Tag Archive | Diana Wynne Jones March

Wrapup: #MarchMagics 2022!

Time got away from me (clearly! XD), but it’s time to look back at the Diana Wynne Jones and Pratchett related goodness I got up to in March — and, actually, April as well!

I didn’t manage to finish up my March Magics goals during the month since I got crazy busy, so I carried on a bit of the reading in April, which was rather nice, actually. And now that I’m trying to ease back into blogging, I shall recap.

Diana Wynne Jones

  • Samantha’s Diary by Diana Wynne Jones (short story in Stories: All-New Tales, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio) — I didn’t expect much from this but ended up finding it to be a total blast! I found the book on Scribd, which was handy as I have a subscription there (referral link if anyone’s interested), and it was neat to be able to just pull up the ebook and read that one story. I don’t want to spoil anything because part of the fun is discovering what’s going on as you read through it (and my favorite quotes from it that I want to share are definitely spoilers), but it’s a Christmas story set in futuristic London and it’s hilarious. XD Recommend!

  • Everard’s Ride collection by Diana Wynne Jones
    • The True State of Affairs (novella in Everard’s Ride and also in Minor Arcana) — I was nervous about this one (and with good reason) after seeing mixed reviews on it. It was gripping and unique and far more intriguing than a story about someone trapped in a tower reasonably ought to be. But most of the characters were difficult to like, the content was far more adult than DWJ usually wrote, and I was not a fan of the ending at all! So I’m torn, because it was fascinating and extremely vivid, and a clever idea, but a lot of it just felt very bleak and then the ending sort of ruined any of the fun I had. I found out, after reading it, that DWJ wrote about the story in the introduction to the other anthology it was collected in (Minor Arcana; Everard’s Ride’s collection which I read it in, had a lovely introduction by Patricia C. Wrede!). And that in that introduction, DWJ explains the story came from an idea she had to explore another angle of an actual historical event with actual people, which actually gives away the rather meh ending right there in the introduction. So I can’t decide whether I’m glad I experienced the story without knowing the ending, or whether I would’ve braced myself for it better if I’d read that introduction before. In any case, I don’t exactly recommend it, unless one is a total completionist, but I’m glad that I did at last read it, and it was definitely fascinating and I liked aspects of it, it was just…darker and more adult than I’d like, and with a lot of unlikeable characters and a depressing ending. But now I know! XD And at least Samantha’s Diary was a fun read, so those were my last two short stories by DWJ that I had on my list to read.
    • other short stories in the collection — These were rereads, and like I thought I remembered, they are hit or miss like many short stories are for me, but definitely all vivid and gripping. My favorites are definitely No One (what an enjoyable sci-fi tale about a robot butler! And the bit about the clothes-washer with the laundry and the socks! Pure hilarious brilliance! XD) and Dragon Reserve, Home Eight which was intriguing if a little grim at times.
    • I did not actually re-read Everard’s Ride, the novella itself, as I ran out of time, but I remember enjoying it the first time, years ago, and hope to revisit it sometime.

