The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones

The Lives of Christopher Chant

By Diana Wynne Jones

Greenwillow Books, New York, 2001

Borrowed from the library.

This is the first book by Diana Wynne Jones I have read and it is wonderful.  Christopher Chant live with his Mama and Papa in a place very like Edwardian England.  There is at least one difference.  There is magic.

Christopher has strange dreams.  In his dreams he walks between worlds, some like his own, some very different.  When his Uncle Ralph discovers this talent he asks Christopher to help with some “experiments”, and this becomes the beginning of a great adventure, where Christopher learns many things about himself and about his family.

A fun read, Jones is a marvelous writer who has a deep understanding of her characters, and their flaws.  I think her writing is much better then J.K. Rowling’s, though Rowling hit upon a perfect mix of present day childhood and adolescence mixed with magic.  This is probably why the Harry Potter books have been such a phenomenon.  That and great marketing.

The Lives of Christopher Chant is the second book in the Chrestomanci series.  I’ve been told I should have read Chamed Life first.  Oh well.  I’ll be reading that and Howl’s Moving Castle as quick as I can.

Thanks to Jenny for organizing Diana Wynne Jones Week.  She got me to finally read this great author!


Filed under Events, Fantasy, New Authors 2010, Review

20 responses to “The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones

  1. I’ve got a book that contains this one and Charmed Life. I was just going to start it today for the DWJ week!

  2. I have to read some books by DWJ soon!!

  3. Eva

    You’ve inspired me to pop over to my library website and get this & Charmed Life (my library has the same omnibus Jeane mentions)! I hope it arrives in time to for me review it this week. :)

  4. Yay, I’m glad so many people have been discovering DWJ for the first time because she is simply… the best author ever to be published, on this planet. I don’t know if it’s just me but I’ve been noticing that people either don’t know DWJ or they absolutely LOVE her.

    Maybe I’m biased.

    I loved the Lives of Christopher Chant – and Charmed Life and Howl’s Moving Castle. You’re in for a good treat reading those. I also recommend… heck I recommend the ones I haven’t even read yet – but Dogsbody and the Dalemark Quartet (starting with Cart and Cwidder) are fantastic.

    • Fiona – Thanks for your comment. I am really curious about Dogsbody, that may be the next DWJ book I get from the library.

  5. I get twitchy when something is too close in plot to HP. And I was wondering which came first…it appears HP came out originally a couple of years before this? So you weren’t put off?

    • Sandy – Actually, Diana Wynne Jones first published The Lives of Christopher Chant in 1988 and wrote the first Chrestomanci book in 1977. I have a feeling Rowling may have read them:)

      I love the Harry Potter series and think I will love all of DWJ’s book as well. Now I have books to suggest to students when they are finished with HP!

  6. I’m so glad to see you discovering DWJ! I think you’re going to love her – especially Fire and Hemlock. Also, worry not – I don’t think order matters all that much with the Chrestomanci books.

    And @ Sandy, the book is actually originally from 1988, and the first in the series from 1977 – I’ve seen DWJ fans get twitchy because Rowling uses so many elements that appeared in her work first ;) Sorry, I couldn’t help myself – I do love Harry Potter, and I love Sandy too :P

    • Thanks, Nymeth. Sometime I obsess about reading books in order:) I hope my library has a copy of Fire and Hemlock.

      I knew that DWJ wrote the first Chrestomanci books before the Harry Potter books came out. I can’t help thinking that J.K. Rowling must have read them. I also love Harry Potter and bless Rowling for publishing books that get non-reading students to read:) I can not say the same about Twilight, that one really pushes my buttons.

  7. I just got this one just week (along with Charmed Life and Witch Week) Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to get to them this week :(

    Still, really looking forward to reading them when I get the chance!

  8. It doesn’t matter reading this before Charmed Life, honestly. I recommend reading them in order because, well, because I’m in favor of that in the abstract; but actually, I’m nearly positive I read The Lives of Christopher Chant first. It made no difference to my enjoyment at all. I’m glad you enjoyed your first Diana Wynne Jones book! I love it that people are reading her for the first time this week!!

    • Jenny – I am going to have to get out to my favorite used bookstores and try and round up many of DWJ’s books. I have a feeling I will want to read them several times!

  9. I have been wanting to read a bit more science fiction/fantasy, and this sounds great! You had me on “Edwardian England” and “magic!”

  10. Pingback: Rounding up links (part 1) « Jenny's Books

  11. You started with a good ‘un! And actually, in my personal recommended Chrestomanci Reading Order for Maximum Enjoyment, it should come before Charmed Life. The hairpiece scene is one of my favorites in all DWJ!

  12. Shanra

    I have to concur with Jenny. There’s no problem in reading this book before “Charmed Life”. It stands alone wonderfully well (and, coincidentally, may well be the better book of the two). I know if I were to recommend a starting point for the Chrestomanci series, much as I prefer books ‘in order’, I’d choose this one.

    I’m glad to hear you liked it! I really, really need to reread the Chrestomanci books at some point. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy DWJ’s works! ^-^

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