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Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones

Title: Hexwood

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Date read: April 6, 2017

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi/Contemporary/Time/Arthurian

Age: Toeing the line between YA and Adult? New Adult? Anyways, slightly darker.

Year pub: 1992

Pages: 449 (paperback)

Fave character: MORDION. Mordion Mordion Mordion

Source: Birthday present, preciousss

Find: On Goodreads here

Favorite quote:

“Can’t you treat yourself with a bit more consideration?”

“Why should I?” Mordion said, hugging the duvet round himself.

“Because you’re a person, of course!” Ann snapped at him. “One person ought to treat another person properly even if the person’s himself!”

“What a strange idea!” Mordion said.

An ordinary modern-day British girl (kind of), named Ann, stumbles into an epic fantasy world (…sort of), and meets a pigeon-hole-defying, spoiler-drenched man named Mordion, and a boy named Hume (maybe).

There are also robots. And dragons.

There’s also an inter-galactic sci-fi mess going on, some Arthurian legends sprinkled around the edges in totally unexpected ways, and oh, yeah, the entire thing is out of order in a time-bending confusing labyrinth of plot-twists.

Nobody is who they seem (or rather, they may be somebody else… or several somebody elses. I literally kept a list/diagram while I was reading).

FEATURING:

  • Dragons
  • Robots
  • King Arthur and Merlin (sort of)
  • Time which is… fluid, shall we say, and more complicated than Doctor Who
  • A tragic brainwashed assassin to rival Bucky Barnes (he’s got nothing on this guy)
  • A complex plot-within-plot that makes my head hurt and kind of makes Inception’s layers look like a children’s cartoon
  • Several hundred plot twists
  • An unexpected romance
  • One of my new favorite characters of ever (not sure how I feel about this)
  • Weirdest book I’ve ever read
  • Has more genres mashed in it than I’ve ever seen in a single book (Contemporary/Fantasy/Sci-fi/Time/Arthurian/Romance/YA/Adult/DWJ)
  • Darker than most DWJ books (except Deep Secret)
  • One of my top five-or-ten DWJ books (despite the darkness/weirdness… don’t hold it against me; I’m surprised at me too)
  • First new-to-me DWJ book since my How to Read Diana Wynne Jones blog posts (part 1) (part 2); it lined up with pretty much everything, x100000
  • I need to reread it now, please and thank you

Don’t read this as your first DWJ, and if you do read it, know you’re getting into an insanely complex, inter-genre, rather dark story, for which reason I only recommend it to older teens/adults. If I recommend it at all. I loved it to bits but have a feeling that it’s far too weird to recommend to anyone at all. I literally can’t predict who would/wouldn’t like this. You’ll either a) love it a ridiculous amount (*raises hand*), b) hate it, or c) not understand it at all. I have a feeling there’s no middle ground.

Anyone who has read it: TALK TO ME! I need somebody who understands my confused feels about this book.

If you need me, I’ll be in a corner with my mind blown, contemplating re-reading this book so that I can understand it, and generally having a massive book hangover. Because how am I going to find anything to read, after this mindbending confusing thing, that will not feel like bland cardboard? HELP. *collapses* (I’m hoping Stephen Lawhead’s The Fatal Tree might help me with this… *reaches for bookshelf*)


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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#MarchMagics Wrapup {2017}

And March Magics comes to a close. Always a bittersweet feeling, because I don’t want it to END, but at the same time it was a delightful event!

I know I for one definitely immensely enjoyed this month of celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett.

Here’s a look at my magical March. 🙂

Books I Read

  1. Wild Robert – Diana Wynne Jones — New read, quick and delightful; didn’t want it to end! 5 stars
  2. Aunt Maria – Diana Wynne Jones — Also a new read, I was so glad to finally get to read this; I enjoyed it a ton. 5 stars
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones (re-read; 5th time) — I was currently in the middle of re-reading this one when March hit, so I finished it up, and it was an absolute delight, as always! ❤ I’m amazed at how I still caught new things on my 5th read. 5 stars (and/or all-the-stars-ever!)
  4. The Pinhoe Egg (Chrestomanci #6) – Diana Wynne Jones (re-read) — This was for the March Magics readalong finishing up the Chrestomanci series. I had recently re-read the earlier books in the series, so I just did this one this month. IT’S SO GOOOOOD. 5 stars. ❤
  5. Mort – Terry Pratchett — Also for the read-along. This was my second-ever Pratchett book and I THOROUGHLY enjoyed myself. XD 4.5 stars
  6. Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett — Read-along again, and absolutely LOVED one of the main story-threads (the Bill Door one), although I wasn’t as crazy about the other main one for some reason. 4 stars
  7. Year of the Griffin – Diana Wynne Jones (re-read) — This one was for a read-along that the Diana Wynne Jones Fan group on Goodreads had. I had forgotten so many things about it! I couldn’t believe it. I liked it the first time, but I loved it SO much more this time! ❤ 5 stars
  8. Soul Music – Terry Pratchett — Also for the March Magics read-along; I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the ones before, but still had its fun moments and was interesting. 🙂 3 stars

