Books - Review


Showing all books by: Diana Wynne Jones

The Ogre Downstairs
Caspar, Johnny and Gwen have to put up with their new step-family, boys, Douglas and Malcolm and of course the Ogre. The Ogre presents both Jonny and Malcolm with chemistry sets and family rivalries grow worse as the boys try to out-do each other with stinks, but things get more serious when it turns out that some of the chemicals have remarkable properties.
Great - very enjoyable 25(?) years after I first read it! Super story with little bits of magical chemistry popping up all over the place, and the kids constantly charging around like a herd of elephants from one disaster to the next.
Score: 8
Published: 1974
Read: August 25th 2007

Charmed Life
Gwendolen is a young witch with ambitions beyond her skills, and a younger brother Eric who loyally supports her efforts to better their situation. But Gwendolen comes up against the Chrestomanci, a mysterious and powerful enchanter who controls the portals between the parallel worlds and therefore the crucial (for witches) supply of dried dragon's blood.
Good story - have been meaning to read more Diana Wynne Jones ever since she died back in 2011. Will look out for the others in this series.
Score: 7.5
Published: 1977
Read: May 6th 2014

Howl's Moving Castle
Sophie is the eldest of three sisters and her latent powers of witchcraft are noted by the wicked witch of the waste who turns her into an elderly woman, a state she remains in for almost the whole of the book. Sophie encounters the wizard Howl, or rather his magical castle and invites herself to stay, discovering that Howl is not necessarily the villain that local gossip suggests, although he is not above using magical charms to impress any passing girls he takes a shine to. And what of his strange partnership with Calcifer the fire demon, who controls the castle? Sophie does her best to keep everyone happy, searching for a way to get her youth back and defeat the wicked witch.
Pretty good - great characters especially with Sophie and Howl - I didn't get completely absorbed by the magical setting somehow, and found some of the plot a bit too confusing! Very nice though. I still think the Ogre Downstairs is better.
Score: 7.5
Published: 1986
Read: May 7th 2017