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Power of Three

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,120 ratings  ·  160 reviews
Ayna could predict the future.
Cari could find what was lost.
Gair thought he was ordinary. The three children of Gest, the chief of Garholt, know the perils of the Moor on which they live. The Dorig, their people's enemies, are cold-blooded, fierce underwater creatures who terrify anyone unlucky enough to happen upon them. The Giants are dangerous and violent.

But it's not
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1976)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,120 ratings  ·  160 reviews

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Melissa McShane
In Power Of Three, Diana Wynne Jones's seventh novel, she takes her skill with limited third person perspective and the naive narrator to a new level. Ayna, Gair and Ceri are siblings who live on the Moor, coexisting unpeacefully with the Dorig, water-dwelling fish-like humanoids, and the Giants, large and loud and strong. Ayna and Ceri have actual magical powers that they have to learn to use over the course of the story: Ayna can give a true answer to any question she's asked; Ceri can control ...more
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I haven't reread this in at least five years; no idea why. This is one of Diana Wynne Jones's strongest standalones. It's great. (Note: so is Melissa's review. After reading that, I need her to write me a definitive DWJ ranking so I can argue with her about it.)

Right off the bat, here's the one thing I dislike (and I remember disliking it way back in seventh grade, too): an aspect of the ending. (view spoiler)
Aug 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all ages
Diana Wynne Jones' Power of Three is, if memory serves me correct, the first book I ever owned. It was given to me for Christmas, when I was quite young. I loaned it to a friend in seventh grade and it came back to me smelling of applesauce. It no longer smells of applesauce, but I remember pressing my face into the book for the smell. I've glued the spine back together once, and a section is currently trying to fall out again. I don't want to replace it.

Jones' particular genius is writing books
Sep 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Another wonderful offering from the inimitable Diana Wynne Jones, Power of Three is an early-ish fantasy but one which displays all her trademark tics: a tricksy plot with an ending which has you rereading the last few pages wondering what has just happened (and how), a self-doubting protagonist with talents largely hidden from them, and a narrative that -- while riffing on traditional themes, tropes and traditions -- still manages to read as a one-off original.

We begin the novel assuming this i
Abi Brown
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's interesting reading most of a body of work in publication order like this, for all I have been familiar with these books for years. This again feels a step closer to what I most associate Diana's writing with, and indeed I think Charmed Life - where it all *really* started - is next up. I could do without the way body size is handled, but it was after all the seventies. ...more
Zach Sparks
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
As is the usual case of a DWJ reread, I liked it much better the 2nd time through because I understood it better. I think the size differences or the lack thereof kept throwing me off the 1st time.
This is a good, solid read that starts off with a murder and a dying curse and goes on to show how that curse has affected everyone in it's field of influence. The novel is just as much about the power of the three races working together as it is about the power of words. Words play a huge ro
Emily Larkin
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Diana Wynne Jones is one of my absolute favourite authors, and there are several of her books that I reread almost every year, but for some reason (not sure why) I’ve skipped over Power of Three the last few years, so this is the first time I’ve read it in ages—and it has been an absolute joy to rediscover it!
I love this book. The characters and the setting are so incredibly well written. How can you not fall in love with Gair and Garholt and the moor? I love how Jones sets the story in the wor
May 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Some of Diana's earlier work, and you can tell. She caught up with her golden era some ten years later. The elements are there, but they're not harnessed with the brilliance especially found in her works published in the 80s'.

Cute. Very cute, but anticlimactic all the way through. Likeable, but distant characters. The ending was really rather flat and boring, albeit very reasonable. I don't know. I kind of feel the same I felt about Hexwood – it was okay, but nothing remarkable, and the last qua
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, myth-folk
Complex magical setting which is slow to unravel? Winsome and “untalented” boy protagonist? Allegorical plot solved via several unveilings of reality? There are not really any elements that separate The Power of Three from some of my absolute favorite Diana Wynne Jones novels (the Chrestomanci novels, among many others come immediately to mind). And with that in mind, it is really amazing how consistently enjoyable I find her work when The Power of Three shows how easily such disparate parts can ...more
Michael Treadway
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I have yet to come across a Diana Wynne Jones book that I haven't liked.

Her books are humorous, thoughtful, and they are well-planned from beginning to end.

This story was no different.

Power of Three follows the story of three different races–the people, the Dorig, and the giants–as they all share the Moor on which they live. One of the people is cursed by a Dorig, and it causes tremendous troubles for everyone.

