One of my greatest pleasures is discovering a new author. Now Diana Wynne Jones has been writing for a long time, Charmed Life was published in 1977, and one of the nicest thing about being (seemingly) the last person to know about a great author is that you have such a wealth of books to pick from. (Digression: a similar thing happened when I picked up the first Harry Dresden novel. When I loved Storm Front I had seven other books in the series to read, as well as Jim Butchers sci fi series. Book geek bliss!). So earlier this week I picked up a copy of Charmed Life from the library.
And it was good, so gooood I squealed, I laughed, I tried to stop characters from doing things (in my head obviously. I haven’t discovered a way to travel into fictional worlds, yet). It was lovely and savage, and imaginative and familiar.
Charmed Life was the first book in the Chrestomanci series (not in the internal chronology, but Diana Wynne Jones wrote it first). The story centres on orphaned Cat who lives in a strange alternative modern day England with steamer ships, and girls wearing petticoats and were magic exists. It’s bright, it’s playful and I never saw the twist coming. In short, I loved it.