I told you I’d be back ASAP! This next book was suggested to me by my older sister, it’s her favourite book of all time and I see why! If the author’s name seems familiar to you, it’s perhaps because she wrote Howl’s Moving Castle, which later became one of my favourite Studio Ghibli films. There are a few ‘Howl elements’ in Charmed Life so climb aboard and I’ll tell you what it’s like to read.

Disclosure, I read this book in one sitting of less than two hours. It’s fun, easy and brilliant fiction. We follow two siblings Eric ‘Cat’ Chant and his older sister Gwendolen Chant. They have a pretty rough start in life, quickly losing both their parents in a boating accident and are adopted into the home of Mrs Sharp, a pretty average witch. The witching community quickly  discovers that Gwendolen possesses incredible magical abilities, so begins to train her immediately, leaving Cat rather tossed to one side. Gwendolen is brilliant and arrogant, she sees a fantastic life for herself, only made worse when a clairvoyant tells her someday she will be queen. In an attempt to hurry the process along, Gwendolen writes to a mysterious friend of their later father and they are taken to the Chrestomanci’s Castle.

In the castle is where things really liven up. Expect to see baby dragons, fat children smuggling marmalade, toy soldiers retreating into cupboards, frog maids, treehouses, fluctuating gardens and – most importantly – gateways into other worlds. I would hate to spoil anything, so let’s just say that nine lives may not be enough for this Cat.

Here are some quotes I loved:

charmed life 1
‘… red tendrils of hair escaped and tangled becomingly with earrings like hoops for parrots to sit on.’
Saunders CL2
‘… Mr Saunders, whose wrists and ankles were too long for his shiny black suit…’
black eyes CL3
‘When he was interested – as he was about Art – the black eyes screwed up in a way that seemed to spill the brightness of them over the rest of his face.’
Cat CL4
‘Cat walked softly along, accompanied by several reflected ghosts of himself, until he hardly felt real.’

I would highly recommend giving this charming (geddit) novel a go. I hope you fall in love with Cat, I hope Chrestomanci delights you, and I hope you tolerate Gwendolen despite her despicable greed.

MJ x


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Posted by:MJ

20, studying at UEA in Norwich

One thought on “Charmed Life – Diana Wynne Jones

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