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review 2019-03-21 20:10
Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones
Hexwood - Diana Wynne Jones

It was such a pleasure to find a Diana Wynne Jones book I hadn't read yet, and better yet have it be a great one.


'Hexwood' must be one of Jones' most complicated plots. The non-sequential narrative and the grand re-interpretation of English myth reminded me of 'Time of the Ghost' and 'Fire and Hemlock'. As intricate and challenging as those novels were, Jones outdoes herself with this one.


Hexwood Farm is an English housing estate. Anne, recovering from a long illness, notices several people going through the gates of the old farm that gives the development its name but no one coming out. She takes a walk in the small wood bordering the farm and discovers deeper mysteries going on. A skeletal man coming out of a box convinces her to shed blood and create a child in the forest to defeat his enemies, A mechanical man is found in the woods near the impossibly ruined remnants of the farm she knows perfectly well still stands. Anne continues to make it home in time for meals, time in the wood behaves strangely. The boy sometimes older, sometimes younger. He remembers conversations that she hasn't had with him yet.


The source of this peculiar behavior is a device called the Bannus. An ancient machine brought to life by a bored maintenance worker, it was in storage for the distant, galaxy-ruling Reigners, who have control over powerful magic and resources. They are cruel and will stop at nothing to reverse what the Bannus has put into motion. Anne and her friends are at the center of this conflict and the field cast by the Bannus seems to grow wider and wider.


The motives of the Bannus and how it all works out is one of the more ingenious elements of this plot. Without giving anything away, the plot reveals that every character in this book is more than what they seem and nothing in it happens without a reason. This book needs closer study than what people would expect from teen sf. Jones was one of the few people who could and did write for a sophisticated younger audience.


While many elements in the book seem chaotic, there is a hard-wired logic to the world that Jones created here. It is a struggle of powers, of mythology, of morality, and a considerable amount of blood and violence. Jones did not shy away from the darker elements of fantasy, but this may be her darkest work.


Forgive me if I'm rambling, the last few days have been spent in bed with a fever, headaches, and this book, and 'The Darkest Road' were my respite from that monotony. As of writing this on Monday night I'm not out of the woods myself. But trust me that this books greatness was no fever dream. There are twists and turns and King Arthur and galactic rebellion.

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review 2018-09-25 06:24
Magic should not be hidden
The Pinhoe Egg - Diana Wynne Jones

Aunt Gammar was mad and was removed from her house. 


Marianne Pinhoe lives near by and went back to the castle. Cat has magic in him and he found an egg.


Turned out the egg is a griffin egg and it hatched. The story go much faster from then on. 


I like what Millie said about the new bully religion, sound real familiar. 


"A new religion came in this country," Miller said, "full of zeal and righteousness -- the kind of religion where, if other people didn't believe in it, the righteous ones killed and tortured them until they did. This religion hated witches and hated the hidden folk even more. They saw all witches and invisible folks as demons, monsters, and devils, and their priests devised ways of killing them and destroying their magic that really worked." 

"They came with fire and swords and powerful magics, and they killed everyone they could." 

So the story goes with magic and finding magical beings that were hidden. Pretty good read. 


4.5 stars. 


Reading this for Relics and Curiosities square




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text 2018-09-24 04:24
Reading progress update: I've read 133 out of 528 pages.
The Pinhoe Egg - Diana Wynne Jones

So... there is a family of Pinhoe .

Marianne is the girl of the family. And when her aunt Gammer going a bit weird, weirder than usual, she was forced out of her house. 


Now only Cat is living there. For a hundred page, expecting a lot of use of magic. Not so much. Gammer was growing roots and attached to her bed. The house itself got a lot of spell on it. 


It is more light, not heavy, not dark. Not much happen yet. 

Cat befriended a horse. 



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review 2018-07-27 10:55
Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones
Dark Lord of Derkholm - Diana Wynne Jones

TITLE:  Dark Lord of Derkholm


AUTHOR:  Diana Wynne Jones




"Everyone - wizards, soldiers, farmers, elves, dragons, kings and queens alike - is fed up with Mr Chesney's Pilgrim Parties: groups of tourists from the world next door who descend en masse every year to take the Grand Tour. What they expect are all the trappings of a grand fantasy adventure, including the Evil Enchantress, Wizard Guides, the Dark Lord, Winged Minions, and all. And every year different people are chosen to play these parts. But now they've had enough: Mr Chesney may be backed by a very powerful demon, but the Oracles have spoken. Now it's up to the Wizard Derk and his son Blade, this year's Dark Lord and Wizard Guide, not to mention Blade's griffin brothers and sisters, to save the world from Mr Chesney's depredations."



A fun, original, fast-paced romp through a fantasy land that is being indiscriminately (and unpleasantly) used as a tourist adventure destination.  The concept is brilliant, while the characters are entertaining and fully realized.  

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review 2018-07-10 01:15
The Crown of Dalemark, Dalemark Quartet #4 by Diana Wynne Jones
The Crown of Dalemark - Diana Wynne Jones

Intro: It has been seven years since the death of Diana Wynne Jones, and I've been a fan of hers since childhood, but I had never read this series before.

The Dalemark Quartet, arguably the most effective series Jones ever wrote. Jones' genius didn't lend itself to sequels. When she created a world and characters she said all that she wanted to say in that first volume. That's why many sequels often had mostly new sets of characters, if not new worlds, and often, fell flat. Dalemark is a magical kingdom divided among feuding lords, with a sharp division between those in the North and those in the South. Ideology, prejudice, and history must be overcome and its fate rests in the hands of children, sometimes scattered over centuries.


This is where it all comes together. Our heroes, with some disappointing behavior from a certain young lady from 'Drowned Ammet' who I expected more of frankly, come together. Mitt and Moril strike sparks as protagonists must when colliding, but there is a fresh perspective in the form of Maewen. A girl of modern Dalemark, she has been transported into, for her, the distant past, and must help unite the disparate factions of Dalemark and trust her new friends, before an ancient evil arises and changes history.


'Crown' effectively ties together all of the loose ends of the series, blending Mitt and Moril's stories, the distant past and even the modern coda at the end of 'Spellcoats' into a whole greater then its parts. That very effectiveness takes away some of the thrill of the book, as a reader can see where much of the plot is headed, but is still a worthy ending to the series with a strong message of forgiveness entwined in its plots.


Previous: The Spellcoats

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