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Conrad's Fate

(Chrestomanci #5)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  9,405 ratings  ·  476 reviews
"Unless you put right what you did wrong in your previous life -- and put it right now -- you are going to be horribly and painfully dead before the year's out." Someone at the mysterious Stallery Mansion is pulling the possibilities. At first only small details change -- the color of the mailboxes, the titles of books -- but the changes keep getting bigger and bigger. It' ...more
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Greenwillow Books (first published March 2005)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  9,405 ratings  ·  476 reviews

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mark monday
kids have to beware of a lot of things, sometimes their own families most of all. that seems to be an underlying theme to several of the books in Diana Wynne Jones' splendid series of standalone fantasy novels for children. families are dangerous. they will let you down, they will break your heart, they will take advantage of you if it furthers their greedy ambitions, they will neglect you if you don't fit into their schemes. such a harsh and heavy theme for books whose main appeal to me is the ...more
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The incredible thing about this book is that there appear to be at least two other novels worth of plot going on behind the scenes of what we see, and Diana Wynne Jones just doesn't give a fuck. She throws out plot points and tropes like they're on clearance and whether or not they receive any resolution or explanation is entirely left to capricious whim. There are not one but TWO secretly-evil manipulative uncles ("I get it, bro" - Christopher Chant), two offscreen secret romances, one beautifu ...more
Book Riot Community
It’s been a while since I read the Chrestomanci series, so when I started out with the first book, I just kept going until I’d reread the whole thing. My favorite out of the lot, curiously enough, is right in the middle of the series. Conrad’s Fate is a later book by Diana Wynne Jones, and I don’t often hear much about it, but it’s just as good as the rest of the series and a perfect example of what makes Diana Wynne Jones great. The worldbuilding, little character moments, and just general, wel ...more
Conrad's Fate is the fifth in Diana Wynne Jones's marvelous Chrestomanci series, about a powerful enchanter who controls the magic in a universe a few worlds over from our own.

Conrad Tesdinic lives with his mother, his sister Anthea, and his uncle Alfred in Stallchester, in the English Alps. High in the mountains above Stallchester is Stallery Mansion, where someone is working magic, pulling the possibilities so that the details of life are constantly changing a little -- one day the mailboxes
Alyssa Nelson
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
Maybe I should just turn this blog into a Diana Wynne Jones fan blog with how much I’ve been reading her lately–her books are just so good and perfect! Conrad’s Fate continues the Chronicles of Chrestomanci series. I really like this series because each book has a different feel to it, since they all have different main characters and take place in different universes. In this book, Conrad’s uncle tells him that he has bad karma and a terrible fate, so he must go up to the castle and get a job a ...more
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly spellbinding story about a boy with supposed bad karma.

I loved this book and found it almost impossible to put down.
Every page is a key to the rest of the story and everything fits together at the end.
Just a wonderful book.
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: g-slur, fatphobic
faphobia, g-slur, ableist slurs.

Also fun! I liked Conrad but I think this book was made even better because of Christopher. His teenage self was hilarious and just as sarcastic.
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, fantasy, ya
Downton abbey with comedy and magic! Young Christopher Chant and Millie! Interesting mystery! And a great protagonist Conrad. What more can you want from the book!
Conrad's Fate is the story of Conrad Tesdinic, who is told by his uncle that he has bad karma, because he's neglected to kill someone he should've killed in a previous life. He is sent up to work at Stallery Mansion, where this person he has to kill supposedly lives. All he has is the promise that he will know who to kill when he meets this person, and a way to call a Walker who will provide him with what he needs to do the killing. But it's not as easy as it sounds, the world is very magical an ...more
Feb 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had forgotten I'd read this before, so I read it again. This time I'm giving it four stars.

This is one DWJ's worse, which is why I'm giving it three stars - really I'd like to give it four, at least. Like The Pinhoe Egg, this lacks the perfection of character and form of the 'real' four Chrestomanci books. It drags at the start and squashes the conclusion into the last chapter, and relies on an unrealistic omission by Anthea to create the plot.

Naturally, though, it i
Pam Baddeley
Although published later this volume could be read as following on from 'The Lives of Christopher Chant' as Chrestomanci, as a teenager, is a main character. However, the story is told in the first person by Conrad, who has been raised in a book shop in the alternative universe known as series 7. This is a world where magic works, and the town nestles below a mountain in the English Alps (there is no British Isles and the land forms part of continental Europe) where a big house called Stallery i ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hadn't reread this since it first came out, so rereading now was odd and delightful. Teen!Christopher (and Conrad and Millie) are delightful as ever and the plot is full of exciting hijinks, but I was startled by how abrupt the ending is. A lot of the stuff involving the Travelers is a bit cringey now, and also, it was WILD to realize how very little we get of Anthea--I have such enormous fondness for her and so much of a sense of who she is that just...isn't on the page? It really reminded me ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5* not as fun as the previous two due to less magic presence also i wanted christopher's pov more i think
ending was a little rushed/epilogue was a bit cheap imo but it's nice

my hold for the hate u give came thru so idk if i should start the next one or read both concurrently or what hm
Lis Carey
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: f-sf
This is a new Chrestomanci novel, this time set in a Series Seven world where Christopher Chant has, for various good and sufficient reasons of his own, gone in defiance of his guardian and teacher, Gabriel de Witt.

But this is really the story of Conrad Tesdinic, who has grown up in a bookstore with an inattentive mother who spends all her time writing; an uncle who generously allows his sister and her family to live with him after her husband sold his share of the bookstore to her brother, gamb
Mindy Conde
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
I finished my third Chrestomanci book, Conrad's Fate, and while I still quite enjoyed it, I think the previous two I've read, Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant, were a bit better. This one was fun, we followed young Christopher Chant in his years before taking over the role of Chrestomanci; this time he was posing as a domestic in the grand estate of Stallchester in the dimension of Series 7 while searching for his enchantress friend, Mille in the ever-shifting worlds surrounding t ...more
Sam at A Journey Through Pages
Review from A Journey Through Pages

Although for the other two volumes of Chrestomanci I reviewed the stories together, this time around there's a lot more to both stories and they have improved in quality so I'm splitting my post up to cover each one.

First of all, I love Christopher aka Cat's Chrestomanci in this book. It shows how his personality developed from The Lives of Christopher Chant to the character of Chrestomanci in all the other books. He's begun to take on that dramatic well dresse
Lari Don
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
Possibly my favourite of the Chrestomanci novels, this is about a boy who is sent to work at the local castle by his uncle in order to kill someone, because it is his fate to do so. It’s a wonderful mix of magic and reality, like so many of Diana Wynne Jones’s books: the magic coming from the castle interferes with TV reception in the town below, and Conrad’s mum isn’t much help to anyone because she’s deep in writing a book (which always makes me feel bad…) The tale of Conrad’s fate, and how Co ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Natasha asked me about what I was reading and I tried to explain. That it's alternate universes, some with magic, some with technology, some with both, and the magician in charge of keeping thins in line, and magicians with nine lives, and kinds in boarding schools, and feuding families in Italy, and...well, all of that isn't in this one, but the series is kind of all over the place, wherever an interesting story occurred to her. And there's no big overarching storyline, as there is in Harry Pot ...more
Fun book, though the pacing is a little odd, I think. It suddenly gets frantic at the end, so many events cramped into the space that would've gone to describe less than a day earlier in the book. That didn't quite work for me -- sedate to breakneck in five seconds flat. But then, that happens a lot in Diana Wynne Jones' work, to a greater or lesser extent, for me.

Besides, it's another one of those where the answers are right in front of the main character the whole time and he just doesn't get
Brenda Clough
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite as good as MAGICIANS OF CAPRONA or LIVES OF CHRISTOPHER CHANT, but all Christopher is good. I could wish that the final resolution was clearer. I am still trying to sort out who is who. (If Amos is actually Conrad's uncle -- the brother of his father -- then who is Uncle Alfred? I kind of think Alfred is the brother of Conrad's -mother-, but then how can he pretend to the lordship of the castle after eliminating other family members? Wouldn't Conrad himself be a more likely heir?) And ...more
First Second Books
Any time you want a strong dose of the fantastical, Diana Wynne Jones is there for you!

