Friday, October 22, 2010
by Diana Wynne Jones
Aidan Cain has had the worst week of his life. His gran died, he was sent to a foster home, and now malicious beings are stalking him. There is one person Gran told Aidan to go to if he ever got into trouble—a powerful sorcerer who lives at Melstone House.
But when Aidan arrives on the doorstep, he finds that the sorcerer's grandson, Andrew, has inherited the house. The good news is that Aidan can tell immediately that Andrew's brimming with magic, too—and so is everyone else at Melstone. The bad news is that Andrew doesn't remember anything his grandfather taught him. Chaos is swiftly rising, and he has no idea how to control it. A sinister neighbor is stealing power from the land, magic is leaking between realms . . . and it's only a matter of time before the Stalkers find Aidan.
If Aidan and Andrew can harness their own magics, they may be able to help each other. But can they do it before the entire countryside comes apart at the seams? (description from Amazon.com)
I have loved Diana Wynne Jones' books since I was about 12 and first picked up Charmed Life. Her fantasy is light, humor-filled, character driven, and just in generalmakes me happy every time I read something she's written. This particular novel of hers was not my favorite, though.
Now I'm not saying that it wasn't good. It was. There are interesting characters, the magic works in a neat way - combining influence from the People, pagan gods and nature, and just sheer luck sometimes - and the setting was interesting. Aidan and Andrew, though, just weren't able to pull me in like Eric or Christopher Chant could (characters from her epically fantastic Chrestomanci series).
If you have a middle school aged fantasy reader, though, that you need to recommend something clean and fun to, this would be a good book. It has a young character surrounded by good people that just want to save him. There's only mild violence and nothing inappropriate. I would, however, strongly encourage anyone to read Jones' other books, especially the Chrestomanci series!! They are truly some of my all-time favorite books.