Tuesday, July 14, 2009
House of Many Ways (MG, YA)
Jones, Diana Wynne. 2008. House of Many Ways. 404 pages.
"Charmain must do it," said Aunt Sempronia.
Who is Charmain? What must she do? Well, she's a young lady who has up til now lived a rather sheltered life. But when she's 'volunteered' by her aunt to look after her Great-Uncle William, who just happens to be a wizard, but not just any old wizard, the Royal Wizard of Norland, she finds herself stepping into a great adventure. William is sick--with what the reader isn't quite sure--and he's off to be healed by the elves. In his absence, Charmain will tend to his house. Of course, Charmain hasn't much experience tending houses--doing dishes, cooking, doing laundry, etc.--and she's even less experienced when it comes to dealing with magic. But William's house is quite magical--with hundreds if not thousands of ongoing charms and spells. Not to mention the large library of magical books. Can Charmain resist experimenting with magic for very long? Charmain, a great lover of books, didn't expect this 'job' to be quite so unusual. But before she even knows what is happening, she finds herself making new friends: there's the playfully mischievous dog, Waif, and the new apprentice Peter...and then there's the royal family itself. You see, tending house isn't quite enough of a job for her...she naively thinks...so she volunteers her services to the royal family as a librarians apprentice. Of course, while there she meets some very interesting characters. (And a few familiar ones as well.)
I liked it. I'm not sure it's quite fair to compare House of Many Ways and Castle in the Air with Howl's Moving Castle. I have found all three to be enjoyable and fun. All are humorously and charmingly written. Of course, the first is probably the most enjoyable. But I enjoy revisiting these characters so much that I'm happy these sequels exist.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews