Sadly, children’s fantasy writer Diana Wynne Jones passed away on Saturday. I discovered her books as a pre-teen, and she’s been one of my favorite authors ever since then. No one married the delightful and whimsical with emotional depth and intricate plotting as well as she did.
Howl’s Moving Castle is my favorite DWJ book, full of delightful characters and amusing situations, and an unexpected hero and heroine. But any of the following are also thoroughly enjoyable reads:
- The Lives of Christopher Chant, Conrad’s Fate and Witch Week: These are all standalones, but involve the character of Chrestomanci, a nine-lived enchanter charged with governing the use of magic in a series of parallel worlds.
- Fire and Hemlock: A more YA book, and a modern-day Tam Lin.
- The Homeward Bounders: I cried at the end. But it was good.
- Archer’s Goon: Funny and poignant. In a town run by seven magical (and fractious) siblings, one family rebels against their control.
- Dogsbody: The dog star, Sirius, is accused of murder and cast down to earth in a puppy’s body, where he is befriended by a young girl. Touching.
ETA: I knew I forgot a couple of books. Dark Lord of Derkholm and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland–thumbs up.
RIP, Diana Wynne Jones. You will be missed.