House of Many Ways – Diana Wynne Jones
One day I will start reading grown up books. I keep telling myself this. One day I will be one of those people who can go to book clubs, who is not embarrassed to be seen reading in public, who is not obsessed with science fiction and fantasy books that are aimed at tweens and young adults.
That time is not now.
House of Many Ways is the third and final part of Diana Wynne Jone’s Castle series and I’m ashamed to say that I adored it much more than any adult books I’ve read recently.
Charmain Baker gets sent to look after her great uncle’s house. What makes this interesting is that the great uncle is a famous wizard, the house is magical and Charmain happens to have applied to help the King in his library at the time she’s supposed to be watching the house…
Even though it is set in a different part of the world from the rest of the books in the series and offers a whole new loveable cast of characters, some familiar faces show up. If you have never read the other books, no need. If you have… you may catch a number of little in-jokes.
Wynne Jones is most amazing in her ssubtlety She is the epitome of the writer’s rule “show don’t tell”. You are often let in on what the characters are thinking and feeling and given vital clues to what is going on through subtle hints that makes the experience of the final revelations that much more enjoyable. She certainly has spent a great deal of time studying human behaviour in order to achieve this so flawlessly.
I am very sad that there are no more books in this series… I will miss some of the staple characters dearly. I guess I will have to read the books again in order to see them.
Now I am moving onto her Christomanci series, which so far is proving to be just as enjoyable.