What I love most about DWJ s stories is that magic, in all of her writing, is an everyday thing it s part of life, usually not mentioned as something special She makes it seem natural and you begin to feel that everyone has a little magic after all.
A good collection of Diana Wynne Jones short fiction They re not all her best work, but there s some excellent stories here Recommended for her fans.
The Girl JonesA most excellent way to get out of babysitting, forever Hilarious Not fantasy, though.
Nad and Dan and QuaffyEh, I didn t care for this one Too self referential, and kind of annoying A female writer, at her word processor, makes contact with an alternate universe.
The Plague of PeacocksA peaceful village is invaded by new neighbors Their passive aggressive, do gooder ways get worse and worse until their just desserts are delivered, in the village s own special way.
The MasterA vet takes a late night call, and is led into a mysterious wood to tend to wolves It s framed as a dream but in a far less annoying way than most it was a dream stories.
Enna HittimsA child is sick with mumps To amuse herself, she pretends that her bed is a dramatic landscape but when the tiny adventurers of her imagination come to life, things get out of hand Doesn t most everyone get vaccinated for mumps there days I ll look at it as being a period piece The Girl Who Loved the SunA story with a mythological feel, about a girl who becomes a tree, believing the sun will love her The Fluffy Pink ToadstoolHa Hippies might get a bit grumpy about this one, but it s pretty funny The mom of a family goes on a DIY craze, and foraging for food goes just a bit wrong Auntie Bea s Day OutAn annoying aunt doesn t pay attention to warning signs at the seashore and gets far than she bargained for, on a whirlwind tour of all different sorts of islands CarruthersDue to an aural misunderstanding, a young girl thinks that a walking stick will magically beat her annoying father The stick talks to her, and moves, but seems unwilling to do any beating People think she s pretty weird for bringing a cane everywhere, and talking to it But in the end, she s vindicated in a rather unexpected way What the Cat Told MeAn evil wizard uses boys for nefarious purposes, but, with the help of a cat, one may finally escape told from the point of view of the cat, which one may either find cute, or mildly annoying.
The Green StoneA funny take off on the quest story All the heroes, sidekicks, and what have you are assembled at the inn yard, and a bard is there to report on their deeds But the quest unexpectedly get aborted in, of course, an unexpected way.
The Fat WizardA small town story of magic gone wrong or possibly, unexpectedly right losing weight doesn t necessarily mean you ll be in shape No OneAn amusing sci fi story about a very poorly programmed household robot.
Dragon Reserve, Home EightA familiar feeling but very enjoyable story on a colony world, those with psychic powers are kept in swift and brutal check So it s not surprising that some families would try to hide their children s abilities The end of the story makes too much effort to backpedal from the nastiness the story has brought up, but I still liked it.
Little DotAnother story from a cat s point of view But I liked this one I m not sure why Bast would be a Caribbean lady, not an Egyptian woman, but it s fine A bunch of cats must drive off their rescuer s new girlfriend before she takes them to the pound but she is nefarious than even they could have guessed.
Everard s RideThis is not a short story it s a whole novel Not even a novella It s around 230 pages long Why it wasn t published as its own book, I do not know It s an early work by Wynne Jones, originally written in 1966 It s a very nice romantic fantasy If one travels to a small island in the proper way, a medieval ish pocket world is discovered Although rumors abound of ghosts, it s very real, and there may be there for some of the characters than there is here.
