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Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant, Conrad's Fate, The Pinhoe Egg

Part 2 covers The Magicians of Caprona, Witch Week and the short stories

Reading Order
Diana Wynne Jones herself recommends reading Charmed Life first, followed by The Lives of Christopher Chant. Then Conrad's Fate, Witch Week, The Magicians of Caprona and the short stories can be read in any order after that. The Pinhoe Egg is set soon after Charmed Life.

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci series includes Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant in Volume 1. Volume 2 contains Witch Week and The Magicians of Caprona, and Volume 3 is the collected short stories also known as Mixed Magics.

Charmed Life

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HarperCollins 2007 Classic click for larger picture

Description from book:
Cat and Gwendolen were orphans, and when an old friend of their father's, the mysterious Chrestomanci, came visiting and offered to adopt them, Gwendolen, who was already studying Advanced Magic, knew that she was destined for Great Things - for hadn't the Fortune-Teller predicted that one day she'd rule the world? Cat, who had never been able to manage turning brass buttons to gold, wasn't so sure he was going to enjoy his new life. But then what he thought didn't count for much. Ancient and turreted, Chrestomanci Castle was every bit as grand as Gwendolen had hoped. But there were disappointments. No butler opened the door to her, no lavish banquets were given in her honour. Instead, she and Cat had to do lessons in the schoolroom with Chrestomanci's two children, and worse of all she was forbidden to practice magic except under supervision. In fact, she wasn't being treated with the respect she deserved, and she very quickly decided to do something about that. It was difficult for Cat, who clung to his unpredictable sister as the only familiar person left in his life, especially when he guessed that Gwendolen was planning to go to far, and he didn't see how he could stop her. He didn't realise, though, quite how ambitious Gwendolen's ultimate plan was, nor how closely he himself was involved in it.

Magic is an everyday affair in the charmed world of this story, and you never know who may turn out to be a witch or enchanter. Like every book by Diana Wynne Jones, it bubbles with invention, and as the story unfolds the people in it grow and change with all the surprisingness of real life.

Charmed Life won the 1977 Guardian Award for Children's Books.

The Lives of Christopher Chant

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Christopher often makes night-time trips to the Twelve Related Worlds. He thought there was nothing unusual about this until his Uncle Ralph hears of it and sends him on mysterious missions. One such mission reveals Christopher's very special magic powers - gifted with nine lives, he is destined to become the next Chrestomanci, the greatest magician in the country.

Christopher goes to study at the formidable Chrestomanci Castle, but even here he is not safe. Outside, the forces of evil are poised for attack and Christopher is losing his lives at an alarming rate. Can Christopher defeat his enemies alone, before his remaining lives run out?

REVIEW by 11-year old Elina Chin:

"I think that The Lives of Chistopher Chant book is the best book I have ever read. It's hilariously funny, and just so amazing. I couldn't believe that now I love them, that I had never heard of The Worlds of Chrestomanci series. The book is a wonderful story of Christoper Chant thinking he is just a normal boy with no magical power at all, and then he is amazed at the force of his magic when he gets rid of all his silver things. This book, I recommend to everyone who has not read this. You will laugh yourself to death, and follow the adventures of Christopher. "

Conrad's Fate Click for bigger picture

Conrad is a pleasant, well-meaning boy. But he is doomed to a terrible fate unless, his magician uncle discovers, he murders the person he was meant to kill in a previous life. His attempt to correct his karma brings Conrad into contact with a strange boy called Christopher Chant. See separate review, written on publication, March 2005

Click for larger pictureThe Pinhoe Egg

Young Cat from Charmed Life is settling in to learning to be a young enchanter when he is given a mysterious egg. See separate review, written on publication, September 2006




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