Tag Archive | Aunt Maria

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

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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

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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

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#MarchMagics/Nightstand Books {March 2017}

Time for a look at the books on my nightstand this month and at what I’m up to for #MarchMagics!

(Nightstand Books is a monthly meme created by DJ Edwardson and Jenelle Schmidt.

March Magics [formerly DWJ March] is a celebration of the works of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett, hosted by Kristen @ We Be Reading.)

Non-March-Magics-Nightstand

I’m currently working through Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, and King’s Blood by Jill Williamson — both of which are not for the faint of heart! (Or at least not for the faint-of-arm since they are large.)

Mansfield Park is… interesting. It’s the last Austen I haven’t read and in a sense I’m enjoying it (especially comparing it to Cinderella a little) — though in another sense I’m spending a lot of time absolutely loathing Mrs. Norris and the Crawford siblings and… most everyone else besides Fanny and Edmund. XD

King’s Blood is quite enjoyable so far — I missed Trevn and Wilek so much and didn’t realize it until I started reading! I don’t have much to say on it yet because I’m still reading, but I’ll have a full review of it up on my other blog when I finish. So far an excellent book and I can’t wait to finish!

Not pictured are a couple of beta-reads of books for friends, which I need to make some time for… Reading critically with an eye for editing and feedback takes a lot more effort than regular reading! But I’m looking forward to these. 🙂

IF I can (not sure if it will happen) I would love to be able to have time to read Dragonfriend by Marc Secchia which is this month’s bookclub read for the Fellowship of Fantasy… I enjoyed last month’s read (The Firethorn Crown) and this one looks fun, I just don’t know if it will take priority and if I’ll find the time… SO MUCH TO READ. (It’s an e-book, and I tend to have so many other things to do on my computer — beta-reading, writing, internet — that e-books don’t get read very often unless they’re for review. But we shall see!)

March Magics Nightstand

I actually read most of these last week already! I had a cold so I curled up with some DWJ books and a Terry Pratchett while I recovered, in honor of March Magics, and it was delightful. 🙂 (I should have been beta-reading at the time… but that requires editorial thinking and my brain was not up to that kind of level at the time while I was sick.)

Library acquisitions, I read Aunt Maria and Wild Robert by Diana Wynne Jones, both for the first time! Greatly enjoyed those — it’s always SO MUCH FUN getting to read DWJ books I’ve never read before! 🙂

I also read my second-ever Terry Pratchett book, Mort, for the first of the Pratchett read-alongs for March Magics. I enjoyed it muchly! (It was a timely library-sale conquest… which included a whole batch of Discworld books!)

Perhaps I shall do a mini-reviews post for these soon?

I re-read The Pinhoe Egg (final Chrestomanci book), also for the March Magics readalong (rather early because I couldn’t help it!), thereby finishing my re-reading-aloud of the Chrestomanci books. CHRESTOMANCI’S THE BEST! ❤

I also finished reading Howl’s Moving Castle for the 5th time and still found things I’d never noticed before. HOWL IS THE BEST! ❤ (I know I just said that about Chrestomanci. Hush. Both are true in their own ways. ^_^)

I’m still hoping to re-read Year of the Griffin (for the readalong on the DWJ Goodreads group) and if I can make time, I’d also love to read at least Reaper Man and possibly Soul Music for the March Magics continuing Pratchett readalongs, but we shall see!

I always plan for more books than I have time to read, unfortunately, and I’m very busy this month… However, I’ve already had some great March Magics fun so I’m happy with that even if I don’t get to any more. 🙂

So there you have my ambitious load of March books!

What’s on your nightstand this month, fellow readers? Have you read/want to read any of these? And have you added a Diana Wynne Jones book to your to-read-soon stack or list? (Hint: you totally should! ;)) Tell me your bookish adventures of late!

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

DWJ Quote: why should unhappy be truer?

dianawynnejonesbook

Sometimes I mean to do a post of just a book quote, if it’s a good enough one.

Well, I found one today when I read Aunt Maria by Diana Wynne Jones (in honor of Diana Wynne Jones March / March Magics).

This is how I feel about stories that people say are “realistic”, and about those who say that happily-ever-after endings aren’t realistic.

I believe that happy endings are better… and just because something’s unhappy doesn’t make it truer.

So here, have a quote I love from Diana Wynne Jones. 🙂 Her character, Mig, says it so well as she tells the story.

“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.

— “Aunt Maria” by Diana Wynne Jones