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,


  1. I read the first two Chrestomanci books a couple months ago and just checked The Magicians of Caprona out of the library. I'm glad to hear that it lives up to the previous books - this is a well-written and highly entertaining fantasy series. I'm quite looking forward to continuing the series.

  2. That phenomenon where DWJ books are awesomer on a reread STRIKES AGAIN. It is a real phenomenon. Ever since Time of the Ghost became amazing, I too have difficulty in selecting my least favorite DWJ book.

  3. I know I said this the other day on Twitter, but YAY that you enjoyed this better the second time around. This is definitely one of my three favorites of the series.

  4. Biblibio - I hope you love all of the series. I wish it had been able to go on much longer than 6 books and some short stories. There are so many more tales in that world!

    Jenny - I believe you. It's a real phenomenon. The same thing is happening with Dark Lord of Derkholm right now too. I can't read it fast enough when the first time I was a bit confused and lost. I think it's that DWJ makes you love her characters by the end of each book and so when you pick it up again the next time, you are visiting old friends. :)

    Amanda - It is a very well-built story with some great characters. I'm already looking forward to my next reread of it!