Throw Back Thursday - The Chrestomanci Chronicles

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cat doesn't mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack.

Throw Back Thursday is a post in which I talk about books that I loved and read as a child - and still remember fondly of today!  

In honor of the fantastic author Diana Wynne Jones' birthday on August 16th, this Throw Back Thursday is Charmed Life, the first installment of the popular Chronicles of Chrestomanci series, first published in 1977. If the fact that it's still popular with children nearly four decades later isn't a testament to it's genius, then I can definitely assure you that this series is magical, whimsical, and a whole lot of fun. 

I came across this series entirely by accident when I was around twelve or thirteen, just pursuing the aisles of Books-A-Million. I was first attracted to the fact that it was a huge book, since I didn't know I was actually buying the bound copy of two Chestomanci stories. The edition that I had was a little over five hundred pages long, and it wasn't until I had already begged my Mom for it that I found out I had two books to read. (I actually have a strict no-omnibus rule now. They just don't look as good on a bookshelf as the individual books.) This turned out to be a very good thing - as I inhaled the stories. I absolutely fell in love with Cat and his magical world, as well as the mysterious and powerful Chrestomanci. So much so, that I forced my best friend Lauren to read it and, since we have similar taste in books, she luckily loved it, too. We actually spent much of our eighth grade year writing a fanfiction that ended up being over 500 written pages long. It's still in my closet, in a huge four in binder, with brittle, yellowing pages. Ah, the nostalgia!

I now have all the Chrestomanci books and I proudly display them on my bookshelf. Even now, I still recommend the children's books to my friends, who are now in college or already out. Amusingly enough, I even made my other best friend, Cassie read them just a couple of years ago. She really liked it, too. And we're well into our twenties.

My advice to you - if you haven't read this series, definitely think about it. Particularly if you're wanting something light and fun to read. If you loved Jones' Howl's Moving Castle, this is definitely for you.

Happy Birthday, Diana Wynne Jones! I wish you were here to celebrate it. But never fear, your works are timeless and as long as I'm around, I'll be praising them!


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