TalkDiana Wynne Jones Fans

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Nov 24, 2009, 9:48 pm

I'm curious as to what others' favourite Diana Wynne Jones novels are. So what's your favourite?

Although, having asked that question, I have a hard time deciding! My ultimate favourite is easily Fire and Hemlock, but I also spent all of high school rereading The Lives of Christopher Chant (and Witch Week), so I'm rather attached to both of them. And I've just recently discovered Howl's Moving Castle and absolutely love it. And then I feel I should mention Year of the Griffin and Hexwood, too...

Nov 24, 2009, 10:01 pm

Dark Lord of Derkholm has to be my current favorite.

Nov 24, 2009, 10:13 pm

Archer's Goon was the first of her books that I read, and it remains my favorite to this day. It's such a unique story and the characters are these crazy people that I would like to know. I love how Awful is truly awful but you still like her, and how they make fun of the Dad's gut.

I like how it shows how people can be phony and flawed, but you should still sometimes forgive them. And it is a good example of what I like best about her books, the fact that I think I know what's going on and then I realize I have no idea and the story seems impossible to tie together, and then she does anyway.

Nov 26, 2009, 2:52 am

My favorite is _my_ first one of hers I read - Dogsbody. Don't know why, it's really stupid in many places, but I just love it. Also The Homeward Bounders, which was my second read. I like most of the Chrestomanci books, especially Charmed Life and The Pinhoe Egg. And most of her others...don't feel like listing them all!

Edited: Jan 15, 2010, 7:02 pm

It has to be Dark Lord of Derkholm. It's a lot funnier than Bored of the Rings, and it's the first Jones book I read, and remains foremost in my heart.

Feb 6, 2010, 12:08 pm

My Favorite is Power of Three and you can tell that by how my copy looks (no cover, water damage, pages ripped). I love all of her books though.

Feb 6, 2010, 3:01 pm

I really can't choose. In general I prefer her later stuff, and the not-chrestomanci books.
These I like the best are Fire and Hemlock, Hexwood, Howl's moving castle, the Magii books, and the Derkholm books.
The first books of hers I read Archer's goon and Dogsbody also get an occasional reread.

I just received Enchanted glass, and I am very much looking forward to reading it - which I think I will do right about now:-)

Feb 6, 2010, 6:04 pm

Oooh! I'd missed that she had a new book coming out! Yay!

Feb 15, 2010, 9:12 pm

Definitely Dark Lord of Derkholm. Funny, expansive number of characters and plots. Heartwarming and creative (for a quasi-parody!).

Except on days which Witch Week is my favorite.

The Spellcoats I haven't read in forever, but was at some time the champion (maybe it will reclaim the throne in a long-due reread?). Hexwood is also very enjoyable, and while Howl's Moving Castle has never been a favorite, it is possibly the one that inspires the most fuzzy feelings.

(I think Charmed Life or Cart and Cwidder or Witch Week was my first. I am still very very fond of Charmed Life.)

Feb 18, 2010, 4:31 pm

>6 Mud:
You can also tell how good they are if a friend borrows them and never returns them. :)

>9 kaionvin:
Thanks for the Witch Week mention. Just ordered it thru the library. Although my TBR says you're only feeding my addiction.

Mar 1, 2010, 4:06 pm

I finished Enchanted glass, and while it isn't my favourite of her books, it is a very good book. Well worth reading and rereading.

Mar 18, 2010, 5:45 pm

I read Enchanted Glass at the weekend and I agree that it is well worth reading. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My favourites are Fire and Hemlock, Howl's Moving Castle and Archer's Goon. All due for a reread right about now.

Mar 23, 2010, 11:30 pm

The Chrestomanci books. So far.

Tho I actually like everything of hers I've ever read.

Apr 10, 2010, 1:14 pm

Usually my favourite is the one I'm currently reading. However, I like the range of her styles, from the whimsical Chrestomanci series to the more serious ones like Fire and Hemlock. Having lived in Bristol, England, I have a soft spot for Jones' Dark Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy, especially as the first is set in Bristol, Diana's home town. She's been ill in the last year, but I haven't been able to find updates on her condition; do hope she's recovering.

Apr 25, 2010, 9:23 am

My favorites are Fire and Hemlock and Deep Secret.

Jul 13, 2010, 8:18 pm

The Ogre Downstairs. Don't know if its still available, but it combined the absolutely ordinary with the ...unusual. Great story for kids.

