- Genre: Children’s Fantasy
- Published: 1975
- Pages: 203
I read this to take part in Jenny’s Books Diana Wynne Jones week from the first to the seventh of August. If you don’t know already, as I’m sure this author has cropped up a few times in earlier posts – she is one of my favourite authors. I won’t go on too much about how amazing I think she is and that I think everyone should just drop what you’re reading now and go and read Howl’s Moving Castle. I won’t do that. I’ll just let you know how I found this book.
It is the summer holidays and David Allard has to spend his summer with his awful relatives. He lives with Aunt Dot and Uncle Bernard and his Cousin Ronald and his wife Astrid. They’re all perfectly horrible, so he’s quite glum at the prospect of all those weeks being told to be grateful. Then Luke turns up and David’s summer holidays become a lot more fun – and extremely weird.
Typical of DWJ her books contain shoddy parenting and grumpy, sometimes evil gardeners. What more could you want? This was a fun, imaginative read that I had a great time reading. In typical Diana Wynne Jones fashion the fantasy and the magic just oozes out from around corners. She rarely spends much time explaining things because when you read one of her books you simply, just magically know and I can’t explain how.
I don’t want to say too much more about the book – it’s quite short and so I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. It probably isn’t my favourite of hers. One of her flaws is that she does tend to dash things out a little too quickly and this one didn’t seem to have the strength of characterisation that is so strong in the other books I have read. Luke felt a little generic and not as fleshed out as I’d have liked. It is however a good, fun, enjoyable read.
It loosely inspired Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in that he found out his fantastic idea had already been thought up by Diana Wynne Jones. I wonder if the Wallsey in this book is any relation to the town of Wall in Gaiman’s Stardust?
What I do love about her books is that I always feel that they never end and that they just carry on after the pages stop She always leaves you satisfied with the end, but she doesn’t let the characters or the world die, just because that part of the story is over. In that way, her stories are never ending. Diana Wynne Jones created a multi-dimensioned, multi-universed world in Chrestomanci – and in a way that is where all her books are based. In different worlds, different times, split by different histories but all inter-linked. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t need to spend a lot of time explaining the world, because if you read enough of her books, you’re already there.
If you are interested, you can also check out my Time of the Ghost review.