Diana Wynne Jones Fans discussion

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Other Books > Favorite Authors/Books Similar to DWJ?

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message 1: by J. (last edited Jan 30, 2017 08:00PM) (new)

J. K. | 29 comments Hello! I just joined this group a few moments ago- the first time I've done so on Goodreads- and was hoping to get some book suggestions from people who obviously have great taste in books. ;)

Internet searches for "books similar to Diana Wynne Jones'" never yield satisfying results for me. Many of the books they list I've read already and KNOW they are nothing like DWJ in either style or content.

I know DWJ's books are wonderful in their uniqueness, but has anyone come across an author or book they found comparable to her works?

Some likenesses that I'm really looking for that might be easier to pin down then just "good, humorous fantasy" (which I will try to explain briefly to avoid spoilers):

-I love the "dream" aspect of The Lives of Christopher Chant.
-The mood of (my favorite) House of Many Ways. Do you know what I mean? It's just so cozy. Tea!
-DWJ's "brand" of magic. It's a glorious mix, isn't it? It's tactile, it's "willing", it's mirrors and words and powders and words and coloured glass. I love Sophie's and Charmaine's bossy magic and DWJ's concept of "enchanter" magic.
-Plant and herb magic as seen in the Pinhoe Egg! <3
-"Twisted Space" - Like when the inside is bigger than the outside, doors leading to somewhere unexpected, etc. It's classified with or near "portal fantasy" but is a special type I suppose.

I can't think of any more of these right now, but funnily enough I'm realizing my very-much-in-progress fantasy novel has more or less all of these- or the intention of them at least. Oh, for Diana's book-writing vigor. But that's off subject...

Any suggestions, DWJ readers? I'm eager to hear them!

-J.K.


message 2: by Melanie (last edited Jan 30, 2017 08:44PM) (new)

Melanie Pieper (waxesnostalgic) | 32 comments I am always looking for DWJ-feeling books too. XD There's no one quite like her, of course, but I have a few suggestions. Just going to recommend a few of my favorite writers, who happen to have written a few DWJ-like books.

I saw Eva Ibbotson on your to-read list, and she is a bit like DWJ in some of her children's fantasy. I feel the resemblance is often a bit superficial, though Ibbotson is a fantastic author in her own right. (That is probably why you are reading her, though...)

My best recommendation isn't really a children's book, actually, but I think it might be something you might be interested in. Neil Gaiman was one of DWJ's writer-friends (albeit much younger than her), and he was a kind of protege of hers. The character of Nick in Deep Secret is based on a young Neil Gaiman.

A few years ago he wrote a book that was very much in the vein of DWJ called The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I think it may have been a kind of homage to her. It's a lot darker than most of her books (most of his writing is). I also see a lot of her influence in Anansi Boys, though I think a lot of his work reminds me of her. His novel American Gods was inspired by Eight Days of Luke, to a certain extent. He's written children's books too, like Coraline and The Graveyard Book. They don't seem as DWJ-ish to me, for some reason.

I also recommend Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching (Disworld) series, starting with The Wee Free Men. I don't think it's inspired by DWJ at all, but it has a very British magic feel. He's a great satirist, so if you read any of his books you will find yourself laughing out loud.

I think there are a lot of books superficially like DWJ's out there, but I've found very few that actually measure up even remotely. Can't wait to see what others post on here! :)

EDIT: Oh, and I almost forgot. I don't know if you read manga at all, but I think The Ancient Magus' Bride, Vol. 1 series is inspired a little by Diana Wynne Jones. I thought it was a little strange at first when I read it, but then I remembered that she has always been very popular in Japan. Reading this manga helped me understand why better. XD


message 3: by J. (last edited Jan 31, 2017 08:56AM) (new)

J. K. | 29 comments Yay, thank you! I was going to say I had no clue about the Nick / Neil Gaiman thing...but Now I'm thinking I might have read that somewhere... Either way it's a very interesting fact. I wonder if he's a zombie in the mornings. :'D

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a pansy when it comes to "dark" themes. I watched Coraline and while I recognized thst it was a good story...it disturbed me. :( However, your description of this ocean one intrigues me. I'm gonna try it! I usually don't like to read the synopsis but I just read this one and it sounds a bit like Fire and Hemlock! If I like it I know what to try by him next!

