House of Many Ways - Book review

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takenoko
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House of Many Ways - Book review

Post by takenoko » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:58 pm

The latest in the Diana Wynne Jones' "Castle Series". The story revolve around a girl named Charmain (who I misread as chairman for the first few pages) and her adventures in taking care of her wizard uncle's magic house. Charmain is deliciously flawed and would rather have her nose stuck in a book than anything else. She's selfish and makes excuses about not knowing how to do anything because her mother is a "proper lady" and brought her up as such.

Her foil is a to-the-point boy named Peter who also arrives at the house to be the wizard's apprentice (but he's so befuddled that he ties strings around his fingers to tell left from right, and he can never get a spell right). There's also the uncle's dog named Waif

Anyway, a plot rapidly builds up, there's little blue men, work done in the royal library, and some familiar faces from the previous two books in the series. Sophie and family arrive more or less as themselves in this story to help out. Calcifer is as awesome as ever.

One thing that always strikes me when I finish reading one of these books is how close the climax of the book is to the very end of the book. It's kind of interesting to see how she keeps the mysteries and loose ends loose and then rapidly ties them up in the last few pages. I'm usually a person who likes a little epilogue to my stories, but the advantage of wrapping a book up this way is that you never feel like the story has dragged on past the point of being interesting, it just leaves you wanting a little more.

Another thing that is neat about Diana's writing is the way she inserts little details throughout the story that become more important later. It's rewarding, since the book is full of so many odd bits that one might be tempted to dismiss them as nonsequitor moments

Anyway, if you liked the other two books, you'll probably enjoy the same sense of humor in this one

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Re: House of Many Ways - Book review

Post by Lunagel » Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:21 pm

. . . . OMG WHEN DID THIS COME OUT?!

*Amazon'd*

BRB, going to hang out by the door for the next 3 days until this shows up.

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Re: House of Many Ways - Book review

Post by shadowneko003 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:27 am

This came out last year, Luna.

I actually bought this book last week when I read the other review about Castle in the Air. Good book, but I'll have to reread it since I went through it very fast when I brought it. Blame Star Ocean 4.
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Re: House of Many Ways - Book review

Post by Lunagel » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:51 am

Yeah, I noticed when I saw the Amazon release date. I can't believe it's been out for so long and I hadn't heard about it until now. *sulks in a corner*

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Re: House of Many Ways - Book review

Post by takenoko » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:43 pm

Yay for a staff that's literate. I'm actually currently reading a children's book (based on the recommendation by a friend) called "My Father's Dragon". Tangerines!

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Re: House of Many Ways - Book review

Post by shadowneko003 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:32 pm

You know, funny story about when I went to B&N to buy it. I was looking at the Teens section, since I remember that Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air was in that section at Borders. I found those books, but no House of Many Ways. I went to ask where was the book (since I checked online and called ahead to see if they had it), the lady took us to the children's section with all the picture books and stuff animals. My nephew and I started laughing.
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Re: House of Many Ways - Book review

Post by That Guy » Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:27 pm

I'm tempted to reference this, but they do seem passable as kids stories.

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