The Homeward Bounders
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The Homeward Bounders

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,931 ratings  ·  105 reviews
"You are now a discard. We have no further use for you in play. You are free to walk the Bounds, but it will be against the rules for you to enter play in any world. If you succeed in returning Home, then you may enter play again in the normal manner."

When Jamie unwittingly discovers the sinister, dark-cloaked Them playing games with humans' lives, he is cast out to the bo...more
224 pages
Published 1990 by Mammoth (first published 1981)
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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 JonesThe Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones
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Feb 08, 2008 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: D&D dorks, the children i love (not necessarily in that order)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Proffitt
In her twelfth published novel, Diana Wynne Jones again does something new; The Homeward Bounders has a little bit of Dogsbody, a little bit of Power of Three, but mostly it's just itself. Young Jamie goes poking around where he shouldn't and is found by Them, mysterious cloaked creatures who appear to be playing an enormous strategy game with the world--and they deal with Jamie's intrusion by making him a Homeward Bounder. Now Jamie is forced to travel between worlds, pulled by an insistent dem...more
I am terrible at remembering exact lines, even for poetry or songs, where you'd think the rhythm or sound would help. I regard all the characters in Tam Lin who can quote poetry-- or even the characters in Buffy who can quote movies -- word-perfect with suspicion and envy. I get the scansion right but one of the words wrong or the sense right but not the phrase and worst of it is, I know it's wrong -- I just can't remember what the right version is.

I've always remembered the last line of this ri...more
Emily Collins
You all know how much I love Diana Wynne Jones.
I discovered this book only a few weeks ago, when I picked it up from an HPB.
I did not like this book.

Now, don't get me wrong - it was fascinating. I read it in maybe three days. I couldn't put it down. I needed to know what happened next. NEEDED TO.
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I am still making my way through Diana Wynne Jones's backlist. I probably wouldn't have read The Homeward Bounders for a long time to come as it's currently out of print in the the US (except as an e-book) if it weren't for a conversation on Twitter I had with Sage Blackwood in which she said she heard some consider it to be a metaphor for life as a military kid. My interest level rose exponentially and she was kind enough to send me an o...more
Elizabeth Boatman
Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite writers. I go to her when I need a jolt of something entirely different and unexpected. This has all the usual Jones elements: parallel worlds, girls with magical gifts, mythic beings, and the play on words and logic. As with Fire and Hemlock you may have to read the ending twice to figure out exactly how it all played out.

The protagonist, Jamie Hamilton, is a compelling character. He's a twelve-year-old boy from a lower class family. He's not interested...more
[September 2005 review.] The more DWJ I read the more I can pick out what themes she likes to use, similarities between different stories, so at the very beginning this book reminded me of her Hexwood, but it ended up being very different. I really liked this one -- reviews on Amazon point out that this is one of her more somber, darker books and I think it's one of her best that I've read so far. The premise is that every world ia game played by Them, and if you discover this you get sentenced...more
What I love about Jones' books is how perfectly she builds up reader empathy with her protagonists. We go along with them, step by step, believing that they are wonderful and misunderstood, like we ourselves are; it is a blow to the throat when they abruptly realize their own weaknesses. "Hey," they think, "I was really childish back there." And the reader -- who thought nothing of the regretted action at the time -- goes, "Yeah! You really were quite childish back there, come to think of it! An...more
Angela Alcorn
This was a lovely little escape from reality. I hate giving spoilers, so I won't go into details. Just pick it up and have a read.

