I grew up reading the books of Diana Wynne Jones as a pre-teen and teenager and it was most wonderful to be able to return to her work as an adult.
The story has twists and turns, secrets and spells. Here is the story of Cat Chant and his sister Gwendolyn. After barely surviving death by drowning and losing their parents, they are sent to live with the dashing (and remarkably well-dressed) Chrestomanci at Chrestomanci Castle. Gwendolyn sees an avenue to really show off her witchcraft, but Cat is somewhat disappointed to leave Mrs. Sharp on Coven street. At the castle, Cat has to learn the secrets of what his sister has been plotting, discover the true nature of Chrestomanci, and learn who he really is. There are many suprises in store for the reader and most will enjoy the well-developed characters and interesting plot.
The story is well read by a very talented narrator. The inflection for each character is very well defined and the pace keeps the reader (or listener) interested. I would recommend this to adults and children alike. Originally published in print in 1977 followed in 1988 by its prequel The Lives of Christopher Chant (about Chrestomanci's childhood) is likely to become a classic, especially as most of the author's works are being re-released.
If you like J.K. Rowling, you'll love Diana Wynne Jones. This is a most remarkable read.
I've never read one of Simon R. Green's works again, and I'm a bit hesitant to give his work another try.
Despite this books' place as the first in a series, I never really felt like the author helped me connect to the characters. Although they each had their own little quirks, all of the characters seemed to fit types from previous books that I've read. JC, Melody, and Happy never really seemed real, so I wasn't as concerned about what happened to them. In all honesty, it seemed like a first draft of work that never really got revised. The plot seemed a bit repetitive and since the character development never really happened, the plot didn't ever really seem to pull me in as much as I'd hoped. The narrator/performance was fine, but not memorable.
Overall, I was hoping for something better.
This was one of my favorite books and I couldn’t wait to hear the audio version. I had high expectations, but they were most definitely met.
Based on the original fairy tale The Goose Girl, the story revolves around the crown princess Anidori-Kiladra of the kingdom Kildenree. Ani is not the swashbuckling heroine like some in other Young Adult fiction, nor is she swift-thinking or fast-talking. Really, we start with a princess who is not comfortable in her own skin or in her role as princess and future queen and who has much opportunity for growth. In order to appease the war-like kingdom of Bayern, she is sent to marry their prince. Near the end of her long journey, she is betrayed by her own lady-in-waiting and guards and barely lives to tell her story. Living in a country that is not her own, and disguised as a goose girl, she must find a way to survive long enough to save herself and her kingdom.
As the original book itself had more than 380 pages, I was curious as to how it would adapt to being read aloud, especially as done with a full cast. I must say that it was done very well. The readers were marvelous. The narrator had a pleasant reading voice and the other actors and actresses, unlike in several audiobooks I’ve heard, really sounded like they were living out the story. Full Cast Audio did a great job on this wonderful audiobook.
An amazing book with vivid, realistic, and relatable characters and a riveting plot, it is a magical read (listen).
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