Review: Diana Wynne Jones – House of Many Ways

House of Many Ways
Diana Wynne Jones
‘House of Many Ways; is another sequel to ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. Similarly to ‘Castle in the Air’, Howl and Sophie feature less prominently and the novel is about a new character – Charmain ‘Charming’ Barker. More after the jump…

3267466Charmain has so far lead a sheltered life, going to the most respectable school, keeping her hands clean and reading many books. So when she finds herself ordered to look after her sick Great Uncle William’s house, she finds herself a bit lost – even with his unearthly directions. Charmain finds herself going in every dimension, but then things are complicated further by the arrival of Peter and a Lubbock.

While elements of this novel are funny, I wouldn’t have said it was up to the standards of Jones’ usual masterpieces. Charmain is engaging, but you feel like she’s too much of a lazy idiot (despite her interjections to the contrary) to be too likeable. This isn’t a fault with Jones’ characterisation – indeed Jones has said that the characters often write themselves, so she has done the best she could with what she had. The narrative builds similarly to the other two books in this series, but it is certainly not formulaic in any kind.

I’d recommend this novel again for teenagers, and older children. At times it can be quite scary for a young child, so I would advise supervised reading.

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