Master Storyteller Diana Wynne Jones Presents A Riveting Collection Of Unpredictable Tales, Including A Cat Tells How The Kindhearted Wizard She Owns Is Suddenly Called Upon To Defeat A Horrific Beast When Anne Has Mumps, Her Drawings Come To Life, And She Must Protect Her Home From Them Four Children Become Involved In The Intrigue Surrounding An Innocent Prince, An Evil Count, And A Brave OutlawThese Fifteen Stories And One Novella Will Enchant, Startle, And Surprise I really don t think it is fair to give a blanket rating to a collection of very different stories, so I m going to break it down a bit , keeping in mind that this book is shelved in the Juvenile section of my library, so I will be commenting on age approprietness or not in each story s reviewThe Girl Jones feels very much like a biographical story, not sure how much of it is or isn t true, but it s rather funny, and as someone who avidly avoided babysitting as a teen, I can totally relate to this story Taken in the light of a silly, biographical tale, I didn t really find anything wrong with it that the author doesn t mention as being a mistake herself Three stars, fine for young adult teen and up.
Nad and Dan Adn Quaffy this is a short story for adults, other than the nudity and the innuendo, there isn t much else to the story except a clever play on phonical sounds and words Overall plot could have been interesting if it had wandered a bit farther out of adult fantasy One star, inappropriet for teens, not much better for adults.
The Plague of Peacocks is a sad cautionary tale and rather anti religious As far as language and such go, it is okay for teens, though a good discussion on the real motives of the Platts wouldn t go amiss Two stars, older teens and up.
The Master is, quite frankly, mostly just creepy Feels very like a fever dream from the narration and the weird stuff going on and from the poor resolution Mildly disturbing content, off stage animal violence against people, slight innuendo, alcohol use two stars, adult only.
Enna Hittims is another good warning tale in how we treat the people around us, and letting your imagination run rampant Violence, peril situations and some language, I would say only appropriet for older teens, though I think the pre teens are likely to actually enjoy the story Two stars.
The Girl Who Loved the Sun I actually liked, it s a good story about running after the wrong things and the hurt it does to ourselves and others, particularly when you are chasing a lie Painful situations and a sadder ending, three stars, young adult teen and up.
The Fluffy Pink Toadstool is a good warning on being consumed by fads and is fairly anti hippy or hippy poser if you prefer The aspect of the story that I didn t like, was how overall the family didn t respect one another, which in the end the mom learned a lesson, but the others didn t They dealt with it by ignoring her and being rather hurtfull of her feelings Two stars, young adult teen and up.
Auntie Bea s Day Out is rather the same overall feel as the last story and Enna Hittums, though rather clever and humorous The story does end well for the heroes, but they don t really solve the problem Three stars, young adult teen and up.
Carruthers, taking into account this was written in the 70 s women s lib issues it is a bit easier to see where she is coming from, but the main heroine and her father behave horribly to each other, and because of this cause problems for the other two sisters and her mother Again, mutual respect would have gone a long way to solve their problems, but hitting is not the way to fix things Peril situations, family fighting two stars, older teen and up.
What the Cat told Me is actually a very clever tale of magic and intrigue and thwarting evil told from the perspective of a wandering cat that is perched on the reader s knee Somewhat dark in tone, though it has a happy ending and slightly sensual as when the boy sees a beautiful girl the cat doesn t understand until she figures he wants kittens , may also be some language but I don t remember for sure three and a half stars can I do that Well, it is in my review so I don t see why not and it earned that half , young adult teen and up.
The Green Stone is a great play on the epic fantasy story, don t want to ruin the twist, but it is hilarious Probably my biggest quibble is the fact that it ends in the middle of the action Some scantilly clad characters, and an off screen zombie attack, but still a solid three stars, appropriet for young adult teen and up.
The Fat Wizard is classic DWJ battle of the magics, with un intended consequences Pretty funny, some women s lib stuff, though generally the fault of the town jerk, slightly strange and perilous situations just barely avoided, three stars, young adult teen and up.
