The Chronicles of Chrestomanci: Volume 2
Diana Wynne Jones
After reading the first book in this pair, I realised that I hadn’t read either of them before. I was glad, as it would enable me to review the book from an adult’s perspective as well as a teen’s.
The first novel ‘The Magicians of Caprona’ is very similar in nature to Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or the film ‘West Side Story’, although of course it is set in a world with magic. The protagonist, Antonio Montana, is able to speak to cats but his magical skills seem lacking. The spells in his part of the world are fading – Caprona is under internal and external attack. Then, when things just seem to be sorting themselves out, Antonio Montana and Angelica Petrocchi are kidnapped.
Although this book is in the same world as Chrestomanci, those hoping for a sequel to Volume 1 in these Chronicles will be disappointed. These books are chronicles, not sequels. That being said ‘The Magicians of Caprona’ was an enjoyable read, and I’d recommend it for ages 10 and up. Not a speck of bad language, and only a small fear element. You’ll probably never look at Punch an’ Judy the same way again though!
The second novel ‘Witch Week’ is still light hearted in tone, but deals with heavier issues, such as bullying and individualism. The four main characters who happen to be witches cause mayhem in school. This is in a world which burns witches where the worlds have no split correctly. It is a problem that only the Chrestomanci can solve, but he needs a lot of help as he’s out of his home world. Again, the Chrestomanci element comes in only at the end of the narrative to save the day.
It is the vivid characterisation that makes this book, rather than extensive descriptions of Larwood house. I would probably recommend this book for ages 12 and up due to the somewhat contentious themes.