A Sudden Wild Magic
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A Sudden Wild Magic

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,033 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Our world has long been protected by "The Ring" - a benevolent secret society of witches and conjurers dedicated to the continuance and well-being of humankind. Now, in the face of impending climatic disaster, the Ring has uncovered a conspiracy potentially more destructive than any it has ever had to contend with. For eons, the mages of a neighboring universe have been lo...more
Hardcover, 412 pages
Published October 1st 1992 by William Morrow & Company (first published 1992)
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Margaret
A Sudden Wild Magic was, I believe, Diana Wynne Jones's first formal foray into adult fantasy (though of course many of her young adult and children's fantasy appeals to adults as well). This is my third or fourth reread of it, and although I enjoy it, I still don't think it works as well as most of her other books.

The story takes place in two universes: our own, and the universes of the Pentarchy, whose mages are creating environmental havoc on Earth in order to learn from Earth's mages' respon...more
Ashley
I know a lot of Diana Wynne Jones fans don't particularly like this book but I really loved it. I loved the oddball cast of characters that are all thrown together, I loved the strange plot and different magical races and people, and I enjoyed seeing Diana Wynne Jones write adult voices. For me everything clicked and although I wasn't very taken with the main romance and protagonist because I enjoyed all the other characters so much it didn't really matter to me. I'm already looking forward to r...more
Maggie
The book started with a very intriguing plot in which an organization of magic users realized that another planet/universe instigated certain events like world war II and global warming to watch how Earth's advancements and inventions will deal with these problems. However, after about halfway, the book got very tedious to read and I was tempted to just put it down: There was a lot of perspective switching and many subplots revolving around character interactions that were only superficially tou...more
Katharine
Much as I adore Diana Wynne Jones's writing, every now and then I find one of hers that just makes me go "meh". A Sudden Wild Magic is one of them. It has many of the same themes as my all time favorites of hers including Fire and Hemlock and Hexwood: strong women, men who need to be saved from evil, and great minor characters. But unlike the characters in F&H and Hexwood, I found this hero and heroine not very engaging. It's not that they were unlikeable (well, one of them was borderline) s...more
Monique
Full of DWJs usual excellent creativity and characterizations, but the heroines of the story win by sleeping with the enemy. Not by being strong or clever or lucky or determined or kind. But through sex. Go prostitution! Ugh. Not an inspirational look into the mind of the author. If this had been my first read of her books, I'd never have read another. It does make me want to go back and examine the heroines in her other stories. Are they all rescued? Howl's Moving Castle? Yes, she's rescued. Ac...more
Ann
Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite children's fantasy writers. This is one of her few books aimed at an adult audience and is just plain fun. It's not perfect, but if you want a fast-paced fantasy about witches, warlocks, alternate worlds, and environmental issues "with a little sex in it" (as the producers in Sullivan's Travels said) this is your book!
Telyn
A misfire by the usually charming Diana Wynne Jones. I found the plot bewildering—it involves a diabolical plan by magic users in another dimension to use global warming to disrupt Earth, also witches, numerous cats and an alien monkey—and the characters, for the most part, unappealing.
Gayle
Diana Wynne Jones is a prolific writer of children's fantasy, most notably Howl's Moving Castle. She has also written a few books targeting the adult reader, and A Sudden Wild Magic is one of this select group.

In this book, the most powerful magid in England, Mark Lister, detects an alien influence on Earth events, and is forced to work within a very tight circle to deal with it. Maureen the dancer, beautiful Amanda, and eccentric Gladys are the wielders of magic that he turns to, but it is Aman...more
Jillian
In ASWM, Earth is quietly managed and kept safe by the Ring–a secret collection of mages and witches–but everyone in England, possibly the entire universe, is at risk. A young mage makes a discovery: Earth’s alternate universe has not only been spying on but subtly sabotaging this one. The only course of action seems to be a preemptive attack, and a small task force is shipped off in a game of kill-or-be-killed. As they learn more about this foreign landscape, though, the members of the task for...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally posted on my blog here in September 2000.

A Sudden Wild Magic hovers uneasily between the child and adult book markets; it is basically a child oriented plot to which sex scenes have been added.

The fundamental idea is that it is a magical cabal who have protected Great Britain throughout history - a convenient hurricane destroying the Armada here, Hitler deciding to invade Russia rather than Kent there - but with a twist: most of the world's crises have been magical in origin, set in m...more
Kate  K. F.
A Sudden Wild Magic is a book that tries to tackle a lot of rather large issues and doesn't succeed at dealing with all of them. This also makes it rather difficult to know who to recommend it to because the issues that are raised are quite complicated. At the start of the book, we meet Mark and Gladys who are part of a magical group called The Ring who are in charge of all the magic on Earth. They have recently discovered that another world has been manipulating physical things on Earth so that...more
Julie Davis
Yet another from my new favorite author which was lent by the same kind friend who has been supplying me with literary "crack."
Our world has long been protected by "The Ring" - a benevolent secret society of witches and conjurers dedicated to the continuance and well-being of humankind. Now, in the face of impending climatic disaster, the Ring has uncovered a conspiracy potentially more destructive than any it has ever had to contend with. For eons, the mages of a neighboring universe have been
...more
Emily Collins
As far as I can tell, this is the one adult novel that I have ever found written by Diana Wynne Jones. It was a bit hard to get used to an author who normally puts only the most subtle of love lines in a story to have a book that seems pretty blatantly based around who is sleeping or has slept with whom, and the effect that that has had (it's not the main plot point by any means, but from Diana any mention of this is weird). I was extremely thankful for the fact that she left out any actual sex...more
Michael Behr
Diana Wynne Jones remains one of my favorite authors, even though I think I'm about 20 years older than her usual target demographic. However, this book struck me as geared to an older audience (more romance and complicated relationships & emotions than some of her other books, in addition to at least one graphically grotesque bit), and while I'd congratulate her for trying to push her artistic boundaries, A Sudden Wild Magic ended up not one being of her best books.

The plotline is pretty r...more
Dlora
A very creative story mixing fantasy and witchcraft and science fiction. It posits alternate universes, some with people very similar to humans. One in particular has been spying on earth to steal their advances in science and magic. In fact, they have begun to cause wars and catastrophes to see what earth invents to solve the problems. The newest plan is to see how earth handles global warming and the melting of the ice caps. However, the Mages in England finally figure out what is going on and...more
Celia Powell
(January is the month of Diana Wynne Jones re-reading - yay!) This probably isn't one of DWJ's great books, but I like it nonetheless - it has a sort of cozy feeling, and it's one I enjoy re-reading. It's one of her few books for adults - the Ring, a circle of important witches wizards, have realised that a parallel universe is stealing magical and scientific knowledge from Earth, and creating disasters in order to generate more ideas. The Ring sets out to stop them, setting a group of witches a...more
C.
I did really enjoy this - it had more interesting magic and worlds than DWJ usually does, though possibly this was just because I didn't know the plot already.

The main difference to her children's books, however, seemed to be that the characters were more morally ambiguous - typically for DWJ, I can't decide whether this was badly done or not.
__________________________
My last unread DWJ... :(

This feels odd, though. I'm not sure she really mastered the switch from children's to adult books. But...more
Kate
What if the things that happen seemingly by chance in our world are actually on purpose? Global warming has a cause. The onset of AIDs had a reason. And even the World Wars weren't for the reason we think. The reason for all of them? Aliens.

Residents of another universe have problems too, and they've found a way to solve them–give us the same problems, and then steal our inventions to deal with them. But when the magic-users of Earth find out, they are not happy.

Problem:aliens destroying our wor...more
martha
Weirdly enough, this seems to be a sequel to Deep Secret (or is at least written in the same universe), but nothing on my copy indicated that at all -- it was only when some familiar characters wandered through that I realized.

[2005 review.] Good title, terrible book. The YA room was closed at the library and this was one of the two DWJ books in the adult scifi section -- the back cover included the phrase "kamikaze sex," so a bit of a departure for her. Unfortunately it's a very confusing mess...more
Althea Ann
One of Diana Wynne Jones' more 'adult' books, but one that will appeal to her fans in general, with its mix of homey appeal, warm humor, fast-paced action and serious themes.
The Earth We Know (or at least, an Earth very similar to ours) is secretly watched over by a ring of magical adepts. To their dismay, they discover that a neighboring universe has been messing with us - causing all sorts of disasters, apparently in the hopes that they'll learn useful knowledge by studying how we deal with ea...more
Ryan Mishap
The mischievous Grand Dame of Fantasy wrote a book for adults along the lines of humorous British fantastical novels, who knew?

This almost succeeds (call it 2.5 stars, I'm rounding up because this is Diana Wynn Jones we're talking about here). Funny in parts, inventive, and putting to good use her concepts about multi-verses and the like. I think the main problem here is that she doesn't go adult enough, you can almost hear the shocked giggle-snicker when she uses the word "bitch."

Still, anyon...more
Jen
Another enjoyable book from Diana Wynne Jones. Again, the Earth is threatened by another universe, which is causing problems for the Earth to solve so that inventions and ideas can be stolen. A group of witches band together to send some of their number to the other universe to cause chaos. Zillah, and her son Marcus, who both exhibit untrained wild magic are stowaways on the ship, which crashes and is rescued by an order of monk like mages. They are their companions upset the natural rhythms of...more
Jen
Another enjoyable book from Diana Wynne Jones. Again, the Earth is threatened by another universe, which is causing problems for the Earth to solve so that inventions and ideas can be stolen. A group of witches band together to send some of their number to the other universe to cause chaos. Zillah, and her son Marcus, who both exhibit untrained wild magic are stowaways on the ship, which crashes and is rescued by an order of monk like mages. They are their companions upset the natural rhythms of...more
Jaimie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eden
I enjoyed this book. It was good, but was a bit confusing at times. There were a lot of characters to keep up with, but overall, it was a enjoyable read. But I didn't enjoy it as much as other books I've read by Diana Wynne Jones. I know this book was written for adults and is quite a bit different from her other books for younger readers. I did like it, but I think her books for teens/children are much better.
I think any fan of Diana's will enjoy this book, though. It does have an interesting s...more
Shanshad Whelan
I haven't reread this book in about ten years or so . . . had forgotten many of the particulars. Diana Wynne Jones is such a mixed bag of reading for me--I love the way she treats magic as something pragmatic and everyday, and she has no compunction about making her characters frumpy or not so attractive, but still likable. I find her endings sometimes feel too much like a free for all of everything, and sometimes her leaps in plot leave me baffled. This isn't one of her strongest--I liked Deep...more
Allison
Dec 11, 2008 Allison rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy
Shelves: fantasy
I have found the Diana Wynne Jones provides a consistent quality of fantasy that is quite humorous with unique plots that combine our world with other fantasy based worlds. This book is no exception. An alien fantasy world is using our world to conduct experiments and a team of mages from the UK decides to try to sabotage them. I found it interesting as a historical perspective as the book was published in 1992 and discusses the consequences of global warming. I had forgotten that people were co...more
robyn
The only difference, really, between Jones' books for children and her books for adults is that there's some ess ee ehx in the ones for adults. And nothing very racy, mainly allusions and asides. This is a book for adults.

I really liked the premise; I liked the mix of magic and science, and think it worked; I liked the resolution. I never quite settled into the story, but I think it's because the resolution really does come in the last page or so, and it's incredibly sudden. All the same - a fun...more
Clio
A simple enough premise that suffers from to much complexity in the execution. Parallel universe stealing ideas from earth like big Pharma companies, and earth sends a team of women into the all male stronghold to stop the spying. Now add layers of environmentalism, not sexy sex and many many characters and view points and its getting a bit messy. Add some magic and gods and this book is tricky to follow in places. But it's funny, and fun, and easy to read. I do enjoy fantasy, and so I enjoyed t...more
K T
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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, #2) Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1) House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3)

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