Diana Wynne Jones has a real talent for inventing worlds and telling a story. I do also love how she's basically timed how long it takes a young reader to get bored and will jump in with something intriguing to keep them going. If you're looking to be a writer, you could do worse than to study this master.
oh my god, THIS BOOK IS TOO DEPRESSING. No wonder I haven't read it in ten years and blocked out most of it (although nothing will ever block out "But you wouldn't believe how lonely you get"). brb, SOBBING.
One of the best, funniest, and saddest books ever written for young people, The Homeward Bounders is classic Diana Wynne Jones. Jamie stumbles across Them when he's exploring his city - a wonderful, dirty, crowded city that he loves. Jamie can see Them playing their horrible games and as punishment, he is cast out to the Bounds, destined to wander the worlds for all time unless he can find his way home again. Walking the Bounds is hard - every world has different languages, which the Homeward Bo...more
Yes. This book was great. I had a feeling it would end up being one of my favourite DWJs and I wasn't disappointed. I cried several times – mostly for no apparent reason.

But then again, give me a frantic search for a place to call home, and top that with a redhead Prometheus and I'll cry no matter what.

This book once again proves that the 80s' were a golden era for DWJ. Most of her very best ones were written then. This was no exception. The characters were amusing, the narrative voice was supe...more
The last major Diana Wynne Jones book I haven't read.

When my book club announced they'd be reading this, I actually got around to finding it. The magical librarians found it for me, and I feel pretty proud of myself. All of her major works!

I had a very hard time getting into this novel. The character's voice was a little difficult to read at first, which was really surprising. I think that this was because of all the summarizing in the beginning, both the character and I recognized that I need...more
Apr 03, 2012 Eve added it
Homeward Bounders, by Diana Wynne Jones, is about a boy named Jamie who lives in a city. He likes to wander the city at times, and upon one of his wanderings, stumbles upon a curious triangular building. He is fascinated by the building, and looks through the window. He see’s cloaked men hovering over a curious machine. He decides to go into the building, and discovers that these cloaked figures are magical. They seem to be playing an intricate game that decides the fate of the world. They decid...more
DWJ Book Toast, #11

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
I think this is probably her best novel, although I haven't read everything she's written (yet). I enjoy reading some of her other novels more, but this one is really well put together, and the ending has a huge emotional impact even when I know what's coming.

Things I love about it:
* Jamie's narration is spot-on, both in what he says & in what he doesn't. He's a little distanced from the story he's telling, which makes it more believable, I think, and fits really well with the difference bet...more
Julie Davis
Following my reading of Dogsbody, I went on to this book in sampling Diana Wynne Jones' oeuvre. She came up with yet another completely different concept, unique world system, and set of problems to solve. As well, Jamie, the protagonist seems different from those I read about in Howl's Moving Castle and Dogsbody.

Jamie has a happy enough life with his family in a poor but active neighborhood of a large city. One day, when delivering groceries for his father's store, he happens upon a building th...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maureen E
I had a very strange experience recently. I’ve been re-reading Diana Wynne Jones’s book, in order to write them up for my Official Read-through Index (which, erm, hasn’t been updated in awhile). So I read Homeward Bounders, which is utterly tragic and well-written and yet I don’t love it as much as some of her other books. Then a few days later I started Mister Monday, the first in the Keys of the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. As I was reading along I began to notice certain similarities. Both fe...more
Emma (Miss Print)
I have a very high opinion of Diana Wynne Jones because of her self-evident awesomeness as a writer. Most of the books I have read by her also feature awesome heroines in the role of protagonist and/or narrator. The Homeward Bounders does not. However, in the spirit of promoting well-rounded reading and since Jones is already a perennial CLW favorite, I present my first Chick Lit Wednesday review with a hero instead of a heroine as the main character.

"Have you ever heard of the Flying Dutchman?...more
Maria Longley
Diana Wynne Jones is so amazing. Loved this! She packs so much into her books and this one is no different. When Jamie stumbles upon The Game he's sent off to wander the boundaries of the worlds alone, until he meets some other Bounders and they get thinking. I wish I could have read these as a child, but grateful to have come across them at all. There are some nice weaving in of other myths and DWJ doesn't shy away from her characters dealing with real emotions (happy or sad ones).
Joanne Ch'ng
There is certain surrealism in this book that is very appealing. I loved the unsettling feeling that came from learning that Jamie was just a piece in game. He's 'free to wander' but he has to conform to the rules of Their game anyway. Going home means going back to Their rules.