  • The Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones — (If the following wall of text is too daunting, skip to the small review at the end of this bullet list. XD) It was SO NICE rediscovering reading for fun after a long reading slump (helped by this series), and experiencing the world of Dalemark all over again. I seem to read this series every 4.5 years (not planned. XD) and I’m still all :O about a lot of the twists which still surprise me on my third read. Only Diana Wynne Jones can do that to me. XD Especially loved reading The Crown of Dalemark, which is my favorite and really ties the whole series together and is mind-blowing and brilliant! *flailing* This series is worth reading just for that book because the way it weaves together the threads of the three previously not-very connected books, and all in a mind-bending timey-wimey way? SHEER GENIUS. Not going to do super book-specific thoughts on it, so just a few general things, but the world of Dalemark is unique and I love how it combines medieval-type fantasy with beginnings of muskets and industrial revolution, while also having a prehistoric-type prequel, and then all the way to their own modern times — modern-day fantasy world is something that is tragically underused, as is time-travel in a fantasy world, and that was just incredible. Plus, following different characters and also traveling so much in each of the books (by cart, by ship at sea, by boat on river, by horse on the Green Roads). The result is this wide-ranging epic that gives a glimpse at hundreds of years of history of many different locales, while still being the story of specific people and how their stories intertwine and echo through history. The muskets and time-travel, woven in with fantasy elements of clever, subtle magic, and the occasional immortal character, was all masterfully interwoven. And the characters are all so vivid and I love so many of them so fiercely! Even ones I didn’t know I’d like at first! Mitt and Navis have to be my top favorites, I think, but Kialan and Moril and others are also fabulous. I just love them so much! There’s a slight wistfulness to the series that’s a little hard to explain — not tragic, really, though there are a few darker moments than in many of her later works, but just this almost melancholy strain of time and immortality and mortality and very real struggles of peoples and earldoms — and yet there are rolicking fun times and banter and tight-knit friendships even in spite of former enmity at times. And all with the vivid ALIVENESS that DWJ’s books often bring of characters who will throw themselves wholeheartedly into things. The ending still absolutely GETS me and leaves me jittery with OH MY GOODNESS feelings and delights and also makes me want another several chapters if not another book. As DWJ books often do. XD Anyway, it was a sheer delight returning to this series, and although it’s not one that every reader will enjoy, I’m certainly one of the readers who does, immensely. ❀ (I left a few more thoughts on the series later in the post under the Dalemark pic I posted down there.)
    • Cart and Cwidder
    • Drowned Ammet
    • The Spellcoats
    • The Crown of Dalemark
    • The small review I left on Goodreads upon finishing: I love this series a lot. It’s odd and not for everyone I suppose, but definitely a favorite of mine, particularly several of the characters, the depth of history/world, and the way each book is so different than the others but all come together masterfully in the fourth one. Flaming Ammet but it’s majestic! Three reads and I’m still catching so many new, deeper meanings and connections. It’s so complex and layered, woven together with so many threads. I’m delighted to have this collection with what I consider to be the definitive cover. *hugs book* Each time I read this series I find myself wandering around a bit dreamy like Moril, during and after reading it, lost still on Dalemark’s Green Roads of the Undying (or maybe the Wind’s Road… or the River…), following Mitt, Navis, Kialan, Wend, Moril, Tanaqui, Maewen, and the others. “Who will ride the King’s Way, the King’s Way? Who will ride the royal road and follow with the King?”

  • Films inspired by books by Diana Wynne Jones
    • Archer’s Goon — This was a super old BBC mini-series from the ’90s that I discovered a few years back and it is rather cheesy but otherwise a lot of fun just to see a neat book (Archer’s Goon — the book is better but still!) come to life on the screen in some way, remarkably true to the book in many ways. And they’re so terribly British and it’s fantastic. XD I also ended up liking Quentin’s character more on the screen than in the book, oddly. This was a fun re-watch.
    • Howl’s Moving Castle — Of course I had to re-watch this one. πŸ˜‰ I still noticed things I hadn’t caught before, even after watching it so many times! The book is still my favorite but the movie is just so relaxing and cozy and it makes me happy in its own separate way! It was a treat to revisit during March Magics. ^_^ And the music and scenery! And Howl. And just all of it!

Terry Pratchett

  • Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett — This was quite unique and I enjoyed listening to the audiobook! I still think the first Tiffany Aching book (The Wee Free Men) is my favorite in this Discworld subseries, but I did like this one more than the second one I think. The concept was fascinating, at least. But mostly, I’m here for the Feegles and their hilarious dialogue and delightful Scottish accents. XD I feel like there was a bit more of them in the first which may be why I loved that more, but this was a fun time and, like I said, unique, with sentient winter and so on. ALSO THIS IS RANDOM BUT I ADORED THE MUSIC FOR THE SECTION BREAKS IN THE AUDIOBOOK VERSION. *cries* The music was just so lovely and whimsical and enchanting and SNOW LIKE and I adored it despite how brief those clips were and could’ve listened to it forever. Ahem. Carry on. This wasn’t, by the way, on my original list of things I wanted to read in March! But I ended up needing an audiobook to listen to and picked this one on Scribd and had a blast. πŸ™‚
  • The Color of Magic (film) — This TV movie was a blast! I enjoy the fact that there are a few Discworld film adaptions out there and this one was a lot of fun. I haven’t actually read the books it’s based on (The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic) yet (I know! I’m a bad bookworm!) but I wanted something new to watch for March Magics and this one was a nice one to try. I’m also fairly certain there was a Po-ta-toes reference since it has Sean Astin in it. XD It was…odd — unsurprisingly, because Discworld — but a lot of fun and I definitely enjoyed myself. πŸ™‚ Still prefer Going Postal, but still!
  • I did not actually manage to read a City Watch book! I can’t believe I did this AGAIN where I planned to and got distracted with a different series, but apparently Pratchetts are just unexpected. XD I will definitely work on the City Watch series again at some point, but I enjoyed Wintersmith and it was just a more convenient format (audiobook) since my physical reading was very focused on Dalemark. I’m sure Sam Vimes will wait patiently until I can get to his next book, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Quotes

I wanted to collect some favorite quotes as I read, but I’m afraid the only ones I did it for before being too absorbed in the stories to actually try, was Cart and Cwidder, The Spellcoats, and Samantha’s Diary. The latter of which, the quotes are spoilers. XD

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones.