DWJ Posts this month

I had SO much fun with those How to Read Diana Wynne Jones and Diana Wynne Jones Experience posts. 😀

Reviews

Other March Magic Things

New DWJ book to read

I got Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones for my birthday this month. I can’t wait to dive into reading it! 😀

DWJ book and chocolate rose for my birthday. Chocolate and DWJ books have something in common: they can’t remain in the house long before I devour them. ❤

Photoshoot

I had an excuse to do a DWJ and Terry Pratchett book photoshoot. Which, as you can imagine, made me happy. XD

(I’ve read all the DWJ books I own except Hexwood. I’ve only read 4 Terry Pratchetts though, so the rest in the picture are ones I have yet to read.)

Archer’s Goon film

I saw the old BBC mini-series of Archer’s Goon (1992) which I had never heard of before but “coincidentally” discovered this month and binge-watched. It’s two-and-a-half hours of cheesy 90s British fun. It doesn’t do the magical and larger-than-life and humor of the book justice, but was nonetheless fun, just to see a DWJ story come to life on screen. 🙂 It actually had quite a lot of dialog from the book, so in a sense it was far more “true” to the book than most adaptions these days… Anyways, it was VERY strange and not as good as the book, but I enjoyed it for some reason anyway. XD

Diana Wynne Jones Book Page

I also decided to make a DWJ Project page on this blog! It can track the books I’ve read, and the ones I want to read, and other fun stuff like quotes graphics I’ve made. I’m hoping to gather some fun links etc. there, and add to the page overtime. 🙂

Conclusion

In general, I just really enjoyed immersing myself in DWJ things like reading posts and listening to a podcast and just… all the DWJ goodness!

And Terry Pratchett too, of course. 😉 Before this month, I had only read one of his books, so I enjoyed getting to read a few more. The Discworld books are definitely strange and not for everyone, but I’ve been enjoying them fairly well. 🙂

Overall, it was a splendid month of humorous fantasy, and I love any excuse to hang out in the worlds of Diana Wynne Jones. ^_^

Thanks very much to Kristen @ We Be Reading for hosting! I had a world (or several) of fun!

I look forward to another magical March next year. ^_^

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones

5starrating

The March Magics theme this year is “A Matter of Lives and Death” — the Lives part referring to the Chrestomanci series, since Chrestomanci is the title of a nine-lifed enchanter.

For the Diana Wynne Jones read-along for March Magics which Kristen @ We Be Reading is hosting, four of the Chrestomanci books were featured.

Today I’m looking at the final one, The Pinhoe Egg. I just read it for the second time and had an absolute blast with it! ❤ *hugs book* So, so good! ^_^

Here, have a review. (Please excuse the flailing; I can’t help myself.)

Title: The Pinhoe Egg

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

factoids

  • Date read: March 5, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2006
  • Pages: 515 (hardback)
  • Series: Chrestomanci, #6
  • Fave character: Chrestomanci
  • Source: Library
  • Notes: Re-read aloud (reading for second time), for March Magics Diana Wynne Jones readalong

[Find The Pinhoe Egg on Goodreads]

review

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH I LOVE THIS BOOK SO SO MUCH!!! It may be my absolute favorite Chrestomanci book ever. ❤ And one of my top DWJ books, period.

Just so much is going on in this thing! Not to mention all the fabulous characters, including several familiar ones.

It’s closer to an actual sequel-type-book than Diana Wynne Jones usually wrote. A lot of her sequels follow entirely different characters, just in the same world, with cameos. This was more of a proper sequel to Charmed Life and some of the other Chrestomanci books, and it was such a delight to be back at Chrestomanci Castle with Cat, and Chrestomanci, and Millie, Janet, Roger and Julia, etc. New characters Marianne Pinhoe and her brother Joe were great fun. I also really liked Irene! And a certain character who’s a spoiler ‘til near the end… but he was great too! 🙂

It’s HILARIOUS, too. Julia and Janet going into a horse-craze, Roger and Joe and their inventing, etc. (WE BELONG TO CHRESTOMANCI CASTLE!)