British is good. ^_^ I will have to look into that one, too!

Funny you should suggest a manga. I've never read one, but I've been wanting to give it a try. I watch anime sometimes, though I'm very selective. It was actually Miyazaki's beautiful adaption of Howl's Moving Castle that introduced me to DWJ in the first place!

Also, I didn't mention this before, but I just read a book called "Invitation to the Game" by Monica Hughes. It reminded me a bit of DWJ's sci-fi side.

Diana Wynne Jones is such a reader's gem. I'm going to be sorry when I have nothing new-to-me to read by her.

Thanks again for the suggestions!


message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily | 20 comments I thought of Uprooted immediately while reading your post, because it has the same sort of magic - it's not a rigid system of words and spells, but goes more by feel.

I'm also really enjoying the fairy tale retellings by T. Kingfisher, because they combine humor with the darker side of the tales so well. They remind me a bit of Fire and Hemlock.


message 5: by Deborah (new)

Deborah O'Carroll (on break) (deborahocarroll) | 46 comments I read Ocean at the End of the Lane... it didn't remind me personally of DWJ but, although dark and a little creepy, it was definitely beautifully written fantasy. :)

I just love that Nick is based on him... and I just bet he WAS a zombie in the mornings. XD (Best. Ever.)

I've only read one Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!, and it was DWJ reminiscent because it's super funny and likes to take tropes and turn them on their heads. Definitely recommend! I'd like to read more Pratchett soon. :)

A friend of mine has a couple of books that really remind me of DWJ in a way -- the first one came out last year and is called Paper Crowns. It's excellent whimsical fantasy and snarky and funny too, and one of my top favorites! (I do hope the second one will be published, because it's even more DWJ-ish.) Anyways, I highly recommend that one! :D

Although I for some reason didn't care for the ending, The Last Dragonslayer reminded me a bit of her because it's modern but magical in a clever way, so you might enjoy it. :)

I too find some DWJ influence creeping into my writing. I wish there would be more out there!


message 6: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Lambert-Maberly (ashleytylerjohn) | 6 comments While there's no one quite like her, I enjoyed these authors very much--I find them all charming/comforting/not-too-whimsical:

Barry Hughart writes delightful Asian-set fantasies with a very light touch.

Kage Baker has a short fantasy series starting with Anvil of the World that plays with expectations (a la "Howl's Moving Castle", though totally different).

Connie Willis's time-travel adventures are a bit like a grown-up equivalent to DWJ's children's fantasies. Start with the irrepressible "To Say Nothing of the Dog".

Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" is dreamlike, to me at least.

The TV miniseries "The Lost Room" was an exhilarating portal fantasy, though of course it's not a book.

(More different from DWJ, but worth reading if your tastes are at all like mine, would be James Branch Cabell (start with "Figures of Earth"), Patricia Wrede, C. Dale Brittain (if you like cozy--I read her wizard series after my dog died and I could only handle the gentlest of reads), and Matthew Hughes (esp. "Fools Errant").


message 7: by Deborah (new)

Deborah O'Carroll (on break) (deborahocarroll) | 46 comments Oh, how could I forget Patricia C. Wrede!!! (Thanks for the mind-nudge.) I definitely recommend her Enchanted Forest Chronicles (starting with Dealing with Dragons and Searching for Dragons--my personal favorite) and I just read Magician's Ward which is a Regency Fantasy and made me think of DWJ with the magic etc. :)

But yes, there's no one quite like her... ah well, there are always re-reads. ;)


message 8: by Emily (new)

Emily | 20 comments The Dealing with Dragons series and the Sorcery and Cecilia series are the most DWJ, in my opinion :) What a great point!


message 9: by Riia (new)

Riia (daffodilsinjune) | 1 comments I second Uprooted by Naomi Novik. The story is in some ways similar to Howl's Moving Castle and I liked it very much.

I really recommend Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I would compare it to Deep Secret. It's a mystery/thriller with multiple PoVs, the writing is layered, the world is unique and complex. The magic system is awesome. (and witches act as lawyers for gods!)

The Jinx series by Sage Blackwood is the closest to DWJ that I have ever read. I think she has been influenced by her. I think a lot of what you listed can be found in her books.


message 10: by Emily (new)

Emily | 20 comments Riia wrote: "I second Uprooted by Naomi Novik. The story is in some ways similar to Howl's Moving Castle and I liked it very much.

I really recommend Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I would compare it to De..."


The Jinx series sounds amazing! Added to my WTR shelf.


message 11: by Deborah (new)

Deborah O'Carroll (on break) (deborahocarroll) | 46 comments Just added Uprooted and Jinx to my to-read list. They sound good! :D I love this thread. XD


message 12: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Lambert-Maberly (ashleytylerjohn) | 6 comments Uprooted was my favourite book last year (tied with The Goblin Emperor), just wonderful, so much better than expected (I wasn't a huge fan of her dragon series).


message 13: by J. (new)

J. K. | 29 comments Just bought seven books (5 based on these recommendations, 2 DWJ books), not to mention the three I bought yesterday and the three the day before that...whoops! Hoorah for Thriftbooks!

I really wanted to get "Uprooted" since so many of you seemed to love it, but the additions they have right now are pricey! So were the Barry Hughart books.

I saw two different authors connected to a book titled "Paper Crown", but both were out of stock. Who wrote the right one?

This is the best; I'm so excited for these books to start showing up in my mailbox!


message 14: by Deborah (last edited Jan 31, 2017 04:10PM) (new)

Deborah O'Carroll (on break) (deborahocarroll) | 46 comments Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal. :) Don't know if it would be on Thriftbooks. I think you'd have to get it through Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble's website or BookDepository or somewhere like that? It only recently got published, so. Do you use Dealoz at all? It compares prices across the internet. http://dealoz.com/New-Used-Books/Pape...

I hadn't heard of Thriftbooks and just checked it out--looks neat!

Bookmail is the BEST! Hope you enjoy your new reads! :D


message 15: by J. (last edited Jan 31, 2017 04:19PM) (new)

J. K. | 29 comments You've never heard of Thriftbooks?!? Ahhh, it's the best.

-Free shipping on orders over ten bucks, even though all your books can come from different locations!

-Five dollar off coupons for every fifty you spend, and this week it's double rewards so you get five for every twenty five.

-The ability to look at every addition of a title at once- paperback, hardback, library- new, very good, good, and acceptable.

-Lotsa coupon codes. (There's a 15% off one for newbies.)

Geesh they should hire me.

Thanks!


message 16: by Deborah (new)

Deborah O'Carroll (on break) (deborahocarroll) | 46 comments They definitely should hire you. XD I'll be looking into using it in the future, hopefully! Sounds awesome. :)


message 17: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Pieper (waxesnostalgic) | 32 comments J. wrote: "I have to admit that I'm a bit of a pansy when it comes to "dark" themes. I watched Coraline and while I recognized thst it was a good story...it disturbed me. :( However, your description of this ocean one intrigues me. I'm gonna try it! I usually don't like to read the synopsis but I just read this one and it sounds a bit like Fire and Hemlock! If I like it I know what to try by him next! "

If you don't like dark, then Ocean at the End of the Lane might not be the best to start with. It is fairly dark at times (though not as dark as Coraline). Anansi Boys, Stardust and Neverwhere are more light-hearted.

Wow, so many interesting suggestions on here, some I've heard of and some I haven't. Adding Jinx to my PTR, and I'll be looking at some others if I can get my hands on them.

I forgot about Patricia C. Wrede, she has a few DWJ-ish books as well. I like her writing. Jasper Fforde's The Last Dragonslayer reminded me of a lot of DWJ's books, though I couldn't specifically point out any. XD I also enjoyed Uprooted, but it didn't remind me of DWJ much (at least in the writing style). The magic system and the tree-people were reminiscent, though, now that you mention it. :)

Thriftbooks sounds interesting. I will have to look into that. :)


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I love how everything I would have recommended has already been recommended (Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Naomi Novik, Eva Ibbotson, etc) Definitely Diana Wynne Jones fans think alike =)

I would also mention Ursula K. Le Guin. She has a fairly different style, but something about the way the magic is in many of her short stories reminds me of DWJ from time to time. Less so in her novels/cycles (Earthsea and Hainish) which I also love but don't think are especially DWJ-style.