Oct 7, 2010, 8:59 am

I don't know if it's in print, but it should be possible to get Ogre somehow - I reread my own copy recently but other people I talk about books with online were able to buy or borrow copies.

DWJ was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and decided to discontinue chemo in June this year. Doctors are apparently not optimistic. Sad news.

Oct 7, 2010, 10:29 am

Both Neil Gaiman and Robin McKinley, who visited her this week, reported on their blogs that she was feeling much better now than she had been, confounding the doctors, and that she is WRITING!

Oct 14, 2010, 6:40 pm

I discovered Diana Wynne Jones as a child and I keep returning to her works, both new and old. She is one of the few authors I know who can create reassuring worlds that I love to emerse myself in but is also uncompromising on the often harsh realities of life and human behaviour. Terry Pratchett does a similar thing where he makes the reader laugh heartily just before pulling the rug out from under you. When Jones wants to make an emotional impact it really connects.

As to favourites, um how many is too many? Possibly Howl's Moving Castle, Deep Secret, Darklord of Derkholm, but really it's too difficult to choose. I've just found The Merlin Conspiracy in my local library which has Nick Mallory from Deep Secret as one of the characters which was a happy discovery.

Edited: Nov 13, 2010, 4:25 pm

#18: This is good news! I knew she had discontinued chemo, but as there was so very little recently on her main fansite I was starting to become reconciled to the likelihood of bad news. I'm very glad for her, and, being a little selfish, do feel that her inventiveness is not at all played out and that she has so much more yet to offer.

Jan 9, 2011, 6:02 pm

As others have said, it's so hard to pick a favorite. I love the Chrestomanci books and the Howl's Moving Castle series, but my favorites are Dark Lord of Derkholm, Fire and Hemlock, and maybe Archer's Goon.

Jan 11, 2011, 11:56 am

hmm - hard to choose but I guess Howl's Moving Castle, Charmed Life and Darklord of Derkholm would be my top three.

Although Cart and Cwidder has a special place as the first DWJ I ever read.

PS There's a new book due out in June-2011 - Earwig and the Witch

Edited: Jan 11, 2011, 12:12 pm

Thanks for the post about the new DWJ book. From the cover it looks to be aimed at quite young readers. Is it by Jan Penkowski?

A good judge of what your favourite might be deciding, if you were faced with all the books in front of you, which one would you re-read? Or which one would you grab in an emergency? (I can't imagine what that emergency would be, though!) That's a hard one, I think.

Edited: May 3, 2012, 9:42 am

I know this is a thread about Favourites, but I've just seen this review of Hexwood and, while I don't think the novel is as bad as the reviewer makes out, it does at least sum up some of the uneasiness I feel about the book. http://www.librarything.com/profile_reviews.php?view=internisus

I've always felt that Hexwood doesn't quite play fair with the reader, but after reading this critique (interestingly, the only review this member has posted) I'm tempted to go back and re-read the story to see if it's as bad as presented here or whether it has more redeeming features than is here suggested.

May 8, 2012, 10:22 pm

Hexwood is one DWJ book I just didn't really enjoy. I like it in places (the bureaucracy bits crack me up) but on the whole it simply was too heavy for me. So while I agree with some of the points made, I don't think that it was as bad as the reviewer suggested.

Mar 3, 2013, 5:09 pm

Favorites: Charmed Life, Fire and Hemlock, Howl's Moving Castle, The Spellcoats, Witch Week, The Homeward Bounders, Deep Secret, Archer's Goon. Brilliant books all.

I do not understand all the love for Dark Lord of Derkholm here. On a recent re-read I found it so dull, humorless and depressing it was hard to finish--very rare with DWJ! Year of the Griffin was much better.

Mar 13, 2013, 9:55 am

>26 withawhy99:
Humour is such a personal thing, isn't it. I found the humour in Dark Lord of the kind to make me smile or nod rather than have a good belly laugh. Dull I would dispute, though, despite finding the story slow to start. Depressing? As much of fantasy is about evil countered, I wouldn't have counted Dark Lord as depressing, more as typical of its genre, especially when it soon became clear who the real dark lord of the tale was, and it wasn't Derk.

The sequel I enjoyed too, but the focus was very much on the failings of higher education.

Of your favourites, I agree they are brilliant books all, though I liked Homeward Bounders and Archer's Goon less.