Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #2)” as Want to Read:
The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci #2)

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,898 Ratings  ·  368 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
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 19th 1998 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1988)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Lives of Christopher Chant, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Lives of Christopher Chant

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
Favourite Diana Wynne Jones
3rd out of 39 books — 350 voters
Mistborn by Brandon SandersonThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonThe Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Most Interesting Magic System
92nd out of 1,676 books — 6,299 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
mark monday
Feb 27, 2013 mark monday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Arielle Walker
I don't think I'll ever get over how fantastic this series is.
Mar 20, 2016 beatricks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of the three Chrestomanci books I've read so far, this was easily my favorite. I've enjoyed DWJ's style from day one, but this is where everything came together for me and I developed really strong feelings about plot and relationships. I love how DWJ just goes for it in terms of frankly messed up subject matter but still keeps things brisk and funny. She does a great job of putting us in the tight POV of Christopher as a very young child as well as when he gets older, so that we share much of h ...more
Mindy Conde
Apr 25, 2014 Mindy Conde rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
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
Apr 03, 2011 Myles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-stuff, fantasy
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.

Mar 02, 2015 Rachel rated it it was amazing
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
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
Libby Addison
Feb 02, 2013 Libby Addison rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 07, 2010 Nikki rated it liked it
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
Dec 06, 2015 Tangerine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
[questo commento vale, in parte, anche per gli altri volumi della serie]

"Se vi dicessero che il vostro mondo non è l'unico esistente.
Se vi dicessero che ci sono centinaia di mondi paralleli, originati in seguito a inevitabili spaccature nella Storia.
Se vi dicessero che in alcuni di questi mondi la magia è comune quanto la luce del sole, ma che è pericolosissima se riposta nelle persone sbagliate.
Se vi dicessero che può esistere un solo mago che ha nove vite ed è destinato a diventare l'incantato
Harry Rutherford
Jan 06, 2013 Harry Rutherford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light
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.
Jul 08, 2014 ribbonknight rated it really liked 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.
Jun 09, 2014 Danika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy
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
Jul 01, 2013 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Aug 10, 2011 Christen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
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
Jul 22, 2008 Scurra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jan 17, 2011 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
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
Oct 06, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dwj, chrestomanci
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
Scott Forbes
Feb 25, 2012 Scott Forbes rated it really liked it
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
May 18, 2015 James rated it it was amazing
A boy with nine lives walks through worlds, gets up to mischief and no good. Loses lives, makes friends and grows up a little. In doing so he becomes the Chrestomanci, guardian-enchanter-magician of the multiverse. Loved it.

A modern day fairy tale in an idyllic magical England. A twist on some common and not-so-common fantasy tropes framing a light-hearted coming of age story with a hint of prepubescent romance.

There are some things that you’re exposed to as a child that you end up carrying arou
Nov 26, 2008 B added it
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
Serena Wyndelin Ogawa
Reading chronologically, this is the first book of the Chrestomanci series. And what a beginning it is. The reader gets to grow alongside Christopher Chant, and learn magic with him. The many worlds presented are fun, vibrant, and make for an interesting contrast to the one Chant lives in.

Jones' writing keeps readers thoroughly invested and submerged in her world. Even bits of exposition are presented as casual comments rather than any heavy-handed world building. Her works are always a joy to
Nov 05, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 13, 2015 Fleece rated it really liked it
screams forever over the goddess!!!!! what a lovely girl. christopher was such an ass, i love it
Mar 01, 2016 Aelvana rated it really liked it
Christopher Chant travels in his dreams, through the Place Between to the Almost Anywheres. It's a way to escape from his dreary life and find some adventures elsewhere. Even when Uncle Ralph gets involved, and asks Christopher to help him transport a few things, he sees it as a good thing. But everyone wants to involve him in their schemes---Mama's plans for Society, Papa's desire to make him the next Chrestomanci, Uncle Ralph and his business. Can Christopher find a way out?

This is the beginni
Andrew McDonald
I read this straight after reading Charmed Life and loved this one just as much. This time Chrestomanci is a young boy called Christopher who starts visiting the Almost Anywheres – the related worlds (or parallel universes) that provide the setting for the Chrestomanci novels. After reading a bit about the other worlds in Charmed Life it was really fun to start travelling through them with Christopher.

The main danger/intrigue of the story involves an intra-world smuggling ring that is both comp

I really appreciate the way these books, particularly this one and the first, Charmed Life, talk about the way children can be manipulated by adults. Like I know sometimes that's a trope, but whatever. Anti-authoritarianism, for the young and forever. I just think it's important that children be introduced to what emotional abuse looks like.

The premise of the Place Between and the Almost Anywheres is great. I enjoyed the way it was described and the mechanics of traveling. There's some pretty di
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Cuckoo Tree (The Wolves Chronicles, #6)
  • The Hounds of the Mórrígan
  • Searching for Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #2)
  • The Wizard's Dilemma (Young Wizards, #5)
  • The Changeover
  • Silver on the Tree
  • Fly Trap (Fly by Night, #2)
  • Juniper (Doran, #2)
  • Heart's Blood
  • Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • Flora's Dare (Flora Trilogy, #2)
  • 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)

Share This Book

“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.” 64 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
More quotes…