And I so so enjoyed reading about Chrestomanci and his misadventure or two and how he fixes things when he knows about it; Marianne and the Pinhoe shenanigans; Cat and his problems with having to raise a baby griffin, keep a horse happy, help Marianne without Chrestomanci (doesn’t go so well), and learn more about his magical abilities, because he is, after all, going to be the next Chrestomanci someday.

These CHARACTERS, though!

Cat is just a fabulous hero. I really like him a lot, for some reason.

Marianne is a lot like Cat, though his opposite in some ways. They’re fun together.

Millie is the best mum/wife ever. She’s so calming and great! Gah.

Time would fail me to talk of sullen Joe Pinhoe, Roger and Julia, Cat’s sort-of-sister Janet, the lovely Irene (formerly Pinhoe; yes, there are a lot of Pinhoes in this), and all the rest. But it’s such an awesome cast!

Plus Klartch the griffin. There’s also a unicorn. Yesss to the fantasy goodness.

Last, but far from least, Chrestomanci himself is the absolute BEST!

I felt like we got to see an unusual amount of Chrestomanci in this one, which was fantastic! His dry and witty dialog, his sarcastic look that makes you want to melt into the ground, his elaborate dressing-gowns (one for every day of the year, according to an interview with the author!), his elegant suits, his vague looks that mean he’s paying extreme attention, his calm ability to step in and fix a magical disaster efficiently and with some great sarcastic remarks — as soon as he knows the disaster is there, of course (since the main characters often don’t tell him until it’s almost too late).

But he’ll also make sure that the right people help fix it, so that they learn from their mistakes, etc., and also that the right people get their comeuppance. It was also fabulous/hilarious to see him more in a parental-type-role, dealing with the antics of his son and daughter, Roger and Julia, as well as with young Cat and Janet.

AND HIS DIALOG. I CANNOT GET OVER HIS DIALOG. He’s sooo funny and dry and sarcastic and just… I cannot. (It was absolutely so much fun reading this book aloud, if only for his lines.)

Chrestomanci (a.k.a. Christopher Chant, since Chrestomanci is merely the title of the nine-lifed enchanter) is simply one of the absolute best characters ever; and if ever I was in a magical difficulty, I’d definitely want his help!

I love this series, and although I would read dozens more if there were any, this book was the perfect ending for it. Classic DWJ, and Chrestomanci is one of my top-favorite characters ever. ❤

Have you read any of the Chrestomanci books? (Which is your favorite?) If not, you must read one ASAP, because they are delightful books, and you need Chrestomanci in your life!

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Wild Robert by Diana Wynne Jones

Title: Wild Robert

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

  • Date read: March 1, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy (Contemporary)
  • Age: Juv. Fiction/YA?
  • Year pub: 1989
  • Pages: 100
  • Illustrator: Mark Zug
  • Fave character: Wild Robert… sometimes. 😉
  • Source: Library
  • Notes: Read in honor of March Magics (2017)

[Find it on Goodreads]

What if a mysterious magical being who had been asleep for 350 years, woke up in modern times, found the castle of his former home turned into a tourist attraction, and decided to make mischief? That’s Wild Robert for you! Heather has a lot to put up with when she accidentally summons him into her tourist-crammed day… Shenanigans ensue!

Quite short read (100 pages including illustrations and large print; I read it in a sitting) and a very fun way to kick off March Magics/Diana Wynne Jones March 2017! 🙂

I’d never read this one before. It made me think a little bit of Eight Days of Luke, and maybe a dash of Howl’s Moving Castle for one tiny reason. DWJ once again blends fantasy, history, modern times, humor, strangeness, and fascinating characters in a bizarre but heart-capturing read.

It’s not all fun and pranks though… there’s a deeper mystery and something sinister behind all of this, and the reveal twisted my heart and made me feel bad for poor Robert! I was conflicted about this strange impish character — he definitely keeps you guessing. 😉 He’s a fascinating mystery, I guess you could say.

It was quite enjoyable, and I loved the twist at the end about who Robert is! 😀

It stopped rather before I wanted it to… I could have read another two or three hundred pages on this!! So at first I was sliiightly disappointed about that, but at the same time it works perfectly, ending at just the right place to let the imagination wander free about what might happen next… 😉 So I’m happy with it. 🙂 DWJ always leaves you wanting more!

