Biblibio's Reviews > The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1 by Diana Wynne Jones
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2361952
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Dec 25, 11

bookshelves: kids-fantasy, fantasy
Read from December 23 to 24, 2011

To a certain degree, it's a shame that the two books included in this collection come one after the other. Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant are at once very similar to each other, but also markedly different, most obviously in their characterizations and storytelling style.

One feature is clearly shared by both stories - the two books collected in The Chronicles of Chrestomanci: Volume I take place (quite obviously) in the world of the Chrestomanci and both center around young boys who lack traditional magic and yet live in an inherently magical world. Both boys find themselves facing strange adventures and stranger characters, forced to come into themselves as they try to navigate a new and often confusing and brutal world.

Charmed Life starts out the series quite pleasantly, but in my mind the clear winner here is The Lives of Christopher Chant. Charmed Life dims in comparison to the latter primarily because of its main character - Cat (Eric) Chant is, by definition, a somewhat passive boy and character. Christopher Chant, meanwhile, is one of the most entertaining and charming (yes I said it!) characters I've had the pleasure of encountering in a long time. Forceful and intelligent, he makes The Lives of Christopher Chant a wicked fun ride in a way that significantly diminishes Charmed Life by contrast.

While I don't recommend reading the books back to back (just to better enjoy them), this is a great pair of older kids fantasy. The stories are interesting and thought-provoking, the characters easy to relate to and quite friendly, and the writing all around well-done. Though this is only my first foray into Diana Wynne Jones' catalog, it certainly won't be my last. I'm greatly looking forward to further "Chrestomanci" books.
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