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Eight Days of Luke

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,915 ratings  ·  200 reviews
"Just kindle a flame and I'll be with you."

It's summer vacation, but David's miserably stuck with his unpleasant relatives. Then a strange boy named Luke turns up, charming and fun, joking that David has released him from a prison. Or is he joking? He certainly seems to have strange powers, and control over fire...

Luke has family problems of his own, and some very dar

Paperback, 203 pages
Published 2001 by HarperCollins (first published 1975)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,915 ratings  ·  200 reviews

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Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Perhaps my favourite anecdote about this book is that Neil Gaiman said that he had to rewrite American Gods because he got to the end and realised that he'd just rewritten this.

The real joy here is the slow-burning realisation of what is going on. The care with which Wynne Jones constructs the plot to ensure that the characters only appear on the appropriate "days" is only really apparent on a re-read, and the book is good enough to survive that without trouble.
Luke Taylor
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With unending cleverness, Diana Wynne Jones weaves a wonderful tale of loneliness and friendship, heroics and half-wit relatives, dreary dull English life and the full legendary pantheon of Norway, Eight Days of Luke is the slow-burn story of an accidental protagonist stumbling upon an earth-shaking mystery and adventure. Transforming the lives of disheartened David and everyone else around him, Luke tumbles into England and sets off an irreversible course of events destined to make David a new ...more
Nov 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Norse mythology geeks

Nothing like an old favorite to make you feel all wrapped up in a warm hug. This book remains a delight, always.



I freaking love Norse mythology like you don't even know.

This book is perfect.

I only wish I'd known about it when I was younger; as happy as I am to know about it now, little me was also freaking in love with Norse mythology and would have enjoyed this so much.
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 8, reread, 2011
It was either this book or Dogsbody that was my first Diana Wynne Jones novel, many, many years ago now. I no longer remember which one, and both have a special place in my heart and my memory.

I have been looking forward to rediscovering them both - and while both were published in 1975, Ms Wynne Jones' offical fan site lists Eight Days of Luke first, so that's the order I'm rereading.

I went into the book remembering the basics - who Luke was and that it was based on Norse mythology - but the de
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm afraid that I can't do this review without being mildly spoilery, but it's okay since everyone else is doing the same -- even though it is, I fear, perhaps not as obvious as I think it is. Anyway, you've had your chance to look away, here's the spoiler: this is based, to some extent, on Norse mythology. And Luke is Loki. That was apparent to me just about straight away, though through the wonders of my new medication I have no idea whether I read about that in the collection of Diana Wynne J ...more
Jun 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
YA Fantasy. David is a Miserable Orphan forced to live with his neglectful, petty relatives. As far as Miserable Orphans go (see also: Harry Potter, the Baudelaires) he doesn't have it that bad, but it could be better. Like, when he comes home from boarding school for summer holiday, his guardians are surprised to see him. So he decides to curse them, as you do.

Somehow, this goes wrong and he releases the god Loki from his underground prison instead. Luke, as he introduces himself, seems about D
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This is one of the few Diana Wynne Jones books I didn't read as a twelve year old, and I can't say I missed much. I didn't like this. I think it's very competently written and the family resentment is superb, and that's all I appreciate here.

I'm not one for mythological stories in general, and this feels uninspired. The treasure hunt is almost an afterthought; the plot in general feels half-baked, abrupt and poorly paced. And everyone's willingness to go with the flow, to be so accepting of the
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone too young/distractible for wagner?
Boy's stay with unpleasant relatives enlivened by invasion of quarreling Norse gods.

Friggin' brilliant!
Lara Mi

"I'd be very surprised, and I'd think you were pretending at first. But when I began to believe it I'd get a doctor to make sure you really were dead."

Eight Days of Luke has a lot of the humour one finds in other of Jones' books, especially during the family quarrels. But the humour aside, I found this book to be quite average when compared to others of Jones' works. I didn't care too much about any of the characters and the fantasy element of the story was just laking. Or rather, the few part
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readathon17
#readathon17 Ένα βιβλίο φανταστικού

My first Diana Wynne Jones and a delightful read!
3.5 stars because I think if there had been maybe 10 pages more, I'd have given it 4.

This was a fun little story about a bored and lonely child with an awful family accidently freeing some sort of mystical boy (one figures out quite early who he actually is) who tries to make his life better in return... which somehow includes arson. Just roll with it. It makes sense in context. Sort of. Someone might need to see a psychiatrist in the future.

The plot was a bit weak and I wished some things would
Kim Zarins
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norse-shelf
I loved this fresh take on Norse mythology. Luke is a terrific character. I would never have thought it possible to make a young and innocent Loki, but this portrayal convinced me. And I was glad that though innocent he remained dangerous.

I also loved David--I was worried he'd be somehow marked as a long-lost Norse character reclaimed during the story, and I was glad that he was allowed to remain an ordinary kid, with all the special powers of perception and daring that ordinary kids really have
May 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Jones, D.W. (1975). Eight Days of Luke. New York: Greenwillow Books.

226 pages.

Appetizer: David Allard is on break from school and instead of being sent of on an educational tour, his relatives have forgotten he was supposed to come home and so he is stuck with them and their criticisms of him.

