Plot: When Andrew Hope’s grandfather passed away, Andrew inherited his home, his tyranical employees and his field-of-care. He intends to work on his book but strange magical things keep getting in the way. He must remember all the magic his grandfather taught him as a child if he wants to protect his new field-of-care and young Aidan from the sinister Mr. O. Brown.
This was Jones’ most recently published novel and sadly, as Diana Wynne Jones passed away on March 26th 2011, it is also the last one she saw in print. She was marvelous author who created funny, magical worlds filled with quirky characters. She will be missed.
And now, on to the review.
This was a fun book with an interesting take on fairies and magics in the modern world. However, the book feel a bit rushed, especially the ending. Everything is resolved too easily and the denouement is quite unsatisfying.
Great characters could have made up for the rushed plot but unfortunately most of them are a little one-dimentional. There are too many characters for any of them to be properly developped. Many are still delightfully funny: I especially looked forward to the punishments that Mr. Stock and Mrs. Stock inflicted on Andrew for daring to run his own home in a way they didn’t agree with. Still, there is no one quite as memorable as Howl or Christopher Chant.
I wouldn’t give this book to a first time reader of Jones’ work; it doesn’t properly showcase her skill and her wit. But even an average Diana Wynne Jones book is still a delight and the writing is as good as always. Fans and younger readers will enjoy it.