  • You had to stand up and come straight out with it. β€œThis is true,” you had to say. β€œThis is the truth. And, though I may not get it over very well, it just is.” And it was horribly difficult to do.
  • The thing about Kialan, he thought as he raced for the cart, was that he had brains.
  • That kind of dream was not true. There were true dreams, but they had to be part of life as well, just as life, to be good, had to embody dreams, or a good song had to have an idea to it.
  • If you stood up and told the truth in the wrong way, it was not true any longer, though it might be as powerful as ever.
  • When he sang, you forgot it was Hestefan singing and thought only of the song. Moril was impressed. Then Hestefan told a story. It was one Moril did not know. And while Hestefan was telling it, he found he forgot who was telling it and simply lived in the story. Moril realized he still had a lot to learn.
  • Everyone had to do things their own way.

And from The Spellcoats:

“These,” Hern said, “are the bodies of two kings. They were killed in senseless hatred, when both had lost nearly all they had. Someone is coming up the River who knows of this, and it pleases him very much. This will make it easy for him to suck out our souls, and the soul of this land, and rule us as his slaves.”

The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones

β€œAnd you call yourself a god!”
Tanamil fetched himself up onto one elbow and said, very earnestly, a very strange thing. “I never called myself that,” he said. “Neither I nor any of the Undying ever made that claim. It is a claim men made for us, and that is how we came to be bound.”

The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones

β€œMallard, can you make nets?”
“I made the best nets in Shelling,” Duck said. Nothing will ever make Duck modest, but he does make good nets.

The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones

And from The Crown of Dalemark, because I had to. XD (This was a quote that was so vivid, it rattled around in my brain for years after reading it but I’d forgotten where it was from so when I re-discovered it on a re-read it was like a massive lightbulb moment of OH THAT’S WHERE THAT QUOTE WAS FROM!)

“All these years I thought [*massive spoiler*]”
“Of all the idiots!” Mitt answered. “There were several hundred people you could have asked!”

The Crown of Dalemark

Pics and Posts

  • I had posted a few #MarchMagics pics on Instagram during the month, a couple of which were also in my March Magics plans blog post.
  • It was my 11-year anniversary of reading Howl’s Moving Castle for the first time and I celebrated with this photo of my HMC editions!

  • And this photo went up in April when I was still reading The Crown of Dalemark. This is one of my favorite books I own! Look at that purple! The sword! The cup! It’s a UK edition I found at Half Price Books once and it’s gorgeous. The Dalemark Quartet anthology with all four books in it, also in the photo, is the definitive version for me though. I love that it has the four main characters from the four books on the cover and it’s so THEM! (Moril with his cwidder, Tanaqui with her bushy hair and rug-coat, Mitt looking slightly shifty/sulky. XD And Maewen with her horse.) Also, the fact that the books are all in one volume like that and I can flip to the end to reference the awesome Guide to Dalemark which has names and places and extra tidbits of history and current/future events. It’s so cool!

And that’s it on my March Magics adventures, extending into April as well. So, so grateful to Kristen M. at We Be Reading for hosting this last hurrah and for creating this celebration in the first place! It’s been a lovely, lovely time.

Even if there aren’t official March Magics in the future (unless somebody else takes over hosting!), I may still revisit DWJ and/or Pratchett in future Marches… we’ll see.

Meantime, this one was an absolutely lovely time and was a highlight of my spring. ^_^


Whew! A virtual cupcake for anyone who read that!

Thanks for reading my wrapup! And let me know in a comment if you’ve read/watched any of these, or any Pratchett or Diana Wynne Jones books recently!

Advertisement

Wrapup: #MarchMagics 2022

March has wended its way to the end so it’s time to see how my #MarchMagics went . . .

It was an excellent one! Books were read, re-read, and listened to, a film was watched, pictures were taken, and I even had a Howl’s-Moving-Castle-ish birthday!

