad in the kitchen. The goon says their father owes his boss, Archer, 2000 words, and he won't leave without them. There is, of course, the resulting mayhem in getting rid of the goon, and a mystery as to what t ...more
Laura Head
A sci-fi approach to a children's adventure novel, not my favourite novel by this author, however I still enjoyed it. For me the novel held a message not to judge people straight away and people may not seem as they appear. The characters were all entertaining, however a young child may find the character changing difficult to understand. I felt that the end of the novel was quite muddy in places, often speeding up to finish. I really enjoyed Hathaway's part in the novel as going back in time wa ...more
I like Diana Wynne Jones' writing and this novel is no exception. One day, Howard and his sister Awful, arrive home to find that they have an unexpected and unwelcome visitor, who calls himself Archer's Goon. Archer is one of seven wizards controlling the town where Howard and his family live. It appears that Quentin, Howard's father, has an arrangement to write 2,000 words each month for Archer but somehow, this month's quota has gone missing, so Archer has sent his enforcer, the Goon, to sort ...more
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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...
Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1) Castle in the Air (Howl's Moving Castle, #2) Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1) The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #2) House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3)

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“This book will prove the following ten facts:
1. A Goon is a being who melts into the foreground and sticks there.
2. Pigs have wings, making them hard to catch.
3. All power corrupts, but we need electricity.
4. When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, the result is a family fight.
5. Music does not always sooth the troubled beast.
6. An Englishman's home is his castle.
7. The female of the species is more deadly than the male.
8. One black eye deserves another.
9. Space is the final frontier, and so is the sewage farm.
10. It pays to increase your word power.”
“Learn to drive?"
"Never," said Quentin. "My mission in life is to be a passenger.”
More quotes…