Jarrah's Reviews > The Game

The Game by Diana Wynne Jones
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's review
Apr 17, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: childrens-fiction, z-chosen-one, childrens-specfic, setting-hidden-world, setting-ireland, fantasy, z-folklore-and-mythology
Read in March, 2008

Children's contemporary fantasy. Hayley grew up with her grandparents, isolated from the world. Only then Hayley did something wrong - she's not sure what, only that it was to do with Fiddle and Flute and the boy with the dogs - and now she's been packed off to a house full of aunts and cousins in Ireland. The house is riotous and warm and, best of all, the children play something called The Game, in the mysterious Mythosphere. But Hayley's misdeed has attracted the attention of the dangerous head of the family - a family that turns out to be far more unusual than Hayley realised.

This has a stupendously exciting setup. The Mythosphere is exactly what it sounds like - a realm where you can travel through the different forms and interconnections of myth and story. Hayley is an immediately appealing character, and the aunts and cousins dashing about dealing with the flooded upper rooms the night Hayley arrives are fantastic. But then the story sort of ... loses its way. Like The Eight Days of Luke, The Game is based on ancient mythology - in this case Greek rather than Norse - and while it's huge amounts of fun to sit there with the book and a copy of The Greek Myths and work out what all the references are to, the story does kind of lose itself in references at about the midway point, and forget that it's a story. The resolution just sort of happens, and then everything's over.

It's a nice little book, based on one of the coolest concepts DWJ has ever played with. But I wanted the ending to be as clever as the beginning, and it didn't quite live up. In fact what this book mostly made me want to do was run away with the Mythosphere and do my own thing with it.
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Kathleen Dixon My daughter said the same thing as you about the ending when she handed me this book to read, and I agree with you both. Apart from that - what a delightful book. I do love this author!

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