(Thanks as always to Kristen at WeBeReading for hosting March Magics, a celebration of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett!)

BOOKS READ

(Yes, my new adorable otter stamps had to feature in this pic because of Going Postal.)

In my March Magics post with my TBR for the month I mentioned what I hoped to read, so . . . how did it go?

Fairly well, I’d say!

The themes for my reading this month turned out to be Moist von Lipwig for the Pratchett books, and the Magids for Diana Wynne Jones books. Two of each!

  • Going Postal (Terry Pratchett) — This was SO MUCH FUN and I will never look at stamps the same way again. Moist von Lipwig is a delightful con-artist of a hero and I really enjoyed his POV. His parts facing off against Lord Vetinari are the BEST. Their back-and-forth of wits is excellent. XD I generally had a blast with this one and I’m so glad I finally read it! Definitely a new favorite Discworld book.
  • Making Money (Terry Pratchett) — I had planned to read a different Pratchett but instead dived straight into this sequel to Going Postal because it was on audio and I wasn’t ready to leave Moist behind yet. It wasn’t quite as fun as the first one but was still mostly enjoyable, and again, all the Moist and Vetinari parts were gold, no pun intended. XD
  • Deep Secret (Diana Wynne Jones) — This was a reread which I THOROUGHLY enjoyed! It was back in 2016 that I first read this one, and it was delightful to rediscover! Multiple worlds, centaurs, a fantasy convention, and several delightful characters. I loved it so much and it was my first “for-fun” read (not counting audiobooks) in quite awhile and I just SO enjoyed getting to curl up with a wonderful book and look forward to each night of reading. ^_^ (Yes, it’s a pretty dark one in several respects, but aside from that it’s excellent!)
  • The Merlin Conspiracy (Diana Wynne Jones) — So I’m not quite sure if I’m allowed to list this one, but I’m about a third done my re-read so I guess I’ll include it. πŸ˜‰ I had no idea I’d forgotten so much of this one from my first read several years back, so I’m having a blast re-discovering it! Different worlds and Nick and Roddy and all the things. I’m looking forward to finishing this re-read soon (especially to get to the elephant and more of Romanov!!), but I did make a fair bit of progress on it!

I listened to Going Postal and Making Money in audiobook format on Scribd and had a blast! (If you’re interested, you can sign up for two free months on this audiobook subscription site through my link which gets me a free month as well.)

BOOKS NOT READ

I haven’t FINISHED The Merlin Conspiracy but I’ll do that soon. A re-read of the two Magid books (Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy) has been something I’ve been meaning to do for years so I’m so pleased to have finally gotten to (most of) it!)

I also did not manage to read Feet of Clay, sadly, which was on my TBR, but I did read two Pratchett books which was my goal (even if one of them wasn’t planned) so I’ll just have to read this one another time! I do really want to read more Vimes books, for sure, but I guess this month was a Moist von Lipwig month. XD (I also need to get my hands on the third Moist book at some point.)

WATCHED

Going Postal (2010) — After I read Going Postal, I had a blast watching this TV adaption of it. (Just two 90-minute episodes which I watched on IMDB TV/my Amazon for free.) At first it seemed like a pretty good adaption, but still felt rather different than the book in tone and some of the characters/plot ended up a bit different, plus it was less funny… I definitely preferred the book BUT it was still still very well done and enjoyable, and such fun just to see it brought to life on the screen!

INSTAGRAM

I posted a few pics related to March Magics over on my Instagram this last month. Here are some.

My TBR
I posted about House of Many Ways and a book that reminds me of it because of Twinkle. XD
My Diana Wynne Jones collection!

I think I’ve finally collected all of DWJ’s books (with the exception of some short stories, plays, her first basically-unattainable novel Changeover, none of which I’ve read, and the picture book Yes, Dear, which I HAVE read from a library but haven’t collected yet).

The top shelf and beginning of the second shelf are the main collection, and the rest of the books (after the facing-out Howl book) are other editions/copies.

You can see close-ups for the titles in my Instagram post here, and you can also see a video I posted of said shelf tour here!