At first it seems like it will be a complete torture, but after chanting a random mix of words, a strange boy named Luke appears. Luke claims that David released him from his prison and is indebted to him.
I'm sitting here like 'why on earth did I not read this sooner' and unfortunately I do absolutely know why: because I thought it was going to be 'too young' for me. But what I've found in recent years is that often middle grade books are actually more enjoyable and insightful than even young adult books because they still focus on the story instead of romance and recycling all the same tired tropes. And they're also often a lot more fun than adult books because children will just go along with a ...more
Cat M
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, five-star-reads, sf-f
A complete delight from beginning to end. This is a trickster Loki story, with a delightful middle-grade take on the character. This is Loki at his trickster best: never malicious, but far from tame.

David is a fantastic character, a good-natured boy saddled with a rather terrible family. His understandable resentment of their treatment of him leads him to accidentally break Loki out of his imprisonment.

And from there the plot takes off. There are disguised Norse gods, road trips and ravens a lo
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dwj, fantasy
Feeling grateful. Feeling guilty. Feeling angry when you're wrongly accused. Feeling frustrated when your wishes are thwarted. Being a child under the charge of adults gives rise to many emotions, some negative, many persisting into adulthood. For orphan David Allard, whom if we had to guess is about ten or so, emotions are running particularly high: the relatives he is now living with are unsympathetic to the point of unfairness and he is just about to explode.

Retreating to the end of the garde
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love visiting bookstores when I’m on vacation. First of all: books! And second, I’ve already given myself permission to relax, eat, drink and be merry, and reading for fun and on a whim is certainly part of the process. So when I went to Ireland for ten days with my friends last month, I did a little advance research and found some bookshops in my path. The Gutter Bookshop in Dublin is a delightful, airy place, and while I was perusing the children’s and YA section there I came across a staff ...more
Melissa McShane
David doesn't like his boarding school much, but he dislikes holidays more, because he has to go home. "Home" is with his great-aunt and -uncle, Cousin Ronald, and Ronald's cousin Astrid, none of whom like him very much (and the feeling's mutual). Between the horrible food, the constant scolding, and their expectation that he should be grateful for all of that ("gratitude" being shown by groveling or, better yet, never having been born), David is miserable about the long summer months ahead. The ...more
Joseph Leskey
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: most anybody
Original review, with very much needed original update:
UPDATE: Please note: Whilst writing this review, I felt, well, rather… bonkers.

Eight Days of Luke is just the sort of story that makes me feel quite jolly. As in, a normal setting, but you know… including something not quite as common. Which is equivalent to " ABSOLUTELY WONDEFUL! " I feel wearied for reason of not writing a dignified comma-inclusive li
Amanda Kespohl
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long before a lovable orphan named Harry suffered at the hands of the Dursleys, a lovable cricket-playing orphan named David Allard was hating life with his awful relations, Uncle Bernard, Aunt Dot, and Cousin Ronald. He tries hard to be grateful for the way they've looked after him since his parents died, but it's tough when all they seem to want to do is criticize him or send him away. When he gets stuck in their company one summer, he glumly anticipates months of misery.

That is, until he meet
Joseph Leskey
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who either read or SHOULD be reading
Recommended to Joseph by: Abigail H. Leskey
UPDATE: Please note: Whilst writing this review, I felt, well, rather… bonkers.

Eight Days of Luke is just the sort of story that makes me feel quite jolly. As in, a normal setting, but you know… including something not quite as common. Which is equivalent to " ABSOLUTELY WONDEFUL! " I feel wearied for reason of not writing a dignified comma-inclusive list for a while, therefore what is a better time than now? Eight Days of Luke is stuffed full of British relatives (which have to make a book go
Lachlan Macleod
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Good fun! I have never read the word "grateful" so many times in such quick succession. ...more
Julie Davis
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just beginning this one, the last of those lent to me by my pal. The description is promising:
There seemed nothing strange about Luke to begin with, except perhaps the snakes. If they were snakes -- David wasn't sure. He was just grateful for a companion as agreeable as Luke, who seemed able to twist anyone around his finger, even David's odious relatives. "Just kindle a flame and I'll be with you, " Luke said, and he always was -- which turned out to be more awkward than useful in the end.

For w
Erin Reilly-Sanders
This one was a lot of fun, but slightly fluffy, sort of like an Eva Ibbotson book but one of her better ones. There's a lightness to the story that is great for younger chapterbook readers despite being about the typical lonely, neglected British school boy. What I liked best was the focus on disguised mythological Norse gods, making this a sort of American Gods for kids book. This would be really great to read after doing a study unit on Norse mythology to see how fast the students can pick up ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adorable book for children and everyone else who loves Norse mythology, books for children and/or books written by authors who respect their readers' intelligence. Adventurous, kind, humorous. Some characters are like caricatures -- perfectly understandable, coming from a child's POV. Mythology characters are wonderfully done (not just Loki, even though the story is mostly about him and his human friend, David), and the love story between Loki and Sigyn (four sentences in the entire book, and ye ...more
Sep 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
One of Diana Wynne Jones' best. I have to admit although I had my suspicion when I read the book, DWJ succeeded in keeping me guessing. And when it all came to light at the end, I just couldn't help but go WOW YEAH!! ...more
SPOILERS (but this book came out forty-five years ago??? soooo??)

aaaaa, I just love ancient gods in modern-day! I LOVE THEM!!!!
Diana Wynne Jones: I will write children’s literature. You will like it.
Me, reading her books in one sitting:
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Diana was born in London, the daughter of Marjorie (née Jackson) and Richard Aneurin Jones, both of whom were teachers. When war was announced, shortly after her fifth birthday, she was evacuated to Wales, and thereafter moved several times, including periods in Coniston Water, in York, and back in London. In 1943 her family finally settled in Thaxted, Essex, where her parents worked running an ed ...more

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