A Charmed Life

The Worlds of Chrestomanci, Book 1
Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
Series: The Worlds of Chrestomanci, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (577 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Cat doesn't mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack.
©1992 Diana Wynne Jones

What listeners say about A Charmed Life

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Delightful Read!

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.

39 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Incredible, but one note

This is a marvelous book, I sincerely recommend. Full of whimsical English magic. However there is a passage when the children are playing that could be very triggering and is very offensive, a couple racial slurs, so please be advised.

4 people found this helpful

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A childhood favorite

This story was my first introduction to the author, narrator and series, and has remained one of the most loved books from my youth. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci is an exciting world in which magic, strange creatures and other worlds come to life through the narration by Gerard Doyle. If you loved Harry Potter, you'll love this enchanting series.

1 person found this helpful

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Another delightful tale by Diana Wynne Jones

Where does A Charmed Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Although I didn't enjoy this audiobook as much as other Diana Wynne Jones' books, I still enjoyed her wit, and how she brings out the truth in human personalities.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Charmed Life?

Gerard Doyle yelling out in a "female" voice, "Hunt for pussy everyone!"

Did Gerard Doyle do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Gerard Doyle differentiates as well as his distinct male voice can, however, he speaks quite slowly with long pauses after each comma and period. I increased the speed, or else it would have taken forever to get through it! I did enjoy his voice of Chrestomanci, and wished Chrestomanci spoke more often!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Spoiled and nasty sister steals brother's magic...and almost all of his nine lives.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderfully Fantastic

I love this book, it is read well and is very humorous.

2 people found this helpful

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Perfection

This book is a treasure! It has all elements of a great story! I can’t recommend this book enough!

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Great book for the kid in all of us.

Cat is a boy who’s sister is a mean person. Power hungry and misguided. Their adventures are really hard on Cat. In the end, all works out well.

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love the concept of magic

I have always loved the idea of magic and the concept of multiple lives like a cat. wonderful and cute

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very good for kids

excellent book. I read it as a kid and only just refound it as an adult. it's a little frustrating as an adult honestly, but I just KNOW any kid reading it will enjoy it tremendously

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Wow!

What a fantastic story! Diana Wynne Jones truly had a way of making such fantastic tales come to life. Such beautiful magic