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Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones
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Power of Three (original 1976; edition 2003)

by Diana Wynne Jones

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7481112,439 (3.92)21
Member:Bahiyya
Title:Power of Three
Authors:Diana Wynne Jones
Info:HarperTrophy (2003), Edition: 1st Harper, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fantasy, young adult

Work details

Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones (1976)

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  1. 20
    The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy by Penelope Lively (Polenth)
  2. 10
    The Changes: A Trilogy by Peter Dickinson (Polenth)
  3. 10
    The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner (Polenth)
  4. 00
    The Key to the Lost Kingdom by Jay Ashton (nessreader)
    nessreader: Ashton has Jones' dry wit and skill at characterisation. Both are humourous dark-ages-type quests.
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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Lovely. Tightly plotted, fun to read, exciting, has depths. ( )
  comixminx | Apr 5, 2013 |
I originally reviewed this book on my blog - The Cosy Dragon. For more recent reviews by me, please hop over there.

There is a powerful curse at work on the moor. The giants, the people and the Dorig are all suffering from one ill-advised deed. Although the reader may think they know what to expect - they really don't. It is up to Gair, the ordinary son of a hero, to save the day.


The plot of this book builds up slowly. Although the reader will know from the beginning that things are not right, and where the curse has come from, it is not clear how things can be set right, or even if they can be.

There are a variety of characters which is nice, with the majority of focalisation through Gair. Children will find them likeable, and not too confronting. The ending is a bit of a chair edged one, but it's certainly not too scary!

I guess this book was a little disappointing for me. I thought I had never read it before, but after getting into it, I realised that it had. It meant that even with all of Gair's bad feelings, I knew what was going to happen, and I couldn't dread it properly.

This was a fast read for me, but no doubt will be a little more challenging for its target audience. It did read aloud well though, probably a mark of its author's craftmanship. It's a good book, just not for me any more. I somewhat regret buying this one, except that I am sure I will share it with my children eventually!

This book is for children. The storyline is simple, and emphasises the need to look after your friends, and also the importance of words. For a writer, words are all you have to get the message accross, so of course they are important! ( )
  Rosemarie.Herbert | Feb 26, 2013 |
This book by DWJ was surprisingly more complicated in terms of the characters' maturity's evolution process and provides the young reader with much to think about. It deals with differences in 'race' in a different but effective way, without touching on any sensitivities relating to 'colour'. In here, three types of 'race' are portrayed as initially having many differences at the onset of the story, when the main characters are still ignorant and still held on to the belief that the other races were nasty creatures, better off dead. The story continues to grow the main characters maturity levels by having them experience situations in which they have had to face the actual surprising reality that, in fact, the other races think the same of their own race, and that actually, all the races were all 'people' really, with ten fingers on two hands, ten toes on two feet.. the story told in this book, albeit still within the fantasy genre, was more serious and darker compared to most of DWJ's books, which, on the whole, read very similar to Enid Blyton books but with the magical aspect much more enhanced. Regardless of the serious notes in the book, i still enjoyed reading it, as i do with all DWJ's books, and i understood that children/young adults must, after all, learn these important things somehow, so why not in fantasy books, once in a while. ( )
2 vote soybean-soybean | Oct 27, 2011 |
Complex magical setting which is slow to unravel? Winsome and “untalented” boy protagonist? Allegorical plot solved via several unveilings of reality? There are not really any elements that separate The Power of Three from some of my absolute favorite Diana Wynne Jones novels (the Chrestomanci novels, among many others come immediately to mind). And with that in mind, it is really amazing how consistently enjoyable I find her work when The Power of Three shows how easily such disparate parts can fail to cohere.

For one, I find Gair’s world (and his personality) to be a bit on the generic side and thus what is intended as a slow burn tends toward instead aimlessness. That the nature of this magic in his world and the personality of Gair himself don’t particularly tie into the resolution of the central conflict result in me feeling like it’s all a little bit of useless set up. Also, as plot-twists-that-unveil-the-allegorical-meaning go, it’s a little transparent and straightforward. From such a frequently subversive writer, it’s almost didactically simple and unbearably cheesy that the resolution requires intervention from a third party (unnecessarily introduced about at around the two thirds mark).

I’m not sure how I might have received this as a child, but frankly, one of her few entries in which I see very limited appeal beyond its marketed audience.

*Also, this is one of the few times I find her treatment of gender actively suspicious. ( )
1 vote kaionvin | Jun 21, 2010 |
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This is the story of the children of Adara--of Ayna and Ceri who both had Gifts, and of Gair, who thought he was ordinary.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0064473597, Paperback)

Ayna could predict the future.
Cari could find what was lost.
Gair thought he was ordinary.

The three children of Gest, the chief of Garholt, know the perils of the Moor on which they live. The Dorig, their people's enemies, are cold-blooded, fierce underwater creatures who terrify anyone unlucky enough to happen upon them. The Giants are dangerous and violent.

But it's not until their home is invaded that Gair learns of a dying curse that endangers all three peoples of the Moor. A curse that ordinary Gair, with the help of his extraordinary brother and sister, may be able to break, but only at the most dreadful risk to all three, and to the Moor itself.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:34 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Ayna could predict the future. Cari could find what was lost. Gair thought he was ordinary. The three children of Gest, the chief of Garholt, know the perils of the Moor on which they live. The Dorig, their people's enemies, are cold-blooded, fierce underwater creatures who terrify anyone unlucky enough to happen upon them. The Giants are dangerous and violent. But it's not until their home is invaded that Gair learns of a dying curse that endangers all three peoples of the Moor. A curse that ordinary Gair, with the help of his extraordinary brother and sister, may be able to break, but only at the most dreadful risk to all three, and to the Moor itself.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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