keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
House of Many Ways
by Diana Wynne Jones
404 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/YA/Fantasy

Charmain Baker, an utterly respectable young lady, is sent to house-sit for her Aunt-by-marriage's Great Uncle William, better known as the Wizard Norland. The house--of the title and thus many-wayed--is magic, of course; events are further complicated by the arrival of a clumsy (but not in the way you would expect) apprentice, and the danger of a purple insectoid creature called the lubbock lurks in the pretty meadows beyond. Howl and Sophie enter the story about halfway through; this is also where the action picks up and I really started enjoying the story. I didn't particularly care for Charmain at the beginning; she is appealingly bookish but also frustratingly naive. However, once the original HMC cast comes on stage, things really get interesting with palace intrigue (the royals, especially Princess Hilda, are delightful). There is a clear villain, as one might expect in a YA novel; I didn't find this too detracting. Overall, a strong Jones book that doesn't live up to Howl's Moving Castle (as no sequel can ever match the original) but is on par with Castle in the Air. The voice and style are very classic DWJ, and very British (I giggled every time Charmain said "shall"). The plot twists were excellently executed, fun and foreshadowed; I still love Howl/Sophie, and on top of all that, the cover is just beautiful. I do think, though, that a reader would get more out of this book if they were already familiar with HMC (either book or movie), despite its standalone status.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)

Before I forget about my brilliant idea, I'll debut it. I'm going to catalogue all the books in my library bag, and give a mini-review of each. (Since I can't be bothered to write a full-length review and yet I feel bad about doing so...)

1. Unexpected Magic by Diana Wynne Jones - interesting stories, some are better than others. A worthwhile read, although definitely YA.
2. Geisha by Liz Dalby - the only nonfiction book this time around. It took me a long time to finish, but it's pretty engaging for nonfiction.
3. The Lord of Castle Black by Steven Brust - A great book, but the second one in a series of three so far, and I haven't read the first or third. There was a summary in the beginning, but the ending is inconclusive and as the library seems to only have this book... I didn't enjoy it as much as I wish I could have.
4. SPQR V: Saturnalia by John Maddox Roberts - Lots of references to IV, which was annoying. Otherwise, fast-paced and quick light reading.
5. Four for a Boy by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer - The fourth book in a series but the first one chronologically, so it wasn't too confusing. I'm putting the others on my reading list, but have no idea when I'll get to them.
6. Nekropolis by Maureen F. McHugh - A very nice character-driven literary SF. I'd like to see more of these, other than the ending on a symbol part. I really disliked endings that don't resolve the plot.

And two more that I'm in the middle of reading, Imperium and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. On the latter, I'm going to be a bit ranty; the essays vary between mildly interesting, horrendously boring, and quite entertaining.


keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)

January 2011



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