The book is surprising, funny, and is one of the very best books I've read in a lo
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jones fans and fantasy readers
Recommended to June by: Goodreads Children group
3 different peoples are living on the moor. The Giants (humans) don't really know about the fairies?, Lyman?, or the Dorig? The Dorig and Lyman have a combative history, though not all of both people feel that it needs to be that way. Then there is the threat to all of the people living on the moor... ...more
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Hmno... not what I expected. For the first 100 pages or so, this book was brilliant, but it just failed to keep me interested. I find it hard to explain why, can't pinpoint it, but I really had trouble finishing it. ...more
Wanted to read this after reading Beth's review.

I liked it. The characters were really strong. I was a little confused figuring out the world at the beginning, but that might be on me.
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. I wish I had found this author nearer to my Brian Jacques and C.S. Lewis age.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So moving and such great messages. One of the few books worth reading over and over again.
Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read this book as a kid, and while I don't remember loving it, it stuck with me, so much that I asked on "What is the name of that book???" Here was how I described it:

"As I remember it, in this book kids all develop a special power as they grow up. There's a limited list of powers, but everyone gets one. The protagonist doesn't though and as time goes on he feels he's a failure. But eventually he does develop a power that hasn't been seen for generations, and it's the powerful-est of powers,
Quinn Smells Books
Really enjoyed rereading this lifelong favourite by one of the beloved authors of my childhood, Diana Wynne Jones. As usual, Jones creates a vivid and engaging fantasy world, compelling plot, and just the right amount of psychological sophistication that can be grasped by a childhood and still appreciated by an adult. Highly recommended to kids and adults alike!

I especially enjoyed the book's original setup - it is a low-fantasy book (i.e. it takes place in our world plus fantastical elements) b
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up to reread because I needed a 'small' book to take to an appointment. It's been a while since I last read it, but I remembered quite a bit - enough that the plot twists and misunderstandings didn't fool me this time. However, it is still an engaging read - the characters of all the children are beautifully drawn, and the world they all live in is also very well described. The 'three' in the title could refer to the three Lymen children's powers or the combined powers of the three ...more
Beppie Keane
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Re-read of a childhood favourite: I rarely see Power of Three pop up on lists of "must read" Diana Wynne Jones novels, but personally, I rate it as one of her best. As a child reading this novel almost twenty years ago, I was drawn to the gentle tale of a boy who believes he is disappointingly ordinary and who learns otherwise, and to the skillful evocation of British landscape and enchanting interpretation of associated mythologies. All of these still appeal to me today, and play a significant ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written story with engaging characters and an interesting ending. Gair is a thoughtful child, feeling and thinking deeply. I enjoyed following this well-realised emotional journey. Wynne Jones adds deep insight and a light humorous touch to a fantasy story which is really about learning to communicate with others and understand yourself. Some aspects of the gender roles are rather dated: it is notable that the boy characters are treated as more central and the girl characters are either p ...more
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I really enjoyed the perspective of this book, it was creative and had a nice twist to it. I would have rated it 5 stars, but had to drop it down to 4 because of the negative narration in regards to an overweight character's appearance. The general theme of the book was overcoming racism, so the casual fat-shaming thrown in seemed very out of place in an otherwise progressive and positive storyline. It was a disappointing and surprising inclusion from an author whom I usually regard incredibly h ...more
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I like to think of this as a meditation on Hannah Arendt's concepts of natality and forgiveness

Of course, at nine, or whatever I was when I first read this, I wasn't making that connection; I just enjoyed a great story. But it's held up over the years
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot. The narration is wonderful, between fairy-tale and children's story but never simple, always with so much between the lines. The characters are great, especially the siblings and friendships, and so are the different cultures and how they all relate to each other. The stakes were high, but for some reason overall this still felt like a very nice read, very hopeful. ...more
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Three Lymen siblings must work with Giants and Dorigs to solve a water problem or something.

Read full review here.
Sandy Millin
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an interesting story with some nice twists but it has some elements which are very much of its time, for example the way that Brenda is described. The messages of the book are positive and it's a pleasant enough read, but it's just that. ...more
Julie Smallwood
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Such a magical book! If you love Diana Wynne Jones' books you'll love this one too. It has fun characters, races I've never seen in other fantasy books and a whole lot of magic! Another beautiful story with a good message. ...more
Alex Ankarr
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I adored this one, a personal favourite. The little surprises are charming, and the teamwork and developing friendships of the characters are a joy.
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not a bad book, but it's not one of her best. It's still a good read. The ending is a little abrupt. ...more
A really lovely, gripping book by Diana Wynne Jones!
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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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