Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My DWJ Journey ... Past and Present

As you probably have realized by now, this week is not my first foray into Diana Wynne Jones territory.  A few years ago, I noticed that Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle was based on Diana's book of the same name.  I decided to buy the book and, though it turned out that it didn't really provide much more than inspiration for the movie, I fell in love with the novel as well.  Soon after, I bought Castle in the Air, a sequel of sorts to Howl (but not related to Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky, if you were wondering).  It turned out to be widely different in setting and tone and only a sequel in that there are some character crossovers.  But still, I couldn't get enough!

I searched for what to read next (based widely on what was in print at the time) and found the first volume of The Chronicles of Chrestomanci with the novels Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant.  I absolutely adored those stories!  After that, I devoured the second (The Magicians of Caprona and Witch Week) and third (Conrad's Fate and The Pinhoe Egg) Chrestomanci volumes.  I was incredibly sad to be done with the series and therefore thrilled when I found out later about Mixed Magics, a collection of short stories set in the same worlds (and yes, there are multiple worlds in the series!).

Next, I probably read Aunt Maria (pronounced "Mariah").  It was incredibly different in tone from any of the others I had read so far.  At first, I wasn't sure if I liked it but over time the ideas have grown on me and I hope to read it again soon.  Then I moved on to Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin, a duo of books in a completely magical world -- with a mixed family of wizards and griffins!  This was the point where I most likely realized that the only expectation one should have when going into a DWJ novel is an expectation of quality.  Her subjects and the depth in which she delves into them varies quite a bit from story to story.

Then the time came when House of Many Ways was released -- another loose sequel to Howl.  This is one of my absolute favorites.  I followed it up with The Game and, quite recently, Enchanted Glass (another favorite) and then we come to Diana Wynne Jones Week!  I've read four new books for this week and it's going to be hard not to just keep going, reading and re-reading her books forever.

Besides keeping up with my reviews this week, be sure and revisit my posts on Enchanted GlassThe Game and The Chronicles of Chrestomanci (all six books).

Reliving the joy,


  1. I love how different all her books are to anything that came before them. It's caused me some disappointed expectations in the past, but in the long run I've loved it to death.

  2. --> [t]he only expectation one should have when going into a DWJ novel is an expectation of quality

    I totally agree with you on this :) And thanks for visiting my blog earlier.

  3. I already put the omnibus w/ the firs two Christomanci books on hold thanks to Gavin, but this post has made me even more excited to get them. :D

  4. Jenny - I had disappointed expectations too (like with The Game) but when I look back, each book seems wonderful now. :)

    Lightheaded - Thanks for coming by too!

    Eva - I couldn't resist and I grabbed my copy last night. I'm reading Charmed Life today!

  5. I really need to check out this author!!!!