Can’t get your hands on Harry Potter?

If you had you heart set on reading Harry Potter these holidays but the all the books are out thanks to the post movie craze don’t despair, read Diana Wynne Jones’ The Worlds of Chrestomanci series.

All the different worlds in this series represent the different possible outcomes of major turning points in history.  For example our world split from the others in the 14th century as it developed science and technology where the other worlds developed magic.

Chrestomanci lives in a world much like ours except there is magic and some people are witches, sorcerers and enchanters.  Chrestomanci is the title of the most powerful enchanter who also has the job of controlling magic sort of like a government minister.  Every Chrestomanci has 9 lives.  The Chrestomanci is also able to travel to the other worlds and help them out with their magical problems.

Syndetics book coverCharmed life is the story of a brother and sister Eric and Gwendolyn Chant who are orphaned when the boat carrying them and their mother and father sinks. Eric survives by clinging to his sister who is a witch and therefore can’t drown.  They are summoned to Chrestomanci Castle and it turns out Chrestomanci is their uncle.  This is all very exciting until Chrestomanci seems to ignore Gwendolyn’s magical talent and refuses to let her do magic until she improves her mathematics, history, geography English…

Syndetics book coverThe Lives of Christopher Chant tells the story of Christopher who travels to other worlds in his dreams.  “That’s not special,” you might say “ I can travel to other worlds in my dreams too,” but Christopher can bring things back: coral necklaces given to him by the mermaids from one world and beautiful set of bells from another world.  Christopher also is able survive the numerous calamities that befall him including being stabbed by a spear, falling off a cliff, being set of fire by a dragon.  In all other ways however  he is a normal boy who doesn’t seem to have any magical ability…

Syndetics book cover

Witch Weekhas us travel to another world where witches are hunted down and burned and to a school of witch orphans where someone during journal writing makes an anonymous and dangerous accusation “someone in this class is a witch”.Syndetics book cover

 The magicians of Caprona / Diana Wynne Jones.The Magicians of Caprona is the story I’m part way through, and again it’s proving to be an engrossing read…only an hour now until I can go home and finish it off!



The order in which Diana Wynn-Jones reccomends you read these books is:

Charmed Life

The lives of Christopher Chant

Conrad’s Fate

Witch Week

Mixed magic

The Magicians of Caprona

The Pinhoe egg

I however haven’t read them in order and it doesn’t matter, each story can be enjoyed in itself.

WARNING: these books are highly addictive and difficult to put down, so don’t start reading just before dinner…