A Very Howl Birthday

(An English Cream Cake my sister made me for my birthday)

My sister made me a Howl-themed birthday celebration during March! Bacon (“I hope your bacon burns!” XD) and eggs for breakfast. An amazing homemade English Cream Cake because of the cream cake from Cesari’s in the book. She said the chocolate I received could stand for logs for Calcifer. It wasn’t part of the theme on purpose, but a green shamrock shake which was minty and delicious could have been for green slime (in a good way)! XD I even had a minor cold for my actual birthday (and celebrated later) so that was a very Howl thing, the parts in the book where he’s “having a head cold like a drama queen,” as his author said, being some of my favorite parts. XD So of course I had to re-read those bits for my birthday in solidarity. πŸ˜‰

Isn’t this Howl’s Moving Castle “I think we ought to live happily ever after” sticker by Beth Wangler Art amazing? I think it’s adorable! (You can find prints and stickers of this art in her shop or her Etsy!)


All in all, this March Magics was a delight and I thoroughly enjoyed the reading, listening, watching, photographing, cake-ing, and celebrating that I did for Diana Wynne Jones-y and Pratchett-y things! ^_^

In that respect, and for me at least, March was, indeed, Magical. ❀

#MarchMagics Wrapup 2021

Just a quick wrapup post, revisiting the Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett adventures I got up to this last month for March Magics! (Hosted by WeBeReading)

READ AND WATCHED

  • A re-watch of Howl’s Moving Castle (because why not!) — The book is still my favorite, but the film is so cozy and fun and I love it too. It makes me smile, and this time was no exception. It’s also interesting watching it again now that I’ve been watching some other Ghibli films, which was not the case last year!
  • Witch’s Business (a.k.a. Wilkin’s Tooth) by Diana Wynne Jones — I guess this was her earliest children’s book? It kind of shows and was a little different but I enjoyed it, particularly the shenanigans about halfway through when I started getting used to the adventure (as usually happens. XD), and the nods to Puss in Boots which must have been a favorite of hers, since she once wrote a retelling of it and also referenced it for the finale. *grin, grin* Don’t start a revenge business — it won’t go well. XD (Particularly when there’s a mean witch trying to stop you.) Anyway, it has the signature DWJ twistiness and shenanigans and was a bit of a shorter read but I enjoyed it. Reminded me a little of Eight Days of Luke.
  • The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones — This was my last DWJ to read that I’d never read before, so it was a bittersweet moment… Some of it was creepier than I prefer, and knowing some things about her childhood made other parts rather disturbing (as I suspected they would) but the mystery was sooo interesting and I was on the edge of my seat wanting to find out what was going on. There were so many fascinating twists, which I adored discovering. The title, like I vaguely suspected, is slightly misleading. Bwahaha. And I was delighted by certain time-related things! Anyway, certainly darker than many of her books, and I can’t say I particularly recommend it (unless, like me, you’ve read pretty much all her books and are used to the strangeness and want to give it a shot), but I’m glad I finally read it. (PLUS, what was with that barrow bit near the end, which I vaguely feel was a Hexwood or Arthurian reference or something??) Some things reminded me of Fire and Hemlock, too.
  • Men At Arms by Terry Pratchett — Since Guards! Guards! was my very first Discworld novel, it was delightful to come back to this Night Watch subseries. I usually find that in Pratchetts there’s a subplot or character that I just don’t care much about, and this was no exception (plus, there was a death I didn’t see coming and like…I was a little annoyed), BUT aside from a couple of things I disliked and threads I didn’t care about, I did really enjoy this one! Vimes is amazing and Carrot and Vetinari are certainly iiinteresting and there were some fascinating goings-on! There were clever bits and hilarious bits and surprisingly epic bits, and I for some reason wasn’t expecting much so overall I had a blast. Not one to start on, but anyway. I think I missed the Night Watch! Here’s hoping I continue the series. (VIMES, though! All of the Vimes parts were gold.)

I’d say these were two of my less-favorite Diana Wynne Jones books, but I expected that as I’ve been reading the ones that interested me more, so naturally the last two I picked up would be less-favorites. But I always find things to like in a DWJ, even the scarier ones. XD

I’ve finally finished reading all her books, so I feel somewhat accomplished! (Her adult novel Changeover is practically impossible to find, and I may have missed a scattering of little things like short stories. But otherwise, I’ve read all her books now at last.)

And March is always my Pratchett month, and I was happy to get back to the Night Watch, even if it wasn’t my favorite aside from Vimes and Certain Epic Things.

And I’ll take any excuse to re-watch Howl’s Moving Castle — or to re-read the book (though I’m saving that for sometime when I need a comfort read, since I do tend to read it every year).