(It almost made me consider wanting to write a fan-fiction continuation, I wanted to know so badly. The idea of fan-fiction almost never crosses my mind. Heehee.)

Great fun! ^_^

What would you do if you were a magical person who woke up after 300 years and found your castle turned into a tourist attraction? And have you ever read a book where you wanted the ending to continue? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10(ish) Thoughts on “Aunt Maria” by Diana Wynne Jones

5starrating

Title: Aunt Maria

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

factoids

  • Date read: March 1, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy (Contemporary)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 1991
  • Pages: 274 (hardback)
  • Fave character: Antony Green and Chris
  • Source: Library
  • Notes: Alternate title; UK title is Black Maria. Read in honor of March Magics

[Find on Goodreads]

review

10(ish) Thoughts on “Aunt Maria” by Diana Wynne Jones

1. First thing’s first: Time travel! There was a bit of time travel near the end of the book, which was SUPER awesome! I will not say anything more about it, but suffice to say that it was fabulous.

2. It’s told in first person by Mig, a girl who likes to write (kindred soul!). She tells us the story in her journal. I don’t always care for first-person, but I really liked how it was her journal! It gave the story such an immediate feeling and all the descriptions etc. felt so up-close-and-personal, somehow. And it didn’t feel like a normal journal-or-letters type story, because it wasn’t under daily headings or anything, but had more of a flowing-together sort of feeling. Anyways, it was so well done.

3. Favorite characters! Mig’s brother, Chris, is awesome. XD I really enjoyed his character! Chris(tian) not Chris(topher) as he likes to stress when Aunt Maria gets it wrong. 😛 He’s outspoken and has wonderful strong feelings of fun or anger, and is just great. While I’m thinking of favorite characters, Antony Green was fabulous. 😀 I really, really liked him! I also can’t say anything about him because he’s one of those fascinating characters with SO. MANY. SPOILERS. Ahem. But he’s great. 😀

4. The plot was super interesting and complex, with so much going on under everything, even though it seemed pretty ordinary on the surface for awhile. It was soooo strange! (Like DWJ books always are.) But also fascinating. The undercurrent of magical things, the strange, almost sci-fi/dystopia set-up of the strange village, Cranbury-on-Sea, with its people divided into vacant worker-men, women who work for Aunt Maria, and clone-like children in an “orphanage.” There are so many questions about EVERYTHING, so it’s very much a mystery (especially since we’re in Mig’s limited point of view).

5. On that note, for a good half of the story, I wondered why it WAS Mig’s POV, because it seemed like it would have worked better from Chris’s perspective. He was the one who was doing everything to start with, and Mig is always telling us things about what he thinks. But then things happened and everything clicked, and I realized exactly why it had to be Mig telling it and it made perfect sense. So I liked that. 🙂

6. Dislikes: Aunt Maria was awful! (So were her followers.) Eep. She acts like a sweet, innocent, helpless old woman, but she’s sooo creepy! Not that that’s a bad thing, exactly (meaning it’s not something I dislike about the book, I just dislike her. XD). I don’t care for splitting-up-couples storylines, so I’m not sure how I feel about that part, though under the circumstances I suppose it turned out as well as it could.

7. I felt like there was a lot of deep stuff going on… It really felt like it was presenting a lot of thoughtful takes on society and men and women etc. It was really interesting and I can’t really explain it. I might be able to put my finger on it better on a second read, but my first thought is that it had some fascinating ideas about society.

8. The characters were all so complex and well-written that most of the time I was kept guessing and re-adjusting on who I thought was good, bad, or on their way between changing back or forth, or just (as was often the case) had bits of good and bad mixed up in them just like real people.

9. Also contains: humor; a wolf-hunt (which is not what it seems); cats and wolves who are not what they seem; a fascinating bit on what it’s like to have a cat’s perspective (so adorable!); a mysterious elderly brother-sister pair (she’s tiny, with a tendency to fall over; he’s brusque and grumpy with a tendency to practice the art of swordsmanship—mostly standing holding a sword over his head); an ending which wrapped things up in a way that for the most part I really liked; and, of course, lots and lots of tea.

10. I think I need to reread it.

Favorite quotes:

What’s the good of being civilized, that’s what I’d like to know? It just means other people can break the rules and you can’t.

***

“There goes Mig with her happy endings again,” Chris said. But I don’t care. I like happy endings. And I asked Chris why something should be truer just because it’s unhappy. He couldn’t answer.

***

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer