Thursday, March 15, 2012
DWJ March: The Magicians of Caprona
When I first read The Magicians of Caprona, I said that it wasn't as good as the first two Chrestomanci stories. I take that back. This is a classic Diana Wynne Jones tale and I really enjoyed it on second read. I think my first judgment was because I had just fallen in love with a handsome enchanter and wanted to keep reading about him and, sadly, he only makes a brief appearance in this story. But, being in a different frame of mind this time, I was able to just focus on the story and it was fun!
Tonino is the youngest son of Antonio Montana. His magical family lives in Caprona, a state in an alternate-universe never-unified Italy. Also there is the Petrocchi family, the other strong magical family of the land. The two spell-houses hold the city together but they hate each other due to a decades-old feud. Unfortunately, their feud makes each house weaker and more vulnerable to an evil enchanter who has decided to destroy Caprona. Unless they come together, they can never complete the task that Chrestomanci has set for them -- to find the true words to the powerful hymn, "The Angel of Caprona".
With hints of a Montague/Capulet type-feud and a lot of magic, this is simply an exciting tale. The writing was so vivid that I could picture the entire story clearly in my head. In fact, I think it would make a great Miyazaki-style animated film. It's too bad that he's wrapping up his film career now.
I'm so glad I gave this story a second chance. Of course, it's getting harder now to rank my favorite DWJ stories because it's no longer clear which ones I like least!
Singing a hymn of magic and joy,