No One is a rarer DWJ sci fi, from the point of view of a robot who has to learn how to work with humans who don t explain very well and take a lot for granted, and machines who are doing their best to thwart it from petty jealousies All while out manneuvoring kidnappers It s quite fun, though there is some peril and some un answered questions view spoiler WHAT IS SOMEONE hide spoiler It s my preference for short story collections not to give star ratings to each story, but to mark whether I felt positively or negatively toward them when I finished each 1 The Girl Jones 2 Nad and Dan adn Quaffy fun 3 The Plague of Peacocks love when people get what s deserved 4 The Master 5 Enna Hittims 6 The Girl Who Loved the Sun 7 The Fluffy Pink Toadstool 8 Auntie Bea s Day Out 9 Carruthers main character was a brat from the first moment 10 What the Cat Told Me not worked out well 11 The Green Stone 12 The Fat Wizard 13 No One 14 Dragon Reserve, Home Eight 15 Little Dot read this in another anthology a few days ago 16 Everard s Ride the novella in this collection As every story in this collection had been previously published elsewhere, I think this particular publication of them is best for those who already know DWJ s work and are fans of her The type of story changes so much from one to the next, the age of the intended audience is so different from one to the next, and it starts with a story that is probably only really interesting to those of us who are interested in DWJ as a person, that for this to be an introduction to her would probably be somewhat disastrous I quite enjoyed it, however.
This volume brings together fifteen stories all but three of which I d read before and a novella, Everard s Ride Spanning genres from science fiction to fantasy and even a touch of horror in The Master , all of the stories show off Jones wit and wild imagination, qualities which make her one of the best young adult fantasy writers of today perhaps one of the best fantasy writers of today, period I was disappointed, though, that so many of the stories had been in previous collections surely there were to choose from Among the stories, the standouts are Enna Hittims , in which a girl who has the mumps draws stories about a fictional hero, who becomes frighteningly real Dragon Reserve, Home Eight , set on a world in which dragons are real and telepathy is illegal The Girl Who Loved the Sun , the myth like tale of a girl who longs to become a tree Nad and Dan adn Quaffy , a witty story of a typo prone science fiction writer whose computer suddenly starts talking to her and What the Cat Told Me and Little Dot , both tales of magic narrated by cats.
Since I already own and had read most of the stories, I was most looking forward to reading Everard s Ride and wasn t disappointed Alex and Cecilia live in Victorian England, the children of a wealthy farmer there is a mysterious island near their home, said to be the site of a ghostly kingdom called Falleyfell When an enigmatic stranger comes to the farmhouse one night, Alex and Cecilia begin an adventure which leads them into Falleyfell and the dangerous intrigues of its court Not as inventive as Jones best novels, Everard s Ride is still fast paced and thrilling, with glints of humor and vivid characters.
The title is so apt in both senses, in that in DWJ s worlds anything can happen and usually does plus that for the reader the stories can and do provide the magic that may be missing in their own prosaic world.
The stories are a little uneven, as they are aimed at different audiences those who like whimsy, or cats, or were once in a bygone age bemused by word processors The novella, Everard s Ride, for me was misplaced in this collection first, its additional length made the paperback physically awkward to handle and, second, its setting and plot convolutions were a mismatch with the unidirectional flow of the other tales it should really remain separately published as standing on its own merits That all said, my favourites were the novella and the autobiographical story which opened the collection.
If you don t want to read this entire book, start at the end with Everard s Ride and then work your way backwards through the stories When you get to stories you don t like, stop, because they only diminish in quality the closer you get to the beginning of the book I think some of the stories even ones I didn t really like could be worked into pretty good full lenth novels But here in their short story form, they just don t do much for me Besides the novella Everard s Ride, which I really liked, my favorite short stories were Dragon Reserve, Home Eight, Little Dot, and maybe as a distant third, What the Cat Told Me Based just on the short stories, I would give this a solid two stars, but Everard s Ride brings it up to three stars for me.
Loved this so much Bear in mind if you re addicted to HEA and HFN, this may not be the book for you The world is heaven and hell combined well, Milton says so, and I find it credible and Diana expects you to be a grown up and take your lumps, be strong enough to deal with the truth.
If you ve got enough backbone for it, this book is exhilarating.