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Group Reads Discussions 2011 > "Charmed Life" First Impressions *no spoilers*

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message 1: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 1639 comments Who'd like to start us off?

Any takers to be discussion leader?


message 2: by Sandy (last edited Jul 03, 2011 05:59AM) (new)

Sandy (SandyLamar) | 88 comments No one took you up on that, and I'm not either. I just finished it, though, and I hate to see a group pick go by with no conversation at all. I finished this book puzzled about its audience, then saw it listed on an elementary school shelf. Perhaps nostalgia played a part in the voting? I gave it three stars, but would quibble about the characterizations, the stilted conversation, etc. However, it was a good plot and the Chrestomanci himself was vivid, so it might catch the imagination of a 6th grader.


message 3: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 1639 comments Yikes! That doesn't sound at all promising, Sandy. Things are looking bleak for this book. I wonder where all the people are who voted for it?


message 4: by Andre (new)

Andre (telyni) | 79 comments I agree, it's a pretty lightweight book for an adult reading club. I just tore through it in a day. It's Diana Wynne Jones though, so it's amusing and interesting, but still lightweight. I have to admit I voted for it, but only because I'd just read Howl's Moving Castle and I wasn't really interested in the other choices for the month. I'd been meaning to read the rest of the series anyway.


Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides (upsight) | 542 comments Yeah, I was surprised and confused that this group picked Charmed Life, given the relatively poor reaction to Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (also a title for a non-adult demographic). This one had its humorous moments. There were elements that adults could appreciate, but at the same time, I have trouble seeing it as an all age groups crossover hit.


message 6: by Kim, The Wanderer (new)

Kim | 1420 comments Mod
I voted for Lamentation :p the above posters are right. This is a very light weight book. It's not even YA, it's children's. And while Howl definitely had some charm to it most of us read it due to the Ghibli film.

Charmed Life is not in the same level and is not at the level I'd expect of this group. The sequel is slightly better but I wouldn't have bothered reading it except the book I got had them both.


message 7: by Cindy (new)

Cindy While it might not be a book that you expected from the group is was voted in with quite a few votes. Not sure where the people are that voted for it.

I positively disagree with the Eon discussion. Sure there were times where it felt like it lagged, but in terms of online discussions it was still one of the better ones. There were plenty of converstaions. All online book groups have lag periods during the month. However, if every group member participated it would lead to great discussions.

It's unrealistic to expect an online discussion to carry on for 30+ days and have something new.

I think Charmed Life won because of the author and that was it. It was very much a first book, and a very low grade elementary book. However, it was not the first time I've seen an elementary book up for voting, so it's not that unusal.


message 8: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreakhost) I'd call Charmed Life timeless, a book which works for adult as well as child readers (though, evidently, not some of the posters above).

The merits of the fate of Gwendolyn leaps to mind as a topic of discussion, but also the function of magic in a 'modern-ish' society. It's also a fair example of DWJ's "adults as an alien species" theme.


message 9: by Snail in Danger (Sid) (last edited Jul 04, 2011 04:45AM) (new)

Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides (upsight) | 542 comments I didn't mean that the Eon discussion was sparse; I meant that (as I recall) there were several people who read it but didn't like it (or aspects of it), and others who expressed reservations because it was a YA title.


message 10: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 1639 comments We will keep this thread up for a few days, but then it will be relegated to the dustbin of history.


message 11: by Maggie (new)

Maggie K | 553 comments It does seem quick, being a holiday weekend and all, but I also agree about the children's books that have been getting nominated recently...when did we turn into a children;s group? lolol
I hate to be a group with too many rules, but maybe children's books should be if not out at least discouraged? I dont know the right answer, but this was unfortunate...


message 12: by ♥Meagan♥ (new)

♥Meagan♥ (fadedrainbows) | 27 comments Maggie wrote: "It does seem quick, being a holiday weekend and all, but I also agree about the children's books that have been getting nominated recently...when did we turn into a children;s group? lolol
I hate..."


Do you mean YA or children's books? Because good YA is worth reading.


Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides (upsight) | 542 comments Even some children's books are worth reading and discussing. I just don't think this is the kind of group where either should be approached without caution, given that there are members who are dubious about YA titles. (I read children's, YA, and adult books, but I recognize that not everyone here does.)


message 14: by Maggie (new)

Maggie K | 553 comments No I agree-I meant children's.

I dont usually care for YA, but I know there is a place for it here


message 15: by Liz (new)

Liz | 179 comments I didn't vote this time, and was out of town until Sunday. I read Charmed Life yesterday. I enjoyed it and am almost finished with The Lives of Christopher Chant. Its nice to just sit back and read a children's book for the joy of it. It gives my brain a vacation. :) With A Dance with Dragons just a few days away, I appreciate the break from adult titles.


message 16: by mark (new)

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 197 comments well, i voted for this one (should i feel guilty about that?) and i loved it. a very enjoyable reading experience! i am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


message 17: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (fireweaver) | 326 comments mark, i liked it quite a bit too, so you're not alone.

first impressions: i'd seen the titles to the discussion threads, so i knew there were plenty of people who had a big ol hate for Gwen. instead of working up to hating her myself, i rather liked her as a character. she's charismatic and determined, and makes an excellent villain. fun!


message 18: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreakhost) She's definitely an excellent villain, and a big driver to the plot of the story - but I sure wouldn't like to have her as a sister!


message 19: by mark (new)

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 197 comments agreed: great villain! what a horrible girl. and the most interesting character in the book, to me.


message 20: by Bets (new)

Bets (CicadaGrrl) | 12 comments I'm so late to talk about this, but this is one of my all time favs since childhood on up. I am completely dumbfounded by the vision of a fluff book.

YA has different tropes and traditions, sure, but they are actually more difficult to effectively write than adult. The book focuses on many aspects of family and what we can expect, how we find bonds, and who can betray us how. Also, the tension of whether Cat is, on some level, like Gwendlyn and would go that route is important. She invokes the timeless garden and innocent death, yet takes them at an unusual angle, as usual with Jones. The plot that may seem simple, when you deconstruct it decision by decision and character by character, actually is quite complex. Try to graph the plot out, and you'll get it.

None of the characters in this novel are perfect. They act according to fears, angers, desires that are specific and well rounded. You appear to have fallen for the classic Jones moment. Her complex and well developed novel is, in fact, written with such fluid ease you fail to recognize how complex it is.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (other topics)
Charmed Life (other topics)
A Dance with Dragons (other topics)
The Lives of Christopher Chant (other topics)