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The Game (2007)

by Diana Wynne Jones

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8424324,799 (3.6)1 / 32
Sent to a boisterous family gathering in Ireland by her overly strict grandmother, orphaned Hayley feels out of place until her unruly cousins include her in a special game involving travel through the mythosphere, the place where all the world's stories can be found, and where some secrets of her past are revealed.… (more)
  1. 00
    The Poor Little Rich Girl by Eleanor Gates (bmlg)
    bmlg: a young girl's quest among mythical creatures, themes of family alienation and reunion

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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Hayley is a child who has been sent away to an aunt's in Ireland in disgrace by her very strict grandmother and more tolerant but busy grandfather, although she is not really clear why. The reason gradually becomes clear, but meanwhile Hayley is immersed in a, to her, bewildering new existence, as a lot more of the family have come to stay with her aunt for an annual reunion. And as part of that, they play a strange Game which is a scavenger hunt with a difference: each child is set the task of retrieving a mythological/fairy tale/folk tale/fictional object by travelling through a network referred to as the mythosphere. Hayley has learned from her grandfather about this energy field/network, generated by all the stories on Earth and continually changing as new stories emerge and old ones fall into disuse. In the course of her stay at her aunt's house and her participation in the Game, she learns surprising things about her family and the parents whom she thought were dead.

This is a short book - my edition had large print with gaps between the lines and the last 20 or so pages were taken up with an author's note on the characters and some more character notes (a lot of the characters are based on divine/semi-divine beings in Greek/Roman mythology), a quiz and a few other things, so the book ended sooner than anticipated. It is a very quick read; a romp that goes from one bit of action to another with lots of characters being name checked. I didn't find any of them well realised including Hayley, who mainly does things under the guidance of others although she is eventually instrumental in the slightly too convenient finale.

Although the story comes across as meant for younger children, there is some content which is older than that - at one point Hayley meets the Maeneds who, true to mythology, have torn a man to bits and are parading his head around while they cavort in a drunken state, covered in blood. So the book does rather fall between stools as far as its age group is concerned. Anyway, because I didn't love it as much as other DWJ stories, I rate it at 3 stars. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
A sweet, easily read children's book -- it's almost as fun to read as the romp through historic mythology that the main characters take. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
Haley has been raised by her strict grandmother and often-absent grandfather. She's angered her grandmother, however, and has been sent off to visit cousins in Ireland. There, she makes some interesting discoveries about her heritage and the universe through a game her cousins play in the back meadow.

I somehow missed this late novel of Jones' before now. 'The Game' has all of the hallmarks of one of her adventures: young protagonists with hidden depths and deep magic. On top of it all, it has her taking another look at stories and how we tell them and how they shape us. I would have loved this as a child, as an adult I can only admire it for it's potential. Jones was onto something here, but didn't give herself a proper amount of space to tell the story. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Jan 18, 2022 |
Solid and interesting mythology based fantasy. ( )
  mutantpudding | Dec 26, 2021 |
Consider this Jones' version of a Strindberg dream play. It begins like many YA novels with a young orphaned girl, Hayley, who has been living with a mean aunt. The story begins when she is sent away to live with another set of aunts. The new house is full of precocious children, and bits of magic enter the scene. So far, typical. Then Hayley plays the Game and the mode of the story changes completely. Where the Game takes people, who the aunts are, and who Hayley is, is gradually revealed but I won't say more. I do wonder what the target audience made of this though.

It's Diana Wynne Jones. Of course it's recommended. ( )
1 vote ChrisRiesbeck | Mar 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Berry, RickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thom, LoriCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This one is for Frances
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When Hayley arrived at the big house in Ireland, bewildered and in disgrace, rain was falling and it was nearly dark.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Sent to a boisterous family gathering in Ireland by her overly strict grandmother, orphaned Hayley feels out of place until her unruly cousins include her in a special game involving travel through the mythosphere, the place where all the world's stories can be found, and where some secrets of her past are revealed.

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