Better than Harry Potter! The late great Diana Wynne Jones...

(72 Posts)
hardtostayfocused Fri 16-Aug-13 20:07:34

I'm still palpitating at the number of DWJ novels which appeared in the fantastic AIBU fictional parents thread. (For those not yet in the know she was one of the best children's fantasy novelists of the last 40 years...)

The first one I read was 8 Days of Luke (showing my age...) and I loved Charmed Life and The Ogre Downstairs as a child, and was thrilled by The Time of the Ghost and Fire and Hemlock as a teen.

Then, in my 20s, realised to my delight that she was still turning out a fine book a year, so collected all those too!

I know there are a few other obsessive fans out there... please come and share. Which is your favourite?

<Sits in corner, shaking slightly, chanting "Chrestomanci!">

ArtemisCake Fri 16-Aug-13 21:16:20

Wearytiger, every time I have marmalade I remember the sticky brown cliffs too grin

Pachacuti Fri 16-Aug-13 21:17:15

Wearytiger good list here.

Wearytiger Fri 16-Aug-13 21:20:56

Thank you pachacuti that's brilliant!

Sconset Fri 16-Aug-13 21:35:35

jux she died March 2011- I remember Neil Gaiman tweeting it, and he'd just visited her (as he adores her work too).

hardtostayfocused Fri 16-Aug-13 21:39:59

wearytiger Archer's Goon is standalone.

I've just counted my collection and I've got 27 titles, but I think I'm missing a few...

Right that's it, I'm going to put a bibliography on this thread. <rubs hands>

pointythings may still be at it when you get back....

hardtostayfocused Fri 16-Aug-13 21:40:52

x post *parachuti" damn Wiki, someone's got there before me...

hardtostayfocused Fri 16-Aug-13 21:47:44

Just noticed that there's another posthumous work coming out next year, completed by her sister. The Islands of Chaldea - one to look forward to!

The dalemark quartet is fantastic, I have always loved DWJ and my daughter has just devoured Charmed Life, I was very happy that she liked it.

She rushed downstairs shouting that she had finished it, " I'm so excited, I think I am turning into a bookworm Mummy!"

Jux Fri 16-Aug-13 22:18:54

Oh yes, love the Dalemark quartet.

How on earth did I miss her death? I used to look her up from time to time, but probably last time was about 2010. Am so sad. Hate it when authors die.

Pachacuti Fri 16-Aug-13 23:22:54

You might appreciate Neil Gaiman's tribute, Jux.

Jux Sat 17-Aug-13 00:36:16

Thanks, Pachacuti. One piece by Gaiman I actually liked.

Spikeinhiscoat Sat 17-Aug-13 06:34:04

We had a supply teacher at school who read us one of her books. It may have been Eight Days of Luke, I can't remember, but that one started me off with dwj. My favourites are Charmed Life, and Howl's Moving Castle. I also really like one I can't remember the name of at the moment, but it's the one with then griffins. I remember feeling a bit indignent on her behalf when Harry Potter came out, and such a fuss was made about a book about children and wizardry which had apparently never been done before.

JustBecauseICan Sat 17-Aug-13 09:20:54

I am going to retry, because I feel I would really love them....

Woodhead Sat 17-Aug-13 09:46:35

I don't think you need to have read the other Chrestomanci to enjoy Witch Week, and it's quite a fun one to start with.
Also Dogsbody is a good stand alone one.

The Griffins are in Magicians of Caprona (one of the Chrestomanci ones)

I'm realising how many I still have to read, only really got into them as an adult and have collected them from Charity shops-I really thought I had most of them, but I'm not close to 27!

Also hadn't realised she'd died. I'm kicking myself that I never went to see her at the book fest, she was often there.

SunnyPath Sat 17-Aug-13 12:00:16

My favourite is The Ogre Downstairs. Loved it as a kid, and DWJ signed my copy when I was about 9. I hadn't read most of her others so have actually read most of them for the first time over the last six months. They vary hugely, from good fun and entertaining, to having no real idea what's going on. Found Cart and Cwidder incredibly boring, but thought Fire and Hemlock fascinating, even if the ending was 'Er wot?' I enjoyed most of Chrestomanci but, again, they vary.

Spikeinhiscoat Sat 17-Aug-13 17:49:44

It wasn't Magicians of Caprona I was thinking of, but The Dark Lord of Derholme. I think that was a standalone book as well.

Pachacuti Sat 17-Aug-13 18:37:50

Cart and Cwidder seems to be like Marmite - every DWJ fan I know loves it beyond reason or really dislikes it.

Pachacuti Sat 17-Aug-13 18:42:33

Year Of The Griffin is the sequel to The Dark Lord Of Derkholm .

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UniS Sat 17-Aug-13 18:46:55

The "Tough Guide to Fantasy Land" is related to "dark lord of derkholm" Not a novel, but rather an amusing guide book for "tour party members".

I think Enchanted glass is my favourite, but I love the chestomanci set. Dale mark quartet is the latest set I've read , I like the last one more than the 1st.

UniS Sat 17-Aug-13 18:49:49

which is the one with a fantasy convention and " how many miles to babyln"? I read it once and now can;t find it or remember what it was called. def DWJ as it has "nick" who is also in "merlin conspiracy".

TheYamiOfYawn Sat 17-Aug-13 18:59:14

My very favourite is Fire and Hemlock, which was part of the reason I studied Eng Lit at university. I also like Hexwood and the more adult ones.

sleepyhead Sat 17-Aug-13 19:02:40

I think my favourites are Fire & Hemlock and The Spellcoats, but I enjoyed all of them really.

Like the op, I first came across her as a child (The Ogre Downstairs was my first - I remember buying it with a Christmas book token) - and then when I was about 25 I realised she was still writing. Oh the bliss at catching up on all the ones I'd missed!

nooka Sat 17-Aug-13 19:03:33

Total DWJ fan here, and like Spike found it really irritating when everyone fawned over JKR as being 'so imaginative' when DWJ had written so many much better books for such a long time before JKR came on the scene. Still before the success of Harry Potter most of the DWJ books were out of print and then along with a lot of other good fantasy got rediscovered.

However I do think that DWJ's later books weren't nearly as good as her earlier ones. Just slightly missing the magic really.

I think I'd say that Howl's Moving Castle is my favourite because it's the one I turn to when I need a pick me up, but Homewood Bounders and Fire and Hemlock are particularly good, in fact all the stand alone ones are great (although I've never really 'got' a Tale of Time City). I spent years trying to find a copy of Cart and Cwidder (loved Moril but my sister had all the 70's books and took them with her when she left home).

The Dalemarks are really good, and the fourth one really works to bring them together, but I don't really like the sequals to Howl or the later ones in the Chrestomanci world - they feel a bit like potboilers to me.

However having just rewatched the last Harry Potter with dd I can happily say that any DWJ is better than the last HP!

sleepyhead Sat 17-Aug-13 19:24:19

Witch Week was my favourite Chrestomanci one.

I was working in a bookshop when Harry Potter mania started. I took great delight in piling the reissued DWJ books high, and recommending them to anyone who asked about HP. Sold a decent number that way too.

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