Danya's Reviews > Charmed Life

Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
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really liked it
bookshelves: books-i-own, fantasy, rock-my-tbr-2017, flights-of-fantasy-2017

3.5 stars. I think I may have read this one many, many years ago, but I really didn't remember anything about it. I found it was pretty slow-moving for the first three-quarters, and then in the last quarter it was like everything happened at once! Like what happens when reading many Diana Wynne Jones books, I was confused at times about what was going on, how things worked in this world, and that sort of thing. There are hints at the mystery as the story goes along, but since Cat is the main character and he doesn't really understand everything going on, as the reader I didn't either. Thankfully several of my questions were answered, although I was still left wondering about a few things: (view spoiler)

The rules for working magic are very vague (also quite typical of a Diana Wynne Jones book), and it was left a little unclear the difference between different types of magic-workers (such as witches versus enchanters), but I think at some point I just accepted that it was going to be vague and that random magical things could happen with little explanation.

As for characters, my, was Gwendolen Chant ever infuriating. I just wanted to smack some sense and decency into that head of hers. She was so revoltingly selfish and self-obsessed, and a good part of the reason that I didn't like the first half of the book as much as the second. Cat, I really loved -- he was sweet and well-meaning and surprisingly loyal to his sister, and sure, he tended to hang back and make the mistake of not being assertive enough, but his flaws were the kind you can forgive (as opposed to Gwendolen's). And Chrestomanci was very entertaining, and his type of character – enigmatic, secretive, highly clever and powerful magician – is right up my alley.

All in all, it's not my favourite Diana Wynne Jones book (that's Howl's Moving Castle , of course) but I enjoyed it.
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Reading Progress

April 29, 2017 – Shelved
April 29, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
April 29, 2017 – Shelved as: books-i-own
April 29, 2017 – Shelved as: fantasy
June 2, 2017 – Started Reading
June 2, 2017 –
page 86
34.13% ""I won't put up with it!" Gwendolen shouted at him. "In future, my letters are going to come to me closed!"

"You mean you want me to steam them open and stick them down afterwards?" Chrestomanci asked doubtfully. "It's more trouble, but I'll do that if it makes you happier."

Also, man, is Gwendolen ever a pain. Loving Cat's character though :)"
June 3, 2017 –
page 190
75.4%
June 3, 2017 – Shelved as: rock-my-tbr-2017
June 3, 2017 – Finished Reading
August 28, 2017 – Shelved as: flights-of-fantasy-2017

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