Friday, November 26, 2010

Enchanted Glass (MG/YA)

Enchanted Glass. Diana Wynne Jones. 2010. HarperCollins. 292 pages.

When Jocelyn Brandon died--at a great old age, as magicians tend to do--he left his house and his field-of-care to his grandson, Andrew Brandon Hope. Andrew himself was in his thirties. The house, Melstone House, was a simple matter of making a Will. But it had been old Jocelyn's intention to pass the field-of-care on in the proper way, personally. 

I am NOT a fan of this cover! If I wasn't already a fan of Diana Wynne Jones, if I didn't already know that she can tell some great stories, then I'm not sure I would have ever given this one a try. (What do you think? Do you like the cover? Isn't the UK cover a thousand times better?!)

I enjoyed so many things about Enchanted Glass. I liked "Professor" Hope. I liked Mr. Stock. And Mrs. Stock. (Oh how these two hate each other. One is the gardener, the other the housekeeper. BOTH of course have minds of their own. And think that they always, always know best. This gets quite comical.) I liked Aidan too. Who is he?! Well, that's a good question. One that Andrew eventually gets around to asking. You see, this young boy turns up one day--on a Monday--asking, in a way, for sanctuary. He's being stalked by evil creatures, you see, and his grandmother (who's recently died) always told him to see help at Melstone House if ever he was in trouble. He's just one of three visitors that turned up on that busy, busy Monday. And "Professor" Hope allows them all to stay--in one way or another. He hires an assistant (secretary) despite not really wanting one. He grants her a one month trial period. He hires an assistant groundskeeper, too, though this time on a week's trial. He likes to please people. But don't assume that he doesn't have his own tricks. He can manipulate people as well.

The story centers on Andrew Hope and Aidan Cain. And all the strange people (some human, others not quite) in their lives. Melstone House and its surrounding woods has an interesting history. There's something almost magical about the place. Something that Andrew will need to learn all about...he'll need to... if he hopes to protect those close to him.

I really enjoyed it. I just LOVED the first half. (I found it amusing and charming and lovely). The second half wasn't--in my opinion--as wonderful as the beginning. (Though I suppose you could say most of the action occurs in the second half. The confrontation between good and evil and such.) I didn't like the ending. There was something about it--which, of course, I can't say without spoiling it--that I didn't like at all.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


kaye said...

Somehow, when I was younger, I missed out on Diana Wynne Jones completely, only discovering her in the last ten years or so thanks to friends who are librarians. She has written some of my absolute favourite YA books ('Howl's Moving Castle' and the Chrestomanci series), which also work perfectly for adults in the main because of how well they're written.

Anonymous said...

I just ran across this review and wanted to say I completely agree with you on the ending. It bothered me too.

And the UK cover is so much better.