Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1)
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Charmed Life (Chrestomanci #1)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  14,489 ratings  ·  511 reviews
Cat doesn't mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack.
Paperback, 252 pages
Published 2000 by HarperCollins Children's Books (first published 1977)
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Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne JonesCharmed Life by Diana Wynne JonesThe Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne JonesCastle in the Air by Diana Wynne JonesHouse of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones
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2nd out of 37 books — 298 voters
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Community Reviews

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Joel
Sibling rivalry can feel like life or death when you are a kid. I mean, probably. I have an older brother* but I think the roughest thing that ever went down between us was maybe at ages 4 and 6 when he kept all the toys at one end of the bathtub. We've never had a physical fight. I don't see one in the offing, since we're both pushing/well past 30, agree on everything (well, not politics, but the important stuff like the Star Wars prequels suck and Mario games are the best, plus he lets me borr...more
mark monday
this is a winning intro to what looks to be an enjoyable children's fantasy series. the young Chant siblings exist in a world with magic, one of many such worlds - or, rather, dimensions. after a tragic accident that leaves them orphans, older sister and talented witch Gwendolen takes to learning magic the old-fashioned way, through some sort of hedge wizard, while so-passive-it-hurts younger brother Cat blithely assumes he is magic-free. soon they are taken to the castle of Chrestomanci, an enc...more
Alison
Eric and Gwendolen Chant have been left orphans by a steamboat accident. Cat, as Eric is known, seems an ordinary, very nice little boy, but his sister Gwendolen is a powerful young witch.

Cat and Gwendolen are taken to live at Chrestomanci Castle with Chrestomanci, a man who controls all magic use, and his family. There, Gwendolen's arrogance and selfish nature becomes evident, and makes life extremely uncomfortable for Cat, until one morning he awakes to find that she has disappeared, and in he...more
Ascexis
This is the first of the Diana Wynne Jones books that I ever read, probably shortly after it was published in the late seventies. It's one of the few books that I still go back to, and find things to admire and enjoy to this day. It's not the book that's been longest in my collection, but it's the book that I've loved consistently over the last thirty r so years.

The book is from the pov of Cat, a small boy who has literally no idea of what is going on around him. The clues are all there, but he'...more
Brick Orrock
Well, I read book one of the Chrestomanci Chronicles: Charmed Life, written by Diana Wynne Jones. I was excited for this book as I’m excited to read the other books that she has on this list (Howl’s Moving Castle), and after reading this one I can say that I still am.
This book is written well and I found myself getting lost in the writing and the story. With that being said I didn’t really like it. I didn’t like the characters. They are whiny and cruel, mostly all of them. Except, the main char...more
Myles
DWJ Book Toast, #1

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....more
Kim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina
Diana Wynne Jones is definitely one of my favorite authors now. This captures the same magical feeling I had while reading Harry Potter. DWJ had such fantastic imagination - I never know quite where the plot will head or how her quirky characters will fare.

YAY for there being many more books in this series!!! (Though the Howl's Moving Castle series will always be my favorite of hers, I think).
Joan
Jun 15, 2012 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
This was lots of fun. I've read others in the Chrstomanci series but never in order and I know I've missed several, including this one. You could see how it was going to turn out if you've read others in the series but it was still loads of fun getting there. Cat is a fantastic character, and the secondary characters were all well developed too. Fiddle was a particularly original character. Janet was a most likable person as well, especially considering she was a sort of relation of the one trul...more
e.c.h.a
"Buku yang mengilhami JK Rowling untuk menulis Harry Potter"

Tagline ini selalu digunakan saat merajuk ke seri ini. Dan ternyata memang bukan sembarang tagline, JK benar-benar terinspirasi dari buku karangan Ibu Diana. Banyak kemiripan yang ditemukan si Chrestomanci Series ini dengan Harry Potter Series. Bikin gw kalo pas nemu item-item yang mirip harpot series langsung berteriak "ah..ini khanmirip dengan yang ini, paham sekarang saya"

Kisah di buku pertama ini dimulai dengan dimana Gwendolen &...more
An Odd1
Orphaned by steamer disaster, Eric Chant clings onto elder sister Gwendolen 12ish, a lovely popular blonde witch who intends to rule the world. Chrestomanci, "tall and extraordinarily well-dressed .. Dark Stranger" p28 answers her letter asking for help, and invites them to live in the Castle.

"Cat, thoroughly exasperated 'You're far too important to stay here.'
'What makes you think I'm important?' asked Chrestomanci, still bewildered.
Cat was beginning to want to shake him. 'You must be. You'r...more
El Templo de las Mil Puertas
"Bienvenidos a los mundos de Chrestomanci... donde la magia da muchos problemas. Así es como presentaba la editorial SM en 2002 una nueva serie de libros, en un formato de tapa semi rígida, como su nueva y flamante colección, El Navegante. Pero, al igual que ésta, Los mundos de Chrestomanci acabó por descatalogarse, quizá debido a una mala promoción, o tal vez a sus cubiertas, poco atractivas si las comparamos con casi cualquiera de sus muchas ediciones anglosajonas. Por algún misterio de la pro...more
Melissa Proffitt
Jones's ninth novel is probably one of her best known, and is the first of several books set in the world of the nine-lived enchanter Chrestomanci. Eric (Cat) Chant's sister Gwendolen is a witch, and a promising one, while Cat is just ordinary. Gwendolen's abilities bring her to the attention of Chrestomanci, and the two go to live at Chrestomanci Castle so that Gwendolen can study magic. Cat loves his sister despite her nasty personality and occasional cruelty toward him, but even he has troubl...more
Anastasia
Stories of learning magic have become commonplace these days: I've even heard Diana Wynne Jones dismissed unfairly as a ripoff of JK Rowling when Diana Wynne Jones came first. There's nothing commonplace about Charmed Life: this is a fantastic story about a boy, Cat, who lives with a very ambitious witch sister after their parents drown. He goes to live with an impressively powerful man, Chrestomanci, and becomes involved in a strange political war between those who want to use magic without reg...more
Sheila Beaumont
I love this book! I've already reread it several times, and it seems to get better every time I revisit it. The same goes for the rest of the Chrestomanci series, and indeed for all the books by the late, great Diana Wynne Jones I've read. This book, published in 1977, was the beginning of the craze for kids' books about witches and wizards and schools of magic, and the Chrestomanci series obviously was a major influence on J.K. Rowling, who DWJ said had likely read them when she was young and,...more
Mateus Rocha
What to say about this book. Definitely, I don't know if I'm going to read the book #2. I had more spectations about it.

The only thing I really liked in it was the little toy soldiers, moving and battling each other through witchcraft. It was funny to imagine they fighting and making strategies, just like Toy Story...

About the bad things in the book, I can list a few:

The spells. So childlish. I mean, transformations (of people into frogs, worms), changes of substances (coffe into mud)... In my o...more
Roxanne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike
Jan 16, 2014 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle, ya
Diana Wynne Jones has a wonderfully whimsical ability to worldbuild (of which J.K. Rowling should be jealous). Books with magic in are slowly tending to become more technological (as our technology becomes more magical, perhaps, or maybe it's just because of games in which magic has to be "balanced"); there are clear rules for what can and can't be done. This author was writing before that trend, or ignored it, and her magic is like the magic of folktales. It works because it ought to work, beca...more
Sandra
This is the first book in the Chrestomanci series, though not the first book in the series I have read. Luckily for me, they are mostly stand-alone books so that didn't really matter. Except I sort of understood the concept of the Chrestomanci, which made this book.. a little predictable. I'm sure that when the whole concept is new, everything is just genius, because the idea behind Chrestomanci (which I obviously won't be spoiling!) is intriguing and awesome. But being already familiar with the...more
H
This is by the same author as Howl's Moving Castle but takes place in another world. Can I just say I loved it? Cat was such a sad, pitiful little character that I couldn't help loving him and feeling for him, especially with how mean his sister was. And he was so funny when he got surly. Loved it. And Gwendolyn was such a good villain! I hated her! I really liked how magic worked in this world, I loved the story and the characters, I loved pretty much everything. I only wish Cat had stood up to...more
Constance
I read Charmed Life when I was nine or ten, and then I read it again. And again. And again. I was a quick reader and as soon as I'd finished the book, I flipped it over and started from beginning, trying to keep on catching the magic. At some point I stopped reading it obsessively, but have reread it several times as a teenager and then as an adult, and it keeps on being captivating.

If I'd been younger when the Harry Potter craze came along, I might have been swept up with that. In a way I'm al...more
Evelyn
Every so often, I find myself coming back to the Chrestomanci series. Why? Because these fantasy books are unparalleled in Children's literature. They're quite simply magical. If you haven't already started reading them, have a look at the intended reading order on Wikipedia first - it isn't necessarily the order in which they were published. And then - enjoy. You'll never forget these books.
Ordinary Dahlia
G selalu menyukai buku-buku seperti ini ringan dan menghibur.

Buku ini mengingatkan g ma Naruto dengan nine tailnya, sedangkan chrestomanci dengan nine livesnya. hehehe...I know I know...rada maksa, tapinya gpp namanya juga penikmat buku, bisa membayangkan apapun yang diinginkan ya kaaan...

Thx to uyut yang sudah melempar buku ini ke pancoran
Lup yu pul dah yut!!
Adam
At face value, there isn't much to distinguish Charmed Life from any of its ilk – young adult fiction about kids living in a world full of magic. There's a destiny and a rather dastardly plot with villains and heroes and a kid muddling through it, creating all sorts of problems through plot-mandated poor decision-making. But Wynn Jones grasps more than most authors that the plot is just there to put characters in interesting situations that affect their relationships with others. It's all about...more
E
This is the book that turned me onto Diana Wynne Jones, and for good reason. Great and funny characters, interesting scenarios, and a grasp on a world that is so richly wrought you can hardly believe it came from the mind of one person.
June
Jul 13, 2012 June rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy, and Jones fans
Recommended to June by: Peggy
A fun read, how can Cat & Janet dig themselves any deeper into trouble while trying so desperately to get themselves out? Appealing characters except for Gwendolyn and her evil cronies.

This was a re-read from pre Goodreads times. I am a big Jones fan & went through all I could find in the late 80's, early 90's.
Emiley
While Charmed Life has plenty of signature Jones moments of cheerfully humorous inventiveness, it is also a cautionary tale of how power can corrupt. The ability of the older sister to manipulate her brother was rather disturbing. However, in the end everyone receives their just deserts in a satisfactory fashion.
Jackie "the Librarian"
Sep 21, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 10 and up
Shelves: youngadult, fantasy, humor
Cat and his sister move to the Chrestomanci Castle so she can get training for her magical abilities. But Cat's sister is so used to doing things how she likes that soon there is a magical battle taking place.
But whose magic is it, really?
Another fun entry in the Chrestomanci books by Jones.
Anna
Charmed Life is the opening novel in the Chrestomanci Chronicles by Diana Wynne Jones. In the world (one of the series of worlds which is right next to our's) of Eric "Cat" Chant and his sister, Gwendolen, magic is as common as music. Gwen is a powerful witch who knows that one day she will rule the world and sets out to do so, towing her brother along in her dastardly deeds.

The book is simply fantastic. I loved the setting and plot. The characters were especially amusing. I really enjoy Diana W...more
Angela Brown
So beautifully written, after one book, Chrestomanci feels iconic, a magical character with a personality and style are so enchanting, that you adopt him into your own imagination forever. Thoroughly hooked and can't wait to read more of the series.
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Chrestomanci! 14 96 Jan 11, 2013 12:41PM  
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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 http://www.leemac.freeserve.co.uk/aut...
More about Diana Wynne Jones...
Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1) Castle in the Air (Howl's Moving Castle, #2) The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #4) House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3) The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1 (Chrestomanci #1, #4)

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“Then watch out. I warn you!"

"That is very considerate of you," said Chrestomanci. "I like to be warned.”
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“Chrestomanci smiled and swept out of the room like a very long procession of one person.” 17 likes
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