This book tells the story of a kid with a terrible uncle who makes him drop out of school and lands him a job at a house sitting on a dimensional rift – with the people who live there actively (and accidentally) trying to make it worse.

Unfortunately, it’s a little difficult to solve interdimensional magical problems when you’re also trying to learn how to do your very first job. . . .

This book is delightful
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A most beguiling fantasy tale, set in a world (or worlds) just sideways of our own. I felt the resolution was a bit too neat, but the stakes along the way are very high and there's some excellent depictions of high weirdness, as well as the domestic hurly-burly of a large household and great characters.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Diana Wynne Jones has never written a bad book in her life. Conrad's Fate has some of the most interesting magic in it that I've ever read, but it's almost hard to notice under the charming prose and enchanting characters.
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The scene where Conrad and Christopher are learning to cook eggs is probably the most funny scene in any book ever. That's where humor peaked.
Ketutar Jensen
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So exciting! Hoo!
An Odd1
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Elegant line drawings heading 20 chapters underscore humor. Sunnyside-up eggs and sliding slices of bacon decorate like shoe buckles below striped silk stockings p 160, when probabilities shift where Conrad 12 and his fellow page, incognito Christopher Chant 15, learn to cook an alternate breakfast menu choice at Stallery manor. Most transformations are minor or ignored, "half Stallchester thinks postboxes were always blue" not red p 19.

Like Jones' previous "Lives of Christopher Chant", naïve b
Annette Fuller
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cross-posted
I was initially going to write individual book reviews for each novel in the Chronicles of Chrestomanci series. But the way I remember and interact with them is always as a unit, so it makes more sense to do a review of the series itself.

In broad strokes: Diana Wynne Jones crafts a fascinating world just a few steps removed from our own. In fact, our own world is one of the multiple worlds present in this universe, I’m sure, but most of these stories take place in a world very similar to ours, b
A boy with bad karma searches for the source of it at a magical estate, and stumbles into the company of a young Christopher Chant. This is the first in Chrestomanci book (and, IIRC, the first DWJ book I've read) to be in first person; I don't actively dislike the switch, but nor does it add any particularly distinct narrative voice. The upstairs/downstairs estate setting is lively, and DWJ as always nails the lived details and critical humor which make it work; I wish the final reveals hadn't u ...more
Emma Rose Ribbons
Conrad's Uncle tells him one day that his karma is so awful he needs to go undercover as a servant in a mansion and destroy the person who's affecting his Fate so much. There, Conrad meets Christopher and chaos ensues.

I really enjoyed this. I loved Conrad and all the supporting characters, and the adventure between different worlds was incredibly fun. The conclusion is hard to follow, though, and I never felt cosy reading this hence the four stars but it's a super fun story. Loving this series.
This might be my favorite of the series. For one, there's a lot of Cat. For another, Conrad's story arc and characterization is very well done. For another, the set pieces are really good. If not my favorite, it's at the very least the most satisfying of the series.
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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

Chrestomanci (6 books)
  • Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1)
  • The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #2)
  • Witch Week (Chrestomanci, #3)
  • The Magicians of Caprona (Chrestomanci, #4)
  • The Pinhoe Egg  (Chrestomanci, #6)

Articles featuring this book

If you love the fantasy genre, this is the season for you! Some of the biggest books out this fall promise to be epics full of magic, adventure,...
162 likes · 41 comments
“After that, all the while Millie was eating the pudding... we both tore Christopher's character to shreds. It was wonderful fun.... He drove everyone mad in Chrestomanci Castle by insisting on silk shirts and exactly the right kind of pajamas. 'And he could get them right anyway by magic,' Millie told me, 'if he wasn't too lazy to learn how.... But the thing that really annoys me is the way he never bothers to learn a person's name. If a person isn't important to him, he always forgets their name.'
When Millie said this, I realized that Christopher had never once forgotten my name...”
“People are wrong when they say things like, “I didn’t have time to think.” If you’re really worried, or really miserable, those feelings come welling up around the edges of the other things you’re doing, so that you are in the feelings even when you’re working hard at something else.” 15 likes
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