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The Crown of Dalemark

(The Dalemark Quartet #4)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  3,626 ratings  ·  119 reviews
"After 16 years, Jones concludes her Dalemark Quartet....Fifteen-year-old Mitt finds the North nearly as dangerous as the South, which he fled after being charged with murder. Now his benefactress wants him to assassinate Noreth, a young woman determined to claim the crown of Dalemark and reunite the country; but instead, Mitt befriends Noreth and joins her supporters....T ...more
Hardcover, 471 pages
Published October 31st 1995 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1993)
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4.05  · 
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 ·  3,626 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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This is a long ‘un, folks.

Let me begin this with a confession: I am rating this book more by nostalgia than truth. It’s a horrible choice, I know. It inflates the rating and gives first-time readers a false impression. But, frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn.

I read the Dalemark Quartet when I was in my early teens, and I ADORED them with every fiber of my sheltered, book-obsessed being. I re-read them three or four times in that year alone. But oh, how the mighty have fallen! Why, OH WHY did
Jan 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Narrated in the first chapter by Mitt, this at first seems like a continuance of Drowned Ammet, but then it continues into Maewen's fish-out-of-water tale, which is a great way to end this series.

One of the great fun of reading series, I always think, is finding out what has become of the characters you grew to know and love in previous books. Even as I become attached to new characters -- such as Maewen (and, surprisingly, Navis, who is not new but gets more narrative time in this book) -- I li
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally got round to reading the last Dalemark book, and I don't regret it. It is very characteristically Diana Wynne Jones, but it's also the fourth book of a quartet, which I don't recall happening very much at all with Jones' other work -- so the gap before I read it wasn't a good idea. It took me some time to get back into it.

But when I did, I had a lot of fun. Jones' work often makes me feel a bit stupid because her characters seem to know what she's doing a lot better than I do and underst
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deborah O'Carroll
Reread December 2018

I love this book SO VERY MUCH!!!!! <3

Original Review, September 2014



Excuse me while I go around in a mind-blown haze of post-Diana-Wynne-Jones-book-ness for the next few days.

You don't know the meaning of mind-blown until you've read this series and finished reading The Crown of Dalemark.

In fact I need to read them all over again.

Like now.

No one had better expect me to be coherent for some time.

I can't word.

(Only slightly more coherent review from my top-
Cara M
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I like best about Diana Wynne Jones which no one else does, is that she can create these characters who exist in the gap between human and god and make them both big and broken as well as awkward and confused and normal. And humans can interact with them, as humans, and be just as big and important, or, perhaps, moreso, because they are of the world in the way the others aren't. Or they can be just quiet and normal. Or, in fact, both at the same time.

I feel like a lot of the ti
katayoun Masoodi
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ebook
skipping spellcoats and reading this first, cause Beth said so!! :) and i need something good right now

read spellcoats first, which was a very good idea and thanks beth and katie. really, really liked alot of it, maybe just not the parts when the one got involved, the other undying i really liked, the one was too concrete and all powerful and not human this time.
all in all though really liked all four books in the series and super happy that i've read them, super sad that this is the last one.
Robin Stevens
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The completely brilliant conclusion to the Dalemark Quartet (8+)

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. If you use it in any marketing material, online or anywhere on a published book without asking permission from me first, I will ask you to remove that use immediately. Thank you!*
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, 20c, british, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joanna Meyer
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My review of the series, taken from my blog:


The genius of these books is that the first three are set in the same world and reference the same landscapes and mythology, mostly centering around the god-like figures known as the Undying. CART AND CWIDDER and DROWNED AMMET are set in the same time but follow two completely different heroes. THE SPE
Aug 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
YA Fantasy. When I picked this up, I was ready for Jones to show me that she did have a master plan, that here, in the last book, she would pull together all the loose threads and dish out some serious resolution, making up for the fact that each of the previous books ended about a chapter too soon.

That didn't happen.

I had to force myself to read this. It's slow and boring. The perspective is sloppy. Like the other three books, this one centers around a journey, but it's muddled. There's nothin
Huh. I said of a previous book in this series that I didn't really understand what DWJ was doing; having finished it, I'm not sure DWJ understood what DWJ was doing.

This was supposed to pull everything together. And it tried to, I think – structurally this series is supposed to be woven (like a story coat) with characters moving through time, taking each other's places, etc. etc. And it just . . . didn't. The threads swapped out too many times and I was never sure who I was supposed to be caring
WELL. That was an adventure.
While I haven't managed to put my Drowned Ammet feels down in writing yet, at the close of that book Mitt was one of my least favorite protagonists. Possibly ever. (Well. Second to Holden Caulfield.) It was so terrible that when I opened Crown of Dalemark and saw his POV, I almost wrote the book off as a lost cause. BUT THEN. Maewen appears like a glorious freckled breath of fresh air. Time travel is one of my most very favorite tropes in fiction, so as soon as I real
Simon Mcleish
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Don't do what I did the first time I read this book - that is, read it in isolation. It makes a lot more sense if you read the other books in the series first!
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dwj
Finale volume | where past and present meet and, | maybe, all’s resolved.

Young Mitt is from South Dalemark, but when he escapes its politics and intrigues he finds that the North is equally dangerous because he is manoeuvred into an assassination attempt on a pretender to the crown of Dalemark. The plot also turns on a present-day girl, Maewen, who gets propelled into Dalemark’s past to play a role not of her own choosing, in a narrative that is reminiscent of the premise in Mark Twain’s The Pri
Paola (A Novel Idea)
Originally posted at A Novel Idea Reviews

Rating: 5/5

Modern Dalemark has come a long way from the time of Tanaqui and The Spellcoats. It is now a bustling industrial nation, with north and south united for over 200 years. Maewen Singer, whose parents are divorced, is on her way to visit her father in Kernsburgh for the first time. As the train makes its way through the landscape of Dalemark, which has changed but still possesses the grandeur of ages past, Maewen has no idea what lies in store for
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's taken me ten years to get into the Dalemark Quartet enough to finish it, but here I am, finally, at the end. I really enjoyed this book but some things bothered me about it which is why I downgraded my rating to 4 stars. It's a fun and engaging read with lots of tension and twists along the way. Like most Diana Wynne Jones books, I couldn't put it down, partly because I was desperate to know who ended up as King (though I had a suspicion, which turned out to be correct). I also wanted to kn ...more
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
Fourteen years after The Spellcoats, Diana Wynne Jones finally ended the series with The Crown of Dalemark. She claimed it took her that long to conceptualize how she wanted to put all the pieces from the previous three standalones together, and unfortunately that struggle basically shows in the final product. For one, there’s simply too many characters to do all of them, or even most of them justice. Though thankfully Moril and Mitt remain central* to the story, it’s a bit of a case of anything ...more
Maureen E
The Crown of Dalemark really doesn't have a good cover, which is a pity.* This is the best I could do, and if I didn't know any better I would guess it was supposed to be for Cart and Cwidder. Bah.

The Crown of Dalemark is where all the disparate threads start to finally come together. Mitt, Moril, a new character named Maewen, Navis, Ynen, Kialan--all of a sudden they reappear and their stories combine.** Maewen comes from Dalemark's future, which looks suspiciously like our present. I love
Jannah (Cloud Child)
Lord help me with these DWJ endings PLEASE. I'm starting to get used to them and learning to recognize the cliff but the doesn't mean I like them at all.
Damnit. I enjoyed this. But not as much as the 3rd book, which is by far the best if the series, most likely because of the first person voice. I did enjoy seeing how all the characters from all the previous books came together along with Maewen the new arrival 200 yyears from the future.

I cant give a proper review I just cant. This style of DW
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, teen-books
I knew it! It all came together in the end! Characters from all 3 previous novels returned and met up for the first time, and they all work together to unite Dalemark. This is definitely a series I would like to read again. Now that I know what happens, it would be interesting to see the clues and hints that lead up to the ending.

One thing I really liked: the glossary (appendix?) at the end. This would have been helpful to have in some of the earlier books, too, although it might have spoiled a
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
8/9/2018: "He said, 'Tell her to make it four years, not two, to allow for inflation.' Does that mean anything to you?"

4/21/2017: I had a moment of "with the reread feature I can finally guilt-free reread Crown a million times!" only to find that I had never listed it as read in the first place.

Anyway, I love this book a lot, still. It is not perfect, but it is very close.

Miscellaneous things I love under the cut
(view spoiler)
Nicholas Whyte
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, xi, b12, 2013, 1308[return][return]I had not realised that this is actually the fourth and final novel in a sequence of which I had read only the third, and that more than thirty years ago, so I found myself struggling a bit with events which were carried over from the previous volume. But it is certainly enjuoyable on its own, and I suspect is a good climax to the whole sequence of novels - our heroine, Maewen, is snatched two hundred years back in time to find herself pl ...more
What I love about Diana Wynne Jones's work in general is a) though she writes primarily for children, her writing style is sophisticated enough that I still truly enjoy delving into her prose and b) there's always some new facet of the story that I didn't get before. Her plots are usually quite intricate, and it's a lot of fun figuring out the puzzle for yourself. She drops allusions to previous books and characters with just the right amount of subtlety: you get it, but it requires enough thoug ...more
Enjoyed the journey. Our POV characters all resist the call to adventure; accept it, meet all matter of threshold guardians, are helped or hindered by the not-gods that populate this world, and meet the (metaphorical) father who gives one a crown. On the way there are rings and crowns and swords that are got by not-entirely heroic means. Also, time travel, a bomb, and inchoate trains.

But the conclusion was a wee bit flat and I'm a little grumpy that the crowned head was in fact to the manor bor
Jul 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say, this wrap-up to an otherwise amazing quartet left me lukewarm. Not that it wasn't good, or even great, just that I expect more from the mostly-perfect Diana Wynne Jones. Still, I'm not disappointed I read the quartet, and I would highly recommend it. It's darker and more mature than the Chrestomanci or Moving Castle series, which pleased me as a lifelong reader of her work but it might be too much for newer (younger) fans.
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sffantasy, ya
I really like how she manages her world-building so that the reader knows more about certain things than the characters, but there's more at the edges that we don't know. It's a neat trick.
Brandy Painter
My review of all four Dalemark books can be found here.
Jul 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-kid-lit
Ties up the other three Dalemark books nicely, but brings something of its own as well. I didn't want it to end.
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A perennial favorite from my younger years, and it has held up well! Jones is the master of moving plot along through character development-- far too often, fantasy relies on the reverse.
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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

Other books in the series

The Dalemark Quartet (4 books)
  • Cart and Cwidder (The Dalemark Quartet, #1)
  • Drowned Ammet (The Dalemark Quartet, #2)
  • The Spellcoats (The Dalemark Quartet, #3)
“Funny the way it was never enough to swear and promise just the once. You seemed to have to rethink and repromise every time the subject came up.” 6 likes
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