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Charmed Life (The Chrestomanci) by Diana…
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Title:Charmed Life (The Chrestomanci)
Authors:Diana Wynne Jones
Info:Collins (2000), Taschenbuch, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:kids, young adult, fantasy fiction, magic, wizards, chrestomanci

Work details

Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones (1977)

  1. 31
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (kerravonsen)
    kerravonsen: Children's fantasy, check. Protagonist who doesn't know he's a magician/wizard, check. Schooling in magic, check.
  2. 10
    Sabriel by Garth Nix (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: The roles of Chrestomanci and Abhorsen are similar- magicians who police the use of magic. Both books feature their protagonists growing into these roles.
  3. 00
    Magic Below Stairs by Caroline Stevermer (foggidawn)
  4. 00
    Under the Mountain by Maurice Gee (Aquila)

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» See also 159 mentions

English (47)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (1)  All (50)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
I read this book sometime in middle school, and I really enjoyed the world Jones built and the characters in it. Recently I decided to revisit the book to see if it was as good as I remember, and it is very good just not perfect. Charmed life is a about Cat (Eric Chant) and his sister Gwendolen Chant who have been recently orphaned in a boat accident. Cat and Gwen live in a world like ours where magic is real, and non-magic users and witches, warlocks, and wizards live together. They are at first fostered by their home town until they are adopted by Chrestomanci after Gwen writes him a letter. Gwen who was hoping to be taught magic, and expected to be treated like a little princess immediately starts causes trouble when things don't go her way.

At times Cat can be a bit dense just going on with what life throws at him, and Gwendolen seems almost unnecessarily evil at times. As the book progresses Cat's character grows he is just a regular boy who is trying to deal with losing his parents, and transitioning to a new home while navigating the magical mess his sister left him with. While Gwendolen on the other hand in the beginning just seemed spoiled and self absorbed due to being a magical prodigy, but when you find out where her power came from you wonder why she went down the evil path. Her reasons are never really explained other than she thinks very highly of herself is spoiled, mean, spiteful, and has powerful magical abilities.
This is the first book in the Chrestomanci series and it introduces you to the characters and world quite well.
( )
  FlowerTaisen | Apr 25, 2017 |
This book was both funnier and darker than I remembered it. I think there is a lesson, which is that if you're a child in bad trouble, telling the powerful adult what's going on might be the wisest course. In "The Pinhoe Egg" which is the next in chronological order, Cat seems to have figured this out. Another lesson is that a habit of subservience is a bad one, and this theme also shows up in "The Pinhoe Egg". ( )
  themulhern | Apr 11, 2017 |
A classic fantasy best described as a precursor to the Harry Potter series. Eric, best know as Cat, is a quiet boy whose older sister Gwendolyn’s powers as a witch often overshadow him. When both are invited to live at Chrestomanci Castle what is true and what is false begins to unravel to surprising results.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Sep 23, 2016 |
This was a memorial re-read, as Diana Wynne Jones has recently passed away. It's a kids' book, but a very enjoyable one. The first entry in her Chrestomanci series, it does a good job setting up the world and characters.
It's also particularly remarkable as a kids' book about two siblings which has one of them turn out to be just absolutely horrible! As a reader, you think that the character in question is just bratty and spoiled and will learn to mend her ways. But nope. Just plain evil. I love it! ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
I read this first many years ago. It was my introduction to Diana Wynne Jones. I love Chrestomanci's world where magic works and technology lags behind our world. I love the growth of Cat as a character. The ebook has a series of short notes about the universe that are well worth reading.

If you like the Harry Potter series, the Narnia series, or Lloyd Alexander, I think you'll like this series. ( )
  Jean_Sexton | Jan 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
IonicusCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Makkonen, MarikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Newbold, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Slater, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Claire, Nicholas and Frances
First words
Cat Chant admired his elder sister Gwendolen. She was a witch. He admired her and he clung to her. Great changes came about in their lives and left him no one else to cling to.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
Orphans, one spiteful,
one open-hearted, effect
magic, then mayhem!

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0688155464, Mass Market Paperback)

Cat doesn''t mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendoleen, the most promising witch on Coven Stree t. But trouble starts when the two of them are summoned to l ive in Chrestomanci Castle. '

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:28 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Gwendolen Chant and her brother Cat find the Chrestomancie Castle family's magic powers difficult to counter with the inferior powers of the Coven Street witches.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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