Verena's Reviews > The Time of the Ghost

The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones
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's review
Nov 08, 2010

really liked it

Anyone who has read a couple of books by Diana Wynne Jones knows that anything can happen and the explanation in the end is almost never the one you expected it to be in the beginning. This is true for Time of the Ghost, too, and although it certainly is not Diana Wynne Jones' best book, it was nonetheless great fun to watch the story unfold and find out what's behind all the strange goings-on.

I agree that it is to a certain amount darker than her other books, a little more disturbing, too. I've always felt that she doesn't shy away from darker themes or ideas, and I've always liked that, actually. I think even (or especially!) if you write children's or YA books, it's a good thing to admit to at least the potential for cruelty and violence in humans. (That said, this book is neither cruel nor violent and I wouldn't have any doubts about giving it to my 10 year old nephew.)

Confusion-wise I felt it is roughly on a level with Hexwood (which I love dearly), and it has a similar twist in the middle that leaves you with a bunch of question marks floating over your head. But, as usual with DWJ, things get cleared up in the end (and rather quickly). At no point in the book it felt exasperating to me, it only added to the need to read on!

What fascinated me was the great characterization, as DWJ leaves enough room for interpretation, change and imperfections in the characters to make them thoroughly real in their strangeness (Fenella must be one of the coolest characters I've come across in a while). Due to the nature of the protagonist it was a bit difficult to follow through with the old relatin', but it didn't stop me from enjoying the book and offered a refreshing change of method to explore the story. The ending was a bit rushed, as Mrs Jones tends to wrap up things quickly, but personally I don't mind - it's as if she's saying "here's my explanation, now think about it yourself".
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