Tag Archives: magic

BOOK REVIEW: Chrestomanci series Pt. 3

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(continued from the last post)

I think “Witch Week” was the hardest to get through the beginning…The entire first half felt less intriguing than the other books we had read in the series up til then and I found myself a little disappointed, but persevering, knowing that it would get better. And WOW DID IT. That one had a hum-dinger conclusion and might even have been one of the most exciting conclusions…Well, maybe…”The Magicians of Caprona” did too…Come to think of it…ALL of these books end up truly exciting in the end and leave you wanting MORE. I seriously cannot pick my number one favorite!

The really interesting thing about this series is that each book is so very different. And the story doesn’t need to be read in a chronological order unless you choose to do so. I have been following the sequence from the order that I found on the author’s wikipedia page. I chose to follow the order that it states the author recommended. (Scroll down to the bibliography section and you’ll find it there.) But interestingly, there really doesn’t seem to matter a whole lot the order that you read them in. (They do list the internal chronological order, if that’s how you’d like to read them.)

I found it really intriguing that most of the books do not have many overlapping characters or plots. The only consistency in all (so far…We haven’t read the book of short stories yet) is the character Christopher Chant, who is in every one of the books, but at different points of his life. It was interesting to read “Charmed Life” first, as he is an adult in that one, but then after reading that to go to “The Lives of Christopher Chant” next, where it goes back in time and starts with his childhood. (That was another one that dragged initially…but again, hang in there. Its very worth it!) For the most part you could actually read the books in any order. It really doesn’t seem to matter going back and forth along Christopher’s timeline.

From an educational standpoint, this series’ language, plot development and characters are all very in-depth, well developed and engaging, as well as likeable.

So, my point is…check this series out! This is not a new series, as the first was written in 1977, but they are every bit as good as Harry Potter. Truly.

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Sadly, as with Harry Potter, there will be no more.

The author, Dianna Wynne Jones, passed away just this past March.

Sad smile

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BOOK REVIEW: Chrestomanci series Pt. 2

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I started talking about this series in April, when we first discovered it and started reading the first volume (which included 2 of the books: “Charmed Life” and “The Lives of Christopher Chant”). At that point I was intrigued and had just started enjoying this series…Now we have worked our way through 5 of this series and are halfway through a 6th.

At this point I can honestly say WOW! This is an AWESOME SERIES!!!

I am not planning on reviewing all of the books in this series individually, as I think its enough to say they are ALL GOOD! Right now we are working on “The Pinhoe Egg”, finally. (That was the first book that I found on the library shelf that introduced me to the entire series, and we have finally gotten to it.) This one jumps right into an interesting plot where some of the others took some time to get to the exciting parts…Some did drag at times in the beginning, but hang in there. Its truly worth sticking it out.

Stay tuned for more on this fantastic series in the coming week…

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BOOK REVIEW: Have you heard of the “Chrestomanci” series?

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I found the book “The Pinhoe Egg” on the shelf at the library recently (facing out on top of a shelf…that is such a brilliant way to get people to find new books to read! I find things for my kids and myself like this all the time!) and checked it out as it looked interesting…lots of magic and such…Then I discovered it was part of a series and was not the first book. Being a bit obsessive about having to read books in order, I researched it online and found the first 2 books were available in one volume and ordered that from our local library. Just today finished reading the first in Volume I, “Charmed Life,” aloud to my 10yr old daughter (we LOVE reading together even at her age when she’s already whizzing through books on her own)…We are hooked! Without taking a break, we jumped right into the next book in this volume, “The Lives of Christopher Chant,” we were enjoying this series so much!

“Charmed Life” is about a world of magic…It’s being compared on the web to Harry Potter but I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series and I really don’t find many similarities other than the fact that there is a lot of magic and witchcraft. This series is also much older, written originally in the 1970s, I believe, and as such the language is quite different from the Harry Potter series, I think. It just has a very different feel to it, although I am finding I am enjoying it equally as much as the HP series. 🙂

The main characters are a young boy named Cat and his older sister Gwendolyn. The story follows their lives after they are orphaned and come to live in the large castle home of the infamous “Chrestomancy.” Gwendolyn proves to be a particularly hot-headed and arrogant character, regularly wreaking havoc on all who get in her way or don’t bow down to her magic talent with appropriate adoration. Poor Cat gets dragged along for the ride and frequently trod upon in the process. But the story gets particularly interesting halfway through with many twists and turns, and I cannot say any more or I would spoil things!

For the most part I would say this book is appropriate for children, although there are some dark aspects…lives threatened and some dark magical images, and such. There is one scene with a spanking that some children might find disturbing. But I am particularly sensitive to violent content for my children and didn’t find this book to be a problem for my 10yr old. My 5yr old didn’t find it of much interest as the language is pretty over his head, so I didn’t have to worry about what he might hear, and its only really parts at the end of the book that I would have wanted to keep from his young ears.

I really like the language this author uses throughout this book, as it was often complex and introduced my daughter (and often even myself!) to words that we never hear in everyday language in our modern world. The character and plot development was also really well done and we found ourselves rooting for young Cat and booing his wicked sister regularly, making reading quite fun!

I highly recommend this series so far, and will post reviews of the subsequent books as we complete them…we are already enjoying the 2nd book in this series, “The Lives of Christopher Chant,” after only a few chapters!

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