Friday, November 30, 2012

Believing is Seeing

Believing Is Seeing: Seven StoriesBelieving Is Seeing: Seven Stories by Diana Wynne Jones

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I came to Diana Wynne Jones late in life (any later than ten is pushing it!) and have been making it up ever since. Her Chrestomanci books in particular are masterful examples of great fantasy that does unexpected things.

The stories in this collection sometimes feel like they should be part of a more complete world, particularly "Dragon Reserve, Home Eight", in which a young girl is threatened by a government agency afraid of her special abilities. Others are dreamlike or reminded me strongly of the logic of fairy tales ("The Master" and "The Girl Who Loved the Sun"). My favorite was "What the Cat Told Me", which along with "The Sage of Threar" (Chrestomanci!) and "Enna Hittims" are classic examples of Diana Wynne Jones's skill with unexpected magic--magic that throws her young protagonists off balance while forcing them to improvise in powerful ways by drawing on deeply hidden resources of courage and cunning.

The end of the book contains excerpts from her novels, including "Howl's Moving Castle" and others.

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