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Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones Review

Title: Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

First published January 1, 2000

138 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780060297053 (ISBN10: 0060297050)

Rating: 3.85


Get ready for a magical ride with Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones. In “Warlock at the Wheel,” a warlock tries to escape Chrestomanci but finds himself at the mercy of a mischievous toddler and her playful pup.

“Stealer of Souls” follows the story of two kids, Cat Chant and Tonino, who are kidnapped by the notorious villain Neville Spiderman. In “Carol Oneir’s Hundredth Dream,” the dream subjects have had enough of being typecast and decide to take matters into their own hands.

And finally, in “The Sage of Theare,” a prophecy of Dissolution is causing chaos among the gods, and it’s up to Chrestomanci to save the day and deal with a troublesome baby. Don’t miss out on these enchanting tales full of adventure, humor, and of course, magic.

About the Author

Diana Jones was born in London to Marjorie and Richard Aneurin Jones, both teachers. When she was five, she had to move to Wales due to the war and later moved to various places, including Coniston Water, York, and London.

In 1943, her family finally settled in Thaxted, Essex, where her parents worked at an educational conference center. Diana spent most of her childhood with her two younger sisters, Isobel and Ursula, left to their own devices.

She went to Friends School Saffron Walden and later studied English at St Anne’s College in Oxford, attending lectures by C. S.

Lewis and J. R.

R. Tolkien before graduating in 1956.

In the same year, she married John Burrow, a medieval literature scholar, and had three sons with him. After a brief period in London, the couple returned to Oxford in 1957 and stayed there until moving to Bristol in 1976.

Diana Jones became an atheist when she was a child, according to her autobiography. She started writing during the mid-1960s to “keep her sanity” while living in a house owned by an Oxford college with her three children and other adults.

Her first book, Changeover, was published by Macmillan in 1970 and was a novel for adults. It is set in a fictional African colony during transition and features a large cast of characters, including government, police, and army bureaucracies, sex, politics, and news.

Jones’ books range from amusing slapstick situations to sharp social observation, to witty parody of literary forms.

Diana Wynne Jones’ works are often compared to those of Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman. She won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 1978 for Charmed Life, and three times she was a commended runner-up for the Carnegie Medal from the Library Association.

She won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, children’s section, in 1996 for The Crown of Dalemark. Many of her earlier children’s books were out of print in recent years but have now been re-issued for the young audience whose interest in fantasy and reading was spurred by Harry Potter.

Editoral Review

Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci, written by Diana Wynne Jones, is a collection of four magical stories set in the same universe as her popular Chrestomanci series. Published on January 1, 2000, this book is a delightful blend of fantasy, adventure, and mystery that will captivate readers of all ages.

Jones was a prolific British author who wrote numerous award-winning books for children and young adults. Her writing style is characterized by its wit, humor, and imaginative storytelling.

In Mixed Magics, she weaves together four unique tales that showcase her creativity and world-building skills.

The first story, “Warlock at the Wheel,” follows a young girl named Tonino who discovers that her family has a long history of magic. She seeks the help of the powerful enchanter Chrestomanci to unravel the mysteries of her family’s past and prevent a dangerous warlock from causing chaos.

The second story, “Stealer of Souls,” features a girl named Cat who is transported to a parallel universe where magic is forbidden. She must use her wits and bravery to outsmart a cunning villain and find her way back home.

In “Carol Oneir’s Hundredth Dream,” a famous dreamer named Carol Oneir enlists the help of Chrestomanci to investigate a strange occurrence in one of her dreams. Together, they unravel a complex web of magic and deception.

Finally, in “The Sage of Theare,” a young boy named Conrad travels to a distant land to learn from a wise sage. However, he soon discovers that the sage has been kidnapped by an evil sorcerer, and he must use his own magical abilities to rescue him.

What makes Mixed Magics so compelling is Jones’ ability to create rich, fully-realized worlds that are both familiar and fantastical. Her characters are relatable and endearing, and readers will find themselves invested in their journeys.

The stories are well-paced and engaging, with plenty of twists and turns to keep readers on their toes.

One of the strengths of the book is the way that it tackles complex themes such as identity, family, and power dynamics. Each story explores these themes in different ways, and Jones’ nuanced approach to these issues adds depth and complexity to the overall narrative.

However, one weakness of the book is that the stories can feel a bit disjointed at times. While they all take place in the same universe and feature the same characters, they are largely self-contained and don’t always feel like they are part of a larger whole.

Overall, Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci is a fantastic read that will appeal to fans of fantasy and adventure. Jones’ imaginative storytelling and well-crafted characters make this book a standout in the genre.

While it may not be perfect, its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.

Anyone who enjoys magical stories with relatable characters and complex themes will love this book. It is a great choice for young adult readers, but adults will also find much to appreciate in its pages.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give Mixed Magics an 8.5. While it may not be a perfect book, it is a highly enjoyable and engaging read that is well worth your time.