But look at me, complaining! *smacks self* These were all minor complaints and I did really enjoy getting the chance to read some Jones and Pratchett and overall had a blast! So yes, it was a good March Magics, overall, I’d say!

BLOG POSTS

Other March Magics posts I made this month:

INSTAGRAM

I also posted a shelfie pic of my DWJ collection over on Instagram. My current collection!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I did not find the time, in my busy March, to re-read the Magid duology (Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy), which I’m sliiightly disappointed about.

Nor did I find time to finish reading Wintersmith, which I did, however, manage to at least start.

All the same, it was a lovely March Magics! I enjoyed the adventures I was able to go on. ^_^

Did you read any Diana Wynne Jones or Terry Pratchett in March? Let me know in a comment! Thanks for reading!

If You Like Diana Wynne Jones, Read These!

I posted this on Instagram and thought, you know, it’s basically a blog post. So I’m sharing here too. Just a quick shout out to a few DWJ-ish books I love! (I’m sure there are more. These are the first ones I could think of, though.)

I thought it would be fun, for #MarchMagics, to shoutout a handful of books that give me DWJ vibes. Those vibes aren’t always…explainable, exactly? But something about them reminds me of DWJ books, something we DWJ fans are often on the lookout for. πŸ˜‰ So, aside from Terry Pratchett…

If you like Diana Wynne Jones books, check these out!

1. Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal — This was one of the first DWJ-esque books I read so it has a special place here! A shapeshifting cat, a heroine who feels like she would be quite at home in a DWJ novel, a cantankerous young wizard, even a magical flame character, and all wrapped up in one of the most whimsical, delightful books I’ve read in my life.

2. Lady Moon by Rachel Starr Thomson — Another of the most delightfully whimsical books! A princess and flaming cat and a talking wombat are only some of the delightful things we meet in its pages, and best of all is Tomas, a somewhat Howl-esque Immortal who lives in a clocktower and is procrastinating his destiny.

3. Dana Illwind and Growing Shadows by Arthur DaigleMy giveaway for a copy of this is still running, through tomorrow (March 25)! I get big DWJ vibes from this one, for everthing from the humor and the magical chaotic bits, to the very dramatic enchanter Jayden, who is sort of halfway between Howl and Chrestomanci and is one of my fave characters ever.

4. The City Between series by W.R. Gingell — Humorous, occasionally creepy, urban fantasy in modern-day Tasmania, with a spunky unreliable narrator who goes by Pet and her “three Psychos” (a fae, a half-fae, and a vampire). Athelas and Zero are my faaave. The DWJ vibes here are strong, for me at least. (Also, Masque, and Spindle, by the same author.)

5. Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer — It must be the Tam Lin vibes reminding me slightly of Fire and Hemlock… Also, I met this author on Twitter during a long-ago March Magics, through a mutual love of the Dalemark Quartet! This is a lovely Beauty and the Beast/East of the Sun, West of the Moon story with characters I adore and a multi-world feeling that definitely gives me DWJ vibes.

(And of course, talking of the books in the photo, if you haven’t read Howl’s Moving Castle, Chrestomanci, Dalemark, or Fire and Hemlock, those are also good. ;))

So! If you’re a DWJ fan, what’s a book you love that reminds you of her work? Thanks for reading!

#MarchMagics 2021

Happy March Magics!

This celebration of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett is hosted each year by WeBeReading and I’m excited as always!

My (hopeful) TBR!

I’ve been wanting to reread the Magid duology (Deep Secret, which is darker/more adult, & The Merlin Conspiracy, both of which stand alone) for a long time so I’m hoping to make the time for that.

Then I have two DWJ books I collected and have been saving for this month — I thiiink they’re the last of hers I haven’t read yet? (Not counting misc. short stories etc. and her first one which was for adults and impossible to find and didn’t sound as interesting.) So I have mixed feelings about that. XD But I’m curious to read Witch’s Business and The Time of the Ghost.

Now that I finished the Death series last March, I’m going back to the Night Watch series so I’m going to try Men at Arms (I’ve heard mixed thoughts on this one but loved Guards! Guards!) and I’ve been slowly working through the Tiffany Aching books so this is the next one!

Yes, most of it’s Diana Wynne Jones because she’s my favorite. XD

March is looking to be super busy, though, so I’ll just have to see what I have time to read.

Are you reading any DWJ or Pratchett this month? Thanks for reading!

My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (Part 2)

My Diana Wynne Jones collection so far! (Not counting a few extra copies. ;))

Way back in 2016, I posted “My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (So Far)” during a previous March Magics, and I had a ton of fun listing each book by DWJ which I’d read and some thoughts about them. (It also amuses me how some of my thoughts/favorites have changed since then. XD)

I’d say a Part 2 of such a post is long overdue (I have sixteen books to talk about!), so here we are!

Here are the DWJ books I’ve read since that post. Those first few years definitely had most of my favorites, but I’ve read some more gems since. ^_^

(Also, last time, I mentioned rereads as well, but I’ve done a fair amount of rereading DWJ these last couple of years and I’m mostly only listing the ones that are new reads this time.)

All titles link to Goodreads, in case you want to read more about them.

2016 (continued)

The Merlin Conspiracy

May 16, 2016

My original review consisted of this: “YES TO THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!! ❀ I need an elephant. AN ELEPHANT. Also Romanov. Yesssss. ACK DIANA WYNNE JONES BOOKS ARE LIFE I TELL YOU. (I may coherent a review someday.) ROMANOV.” So I must have liked it quite a lot, even if it’s a bit hazy in my memory due to how long it’s been since I read it. XD Definitely due for a reread! But it’s about Nick, who’s in Deep Secret, so that was fun. (Did you know he was slightly based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman? πŸ˜€ His not-coherent-until-breakfast-and-coffee parts, at least. XD) Also, I was reading it when I had a flu, which was appropriate, since one of the characters did too. XD

The Ogre Downstairs

August 6, 2016

This one was different but interesting, and a little more like a normal modern fantasy than I was used to reading by her. Many shenanigans and unreliable narration. XD But my favorite part was when two of the characters accidentally switched appearances and stuff ensued. XD A shorter read and kind of strange but fun!

Eight Days of Luke

December 28, 2016

Who likes Norse Myths? This fun little book by Diana Wynne Jones features some of that in some most unexpected ways! She was writing about Loki (and Thor etc.) in modern times back in 1975, before the Marvel movies were making this cool more recently. XD It’s been awhile since I read this one and I need to read it again, but I remember it being unique and really enjoying it. πŸ˜€ I liked David, and Loki is very much of a trickster! The mythology elements and characters are woven in so well, in surprising ways (DWJ is excellent at this), and there is much fire. XD Luke was just so much fun. XD

2017

Wild Robert

March 1, 2017

I wrote a review for this one awhile back but it was so much fun! It reminded me partially of The Boggart, and a little bit of Howl for some reason, and it was surprisingly short and I didn’t want it to end — it just stopped and I wanted more! Ack! But it was very cool and had so many shenanigans I loved the twists so much!

Aunt Maria

March 1, 2017

I reviewed this too, and it was really different. It built up and had some cool twists, and some of it was creepy, but it also had fun parts. And so many magical happenings and interesting characters! It’s told in first-person by Mig and it was sooo intriguing to read it as a journal of sorts. It also has one of my favorite quotes about happy endings. I love it so much and I had to make a quote graphic for it awhile back, which I’ve shared before but I have an excuse to share again. πŸ˜€

Hexwood

April 6, 2017

Another top-favorite one! And definitely requires more than one read-through. XD I re-read it for March Magics last year and it was even better the second time. It’s just a mind-blowing book, with soooo many different genres and complex twists all thrown together. I love it so much! And Mordion is my absolute favorite! Some of it’s a bit darker, and it’s terribly confusing at times until you piece together what’s happening (I kept a diagram of who was who while I read it!) but it’s just so unique and delightful. πŸ˜€ It also has out of order timey-wimey stuff, modern/sci-fi/fantasy, Arthurian elements, robots, dragons… ALL THE THINGS. Check out my review if you like. ^_^

Another of my favorite quotes. ❀

Puss in Boots

May 14, 2017

This is a rather short kid’s-book about Puss in Boots, which was fairly straightforward but a fun read. πŸ™‚ I now consider it the ultimate version of this fairy tale. XD DWJ did a good job of making it make more sense and of course her cat character was fabulous. It was fun and had a few illustrations too. Not 100% necessary to read this one but I did really enjoy it. πŸ™‚

Dogsbody

June 3, 2017

This one was sooo unique and I loved it being from the POV of a dog! And in Ireland. The mystery was really interesting. Also, the Wild Hunt! And sentient planets. *grinning* Yep, it has all sorts of things. XD Again, a bittersweet ending meant it wasn’t my faaaavorite, but there was a lot to love. But seriously, dog point of view! XD So much fun!