Ultimately nothing is as DWJ as DWJ though...going to have to go do some re-reading now =)


message 19: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Pieper (waxesnostalgic) | 32 comments I remembered another DWJ-ish book that I forgot to mention previously. It's called Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce. It's actually a lot weirder than DWJ, if you can imagine that. XD There are 3 books in the series but I have only read the first two. It's about a girl who gets lost in her magical house.


message 20: by Deborah (new)

Deborah O'Carroll (on break) (deborahocarroll) | 46 comments Melanie wrote: "I remembered another DWJ-ish book that I forgot to mention previously. It's called Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce. It's actually a lot weirder than DWJ, if you can imagine that. XD There are 3 book..."

"weirder than DWJ"? That's impressive! XD Added to my TBR -- thanks for mentioning it! Sounds fabulous.


message 21: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Lambert-Maberly (ashleytylerjohn) | 6 comments It was sitting in my "want to read" list ... I'm going to go ahead and order it now! Thanks.


message 22: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Lambert-Maberly (ashleytylerjohn) | 6 comments Finished Flora Segunda yesterday--yes, weirder than DWJ, but only just so, and absolutely wonderful. Doesn't feel like watered-down DWJ, but does feel like something she could have written had she chosen. Absolutely perfect suggestion--thanks Melanie!


message 23: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Lambert-Maberly (ashleytylerjohn) | 6 comments The Jinx series by Sage Blackwood is the closest to DWJ that I have ever read.

Reading it now, about halfway through, and yes, it's very, very DWJ, sort of DWJ crossed with Gail Carson Levine--it starts out rather Howl's Moving Castle with a Howl-like wizard and a Sophie, even, and then travels into Ella Enchanted territory--thus far, at least! And it's awfully enjoyable, though not quite the magical experience that Flora Segunda was.


message 24: by Emilie (last edited Apr 20, 2017 06:59PM) (new)

Emilie | 62 comments Mod
Oh dear, how did I miss this whole post? I must have been sleeping on gas!
I too have been looking for authors similar to DWJ for years. I'm really glad for all these suggestions, thanks everyone! I've added quite a few to my "to-read" list already and I'm gonna be looking up thriftbooks as well - do they deliver in Canada, I wonder?

Like Naomi said, pretty much all my suggestions have already been covered up, which goes to show we really do share the same reading tastes. Like some of you have said, I've read several of Neil Gaiman's works and although he's a good writer, he doesn't strike me as similar to DWJ. He's perhaps too straightforward. I like complicated, messy plotlines. Same thing goes for Robin McKingley and I've been meaning to read Ursula Le Guin for a while as well.
My personal suggestion would be Terry Pratchett, all the way. He doesn't write magic the way DWJ does, but writes "magically". They both have a knack for twisting up ideas and commonly held views into very surprising new shapes and writing stories ful of complex characters and even more complex plotlines. Where DWJ made fun of humanity's failing through her characters' flaws, however, Pratchett was more of a satire writer and prefered to ridicule society and religion as systems.
So far, I've read half a dozen of his works and I've loved them all, but I would especially recommend Small Gods :)


message 25: by Emilie (new)

Emilie | 62 comments Mod
Silly me, I've clean forgotten about Princess Bride by William Goldman! I know pretty much everyone's seen this movie as a child and has fond memories of it, but the book's writing style - witty, twisted up and delighyfully light and magical - is delightfully similar to DWJ's to my mind.


message 26: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Pieper (waxesnostalgic) | 32 comments Just finished Jinx and really enjoyed it. It did feel a lot like a DWJ novel. In fact, I wanted to read it straight through, which is pretty rare for me lately. I adored the magic system and the doors to other worlds reminded me a lot of the Chrestomanci series and Howl's Moving Castle.

