Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


The Islands of Chaldea (2014)

by Diana Wynne Jones

Other authors: Ursula Jones (Co-author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3782664,965 (3.69)34
Aileen's family of magic makers includes Aunt Beck, the most powerful magician on Skarr, but her own magic does not show itself until a mission for the King and a magical cat help her find strength and confidence.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 34 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
This book was still unfinished at the point of the author's untimely death and was, as explained in an afterword, finished by one of her sisters after the rest of the family could not think of how to progress it - DWJ did not do plotlines or leave notes. Possibly this is why I found it a bit disatisfying although I liked certain elements of it, for example, the parrot and the little dragon, plus the idea of the young heroine who believes she is a failure as an apprentice Wise Woman when actually she is nothing of the sort.

Briefly, the protagonist Aileen and her Aunt Beck, Wise Woman of the island of Skarr, are summoned by the king and high king and told they must form an expedition to try to break the spell of the barrier which has been in place for some years between the three islands of Skarr, Bernice and Gallis on the one hand and the larger island of Logra on the other. Logra had been waging war against them but was losing when its wizards constructed a sort of energy barrier. Since then they also staged a raid using magic to kidnap the high king's son and his hunting party which included Aileen's own father.

A prophecy says that a group consisting of men from each of the three islands plus a Wise Woman will succeed in overturning the barrier spell. And so Eileen and Aunt Beck set off, accompanied at first by the younger son of the king and queen, Ivar, and his servant Ogo, a boy from Logra who was left behind at the time of the barrier's raising. This being a DWJ novel things are not what they seem and complications soon arise including the suspicion that their mission has been sabotagued at the offset seemingly by Ivar's parents.

The nature of the book is that it has the structure of a travelogue from one place to another meeting various people on the way and acquiring other men as representatives of other islands, plus some animals with mysterious powers such as a cat, a parrot and a red miniature dragon. I think the main problem for me is that it begins to unravel a bit when they reach Logra where I couldn't really believe that the kidnapped prince was being consulted on how to run the mismanaged country behind the back of the evil Regent who is responsible for the barrier. The final denoument also seems rather rushed with an unconvincing battle and the decision by Aileen to change her set and childish notion of marrying Prince Ivar to actually marrying someone else - which seemed a bit odd if she was still only twelve. So, nice to have a final extra book by DWJ but for me it doesn't rank among her best and hence I can only rate it 3 stars. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
I was beyond thrilled to find that there was another, posthumous, DWJ book. Unfortunately, DWJ died before she could finish the book, and to me, it was very, very obvious where she'd left off and her sister had taken over. Most DWJ books have a twist-ending that is built on the seemingly irrelevant facts introduced earlier. In contrast, in The Islands, I found the tail-end rushed and flat. I think her sister found the half-finished manuscript and just tried to get it done as soon as possible. Even in DWJ's very young adult books, there's a sincerity and depth to the plot and character development and especially coming of age that just doesn't shine through in the Islands of Chaldea.

It's still a fun romp. In particular, I enjoyed the alternate history of the UK/Ireland feel. I thought the world-building felt relatively complete. The animals and child protagonists were cute.

Yeah, I don't have that much to say -- it just felt shallow and unfinished. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
A previously unfinished manuscript by Diana Wynne Jones chronicles the adventures of a fantastic assortment of misfits as they journey to remove a barrier that divides their world. Guardian pets! Mysterious powers! and a really excellently written adventure that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Advanced reader copy provided by edelweiss. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
Solid lightweight Diana Wynne Jones YA fantasy. Completed posthumously by one of her sisters. The plot is the usual budding rom-com with magic, but as usual it's the delights of the world and characters she creates that make this an enjoyable read.

Recommended. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Apr 20, 2021 |
I cried and cried, mostly because I'm a big baby but also because this is the last Diana Wynne Jones book, for real this time. it was charming and silly and I adored it. ( )
  kickthebeat | Nov 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
This isn’t quite up to Jones’ best. It was written under trying circumstances and finished by someone who had to make educated guesses as to where Jones was going with her plot. Jones on her own has written better books. However, the book was still a tolerable read. It’s much better than most necrolaborations.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jones, UrsulaCo-authorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Le Floc'h, SylvieCover & book designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peterschmidt, BetsyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, SallyCartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
To Dave (Diana Wynne Jones)
Diana, her family, friends and her readers (Ursula Jones)
First words
Porridge is my Aunt Beck's answer to everything.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Aileen's family of magic makers includes Aunt Beck, the most powerful magician on Skarr, but her own magic does not show itself until a mission for the King and a magical cat help her find strength and confidence.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions


Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.69)
1 1
2 2
2.5 2
3 24
3.5 9
4 36
4.5 6
5 8

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 197,648,397 books! | Top bar: Always visible