2018

The Game

March 6, 2018

The whole idea and the mythosphere and all the story bits were brilliant. I wish it had been longer than a novella because it was so fascinating. LOVED this one. I want to re-read it. I particularly love all the myth bits and the characters and all of it.

Yes Dear

March 18, 2018

This was a picture book! Which… again, I don’t remember that well, but I do remember reading it, on a special library trip to a library I hadn’t been to before, specifically because I knew this book was there and it was my birthday month and I wanted to read it. XD I know it was fun (people, pay attention if a child tells you something magical is happening. :P) and I was glad I read it!

The Homeward Bounders

March 12, 2018

EXTREMELY vivid and I loved parts of it, particularly the worldhopping stuff and a certain cool character! Actually, more than one… Just… bittersweet ending, and creepy parts, and I’m stark terrified of anchors now. O_O But a great narrator and WORLD HOPPINGGGG! Kinda mixed on it but there were definitely great things about it. Fascinating and intense and really interesting!

A Sudden Wild Magic

March 31, 2018

I enjoyed this one but I consider it one of her darker, stranger books. XD This one was written for adults so there was more content in this and just more disturbing, so… I figure you can give this one a miss unless you’re being thorough like I am and trying to read all her books. XD Feels a bit more scifi than some. I did enjoy parts of it though! I mostly remember the part with the guy who loved his car. XD And I think there were centaurs!

Dalemark Quartet Re-Read

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to post about re-reads in here, but it’s worth noting my epic re-read of the entire Dalemark Quartet in the second half of 2018. I loved it so much, and there were even plot threads I’d forgotten, so some of it was like discovering it the first time! DWJ is the only author who can do that to me. XD (We won’t discuss how many times I forgot and rediscovered the villain of Conrad’s Fate. XD)

2019

A Tale of Time City

January 6, 2019

Who loves timey-wimey stories? Meeee! A few of Diana Wynne Jones’s books have time stuff in them, most notably this one. The idea of Time City, a city outside time, was really cool. I read this one early last year and had a blast! A bit of sci-fi and WWII era for those who like that. (Even if I don’t usually; but I didn’t mind. XD) If you like Doctor Who you might enjoy this! Elio is the best and I NEED A BUTTER PIE!!!

Earwig and the Witch

January 20, 2019

The illustrations were actually really distracting for me on this one and I feel like I would have liked it better if it hadn’t been illustrated? That’s… weird and probably just me. XD It mostly wasn’t a super favorite but I did enjoy some of it, of course. There’s always something fun about DWJ books! Also, the cat was great. XD

That’s all I got to last year of new ones. I did a lot of re-reading DWJ throughout the rest of 2019, though, and it was so fun!

2020 (so far)

Unexpected Magic

January 8, 2020

An anthology of sci-fi and fantasy short stories. I especially loved No One (genius robot plots. XD), Little Dot (wonderful story from a cat’s point of view), and Everard’s Ride (unique novella set in historical times with some interesting twists and not quite like anything I’d read! One of the author’s earlier works). Some stories were creepy or a bit too weird — short stories are always hit or miss for me, regardless of their author, but it was a quite interesting collection! So glad I finally read this one.

The Islands of Chaldea

March 12, 2020

The latest one, which I just read this month for the first time! It was so much fun! I loved Aileen and the sprawling cast of varied characters. I loved the different islands and getting to travel across them (rather like the British Isles but still with their own twists). I loved the creatures! What fun. And I love how it all wrapped up rather well —Β  I’m quite curious where Diana’s sister Ursula picked up the story’s threads, but they worked quite well! And the little romance threads were adorable, and the twists were delightful! (Also, how about that hot air balloon?? <3) So much fun! What a delightful final work from an incredible author.


And there’s my DWJ Journey, part 2! I’ve so loved getting to discover more of her works in the last few years.

I still have a small handful left to read. (The Time of the Ghost, Witch’s Business/Wilkin’s Tooth, Stopping for a Spell… I think that’s it? Not really counting Changover since it was before her main works and so hard to find. There might be a stray short story or few.) But I’ve read most of her books — 39? I think? — and a couple other short stories.

It’s been a beautiful journey (8 years so far, as March 14 this month, which marked the 8 year anniversary of the first time I read Howl’s Moving Castle!), and the best thing about it is that I get to wander back down this road and stop to enjoy the stories and places along the way all over again.

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading. ^_^