What's a boy to do? Why stage a rebellion of course!

It should be said that fans of happy endings should prepare themselves. Every hero has a heroic sacrifice and Jamie's is rather bittersweet. Even if he goes home again,...more
Fascinating remix of mythology and fantasy. This book contained vivid characters whom I immediately fell in love with, delicate foreshadowing, and all the storycraft and artistry of a Diana Wynne Jones tale. Because of the more unusual ending and slightly darker tones influence I'd recommend it to returning DWJ readers, but it's a wonderful, if less whimsical than usual, story.


I looked at some other reviews, and one was glorying in the fact that the story says that "hope is an anch...more
Sandra Strange
This older novel has been reissued in paperback. It may be part of a series. Jamie stumbles upon a dangerous secret: mysterious, robed men hunched over models of the world, moving leaders and armies to manipulate men in a gigantic game. They catch him and throw him out to the Boundaries of the worlds. He is doomed to wander through a myriad of worlds searching for “home.” He meets many assorted people, including Prometheus (he’s not identified by name) in this fascinating and fast paced fantasy-...more
This book is more cerebral than I thought it would be and that I wanted. I expected a book about some kids who realize their world is one big game and they try to stop it and free "the people". Lots of action and close calls. Instead I got a book that is thought provoking and what I consider a little beyond what an eleven or twelve year old will put up with.
What a sad ending! Not a usual sort of sad - not simply the sadness when a character dies for example - but a deeper, melancholy sort of emptiness.

The interesting thing is, for quite a lot of the book I wasn't completely enjoying the reading itself. And it was because I just wanted to hurry up and catch up to the present so that the reflection wasn't so depressing.
The narrator (Jamie) slowly loses hope throughout the book, making the reader feel quite miserable.

I'm so glad I read it though,...more
Paul Bard
My favorite book for most of my early teens, almost four years.

Which is remarkable considering how many other books I read in that time!

A classic mind-bender of good, evil, and Absolute versus relative.
Up past my bedtime to finish this one, but it was worth it! It had everything you'd expect from DWJ -- parallel words, a colorful cast of incredibly realistic characters, and a delicious splash of mythology thrown in to make you think you know what's going on until she turns you on your ear at the last second.

It reminded me a LOT of the Dalemark Quartet, actually. Perhaps it was the ending. I couldn't help but remember Mitt.

At any rate, I know I sound like a broken record sometimes when I talk a...more
Jamie Hamilton is an ordinary lower-middle-class English boy for the first twelve years of his life. One day curiosity gets the better of him and he stumbles into a discovery that will change his life and, eventually, the world(s)--shadowy beings (known simply as Them) are manipulating human affairs as part of a game. The price of Jamie's new knowledge is banishment from his home as a "discard," and he begins his new life walking the boundaries of many worlds in a quest to return home. Along the...more
This book has all the trademark inventiveness and cleverness of DWJ, but also has a really courageous ending, one that makes logical sense, but haunts you long after the book is finished. It's amazing the way DWJ can tell a story that's complicated technically, with characters having to figure out the practical realities of a rather complicated situation, yet because the characters themselves are so vibrant and funny you never feel like you're in an exposition dump.

Each one of the parallel worl...more
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Keepers of Fantasy: The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones 5 12 Nov 20, 2013 05:52PM  
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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) The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #4) Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1) House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3)

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“If you like, you can all think of it as my gift to you. I never had much else to give. You can get on and play your own lives as you like, while I just keep moving. This story of it all can be another gift. I’ve made an arrangement with Adam. When I’ve finished, which is almost now, I’m going to put the bundle of papers in the garden of the Old Fort, before I move on. Adam’s going to get them and take them to his father. And if you read it and don’t believe it’s real, so much the better. It will make another safeguard against Them.

But you wouldn’t believe how lonely you get.”
“There are no rules. Only principles and natural laws.” 1 likes
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