Now I want to read the rest of the series. :)


message 27: by Deborah (new)

Deborah O'Carroll (on break) (deborahocarroll) | 46 comments @Melanie: Awesome! :D Now I want to read Jinx even more... Must make a library trip sometime.


message 28: by Kaion (last edited Jun 04, 2018 05:25PM) (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 28 comments From my experiences looking for DWJ readalikes, including asking for recommendations here: https://www.goodreads.com/recommendat...

Frances Hardinge has my highest recommendation. She writes very literate and clever middle-grade and up fantasy with very interesting, flawed characters. The Lost Conspiracy & Cuckoo Song read as especially DWJ-esque, except with more of a post-colonial and horror-tinged bent, respectively.

Kelly Link stories remind me of the twisty qualities of DWJ's writing, though Link plays more with horror tropes and self-aware post-modernism. Catherynne M. Valente is another favorite-- she works a lot with fairy tales and mythology in her stories, and her writing style is very baroque and lush.


message 29: by Emilie (last edited Oct 15, 2017 04:17PM) (new)

Emilie | 62 comments Mod
Well, thanks for the reccs! I've never heard of most of these authors, but I'll be sure to check them out ;)


message 30: by Deborah (new)

Deborah O'Carroll (on break) (deborahocarroll) | 46 comments Adding some more to my list! I need to make some library trips... :D


message 31: by Yi-Ling (new)

Yi-Ling | 6 comments I too have quested for more authors like the great DWJ! Nobody REALLY comes close but I would recommend Pamela Dean (Tam Lin / The Secret Country trilogy) and Margaret Mahy (The Changeover)! Generally for the elusive mix of common sense / coldly here and now with the otherworldly / mystical, and the richness of ideas and complexity / uniqueness of characters.

Also Robin McKinley probably, but that is known, I think!


message 32: by Emilie (new)

Emilie | 62 comments Mod
More books to try! Always a pleasure to discover new authors who have a similar writing style to DWJ. As for myself, I recently read "The Magic Mirror" by Susan Hill Long. Although it was not nearly as complex and rich as Jones', its narrative somewhat reminded me of her style. It was a pretty good book.


message 33: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Lambert-Maberly (ashleytylerjohn) | 6 comments Another suggestion: Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren is astonishingly Diana Wynne Jones ... not warmed-over DWJ, not derivative DWJ, but it truly reads (for me) like a DWJ, period. It's more Ogre Downstairs than Charmed Life, but still, I'll take it! It's set in Vancouver rather than Britain, but it evokes DWJ on so many levels, esp. the sense of organized confusion and the gradual piecing together of what's going on.

( Weave a Circle Round)




message 34: by Deborah (new)

Deborah O'Carroll (on break) (deborahocarroll) | 46 comments Ashley wrote: "Another suggestion: Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren is astonishingly Diana Wynne Jones ... not warmed-over DWJ, not derivative DWJ, but it truly reads (for me) like a DWJ, period. It's more Ogr..."

Ooh, I've had my eye on this one for awhile but now I'm even more interested if it had a DWJ feel to you! Thanks for the heads-up! :)


message 35: by Emilie (new)

Emilie | 62 comments Mod
Ashley wrote: "Another suggestion: Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren is astonishingly Diana Wynne Jones ... not warmed-over DWJ, not derivative DWJ, but it truly reads (for me) like a DWJ, period. It's more Ogr..."

I will have to looks this up too! Thanks for sharing :) So many books, so little time~ (and empty shelving space)


message 36: by Kaion (last edited Jun 04, 2018 05:50PM) (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 28 comments Recently loved Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, which is a clever post-colonial take on the neo-Victorian fantasy. Definitely had DWJ feels in there too, complete with a ghost mentor, awesome old ladies, and of course, the zany ending with a last-page romance. :)

I also recently DNFed Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow which felt very reminiscent of the Chrestomanci books. It was ultimately too manic for me, but it may work better for you.

This thread is getting quite long in the tooth. Would anyone find it helpful for me to start a list?

Looks like there is already one: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...
Everyone come on by!


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