Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Charmed Life Mass Market Paperback – May 27, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

See all 35 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback, May 27, 1998
$8.35 $0.01

Study Hall of Justice
Study Hall of Justice
The team behind DC Comics "Lil' Gotham" takes readers to the halls of Ducard Academy in Gotham City, where a young Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman start their very own Junior Detective Agency. Hardcover | Kindle book

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Part of the series featuring debonair enchanter Chrestomanci, this comic fantasy follows two orphans, one of whom is a witch, when they are summoned to live in a castle full of necromancers. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"An outstandingly inventive and entertaining novel. Altogether a delightful book." -- -- Times Literary Supplement

"The concept is ingenious." -- -- The Horn Book

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Chronicles of Chrestomanci
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (May 27, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688155464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688155469
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,328,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

Example Ingredients

Example Directions

More About the Author

In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards--and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter--her books were filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy. From the very beginning, Diana Wynne Jones's books garnered literary accolades: her novel Dogsbody was a runner-up for the 1975 Carnegie Medal, and Charmed Life won the esteemed Guardian children's fiction prize in 1977. Since then, in addition to being translated into more than twenty languages, her books have earned a wide array of honors--including two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honors--and appeared on countless best-of-the-year lists. Her work also found commercial success: in 1992 the BBC adapted her novel Archer's Goon into a six-part miniseries, and her best-selling Howl's Moving Castle was made into an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki in 2004. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006, and became one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history. The author herself has also been honored with many prestigious awards for the body of her work. She was given the British Fantasy Society's Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999 for having made a significant impact on fantasy, received a D.Lit from Bristol University in 2006, and won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in 2007.

Born just outside London in 1934, Diana Wynne Jones had a childhood that was "very vivid and often very distressing"--one that became the fertile ground where her tremendous imagination took root. When the raids of World War II reached London in 1939, the five-year-old girl and her two younger sisters were torn from their suburban life and sent to Wales to live with their grandparents. This was to be the first of many migrations, one of which brought her family to Lane Head, a large manor in the author-populated Lake District and former residence of John Ruskin's secretary, W.G. Collingwood. This time marked an important moment in Diana Wynne Jones's life, where her writing ambitions were magnified by, in her own words, "early marginal contacts with the Great." She confesses to having "offending Arthur Ransome by making a noise on the shore beside his houseboat," erasing a stack of drawings by the late Ruskin himself in order to reuse the paper, and causing Beatrix Potter (who also lived nearby) to complain about her and her sister's behavior. "It struck me," Jones said, "that the Great were remarkably touchy and unpleasant, and I thought I would like to be the same, without the unpleasantness." Prompted by her penny-pinching father's refusal to buy the children any books, Diana Wynne Jones wrote her first novel at age twelve and entertained her sisters with readings of her stories. Those early stories--and much of her future work--were inspired by a limited but crucial foundation of classics: Malory's Morte D'Arthur, The Arabian Nights, and Epics and Romances of the Middle Ages. Fantasy was Jones's passion from the start, despite receiving little support from her often neglectful parents. This passion was fueled further during her tenure at St. Anne's College in Oxford, where lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis increased her fascination with myth and legend. She married Medievalist John Burrow in 1956; the couple have three sons and six grandchildren.

After a decade of rejections, Diana Wynne Jones's first novel, Changeover, was published in 1970. In 1973, she joined forces with her lifelong literary agent, Laura Cecil, and in the four decades to follow, Diana Wynne Jones wrote prodigiously, sometimes completing three titles in a single year. Along the way she gained a fiercely loyal following; many of her admirers became successful authors themselves, including Newbery Award winners Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman, and Newbery Honor Book author Megan Whalen Turner. A conference dedicated solely to her work was held at the University of West England, Bristol, in 2009. Diana Wynne Jones continued to write during her battle with lung cancer, which ultimately took her life in March 2011. Her last book, Earwig and the Witch, will be published by Greenwillow Books in 2012.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book some ten years or so ago. It was my favourite book for about five years until I leant it to a "friend" who liked it so much that she never gave it back. I'm so happy that this book is back in print because I still yearn to read it. Which goes to show just what an absolutely amazing book this is and this isn't even my favourite DWJ book. That, incidentally is Dogsbody which was also stolen. Anyway back to the review, this book has everthing for lovers of fantasy and magic alike:- parallel worlds, extra lives, spoilt megalomaniac children and of course lots and lots of magic. It is one of the Chrestomanci books and I recommend that anybody who reads and loves this book, should also try reading The Lives of Christopher Chant, Witch Week and The Magicians of Caprona by the same author. I have read the other reviews and what has struck me is that every reviewer seems to have read all of her other books, as have I. Diana Wynne-Jones has a knack of creating such warm, real characters and writes with a lot of humour. She is the kind of author who inspires such loyalty from her readers. Go on-read this book. We can't all be wrong!
Comment 34 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In my opinion, Diana Wynne Jones is simply one of the best YA fantasy writers out there. She ranks right up there with Lloyd Alexander and Philip Pullman. The intelligence and creativity of her work is consistently remarkable, and Charmed Life is a wonderful example of the scope of her imagination and plots.
Charmed Life, an entry in the Chrestomanci series (which can be read in any order without any knowledge of the others--others include Witch Week, The Lives of Christopher Chant, The Magicians of Caprona), is a charming British YA fantasy that far predates the Harry Potter mania. Fans of Harry Potter might like this; it has a similar enough plot--young orphaned boy with awful relatives is taken to a place where his talents can begin to expand. Young Eric, familiarly known as Cat, even slides around on magic mirrors (as opposed to magic broomsticks). However, Charmed Life is in every way superior to the Harry Potter books. For instance, the world's concept is much more profound and interesting. The world Cat inhabits is one in which magic abounds and technology is a bit backward-- not this world as we have known it at any point in time. Rather, it's a version of our world had key events been changed. (For example, a possible alternate world would be if Napoleon had succeeded in his campaigns. We would probably live in a world with a primary language of French.) Secondly, again unlike the HP books, there are no completely evil characters. Diana Wynne Jones has a talent for creating idiosyncratic, realistic people, and even those who are...less than wonderful, have their moments of niceness. And even the 'nice' people have their faults. Good doesn't always automatically win, and Cat is hardly a faultless protagonist.
Read more ›
Comment 36 of 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read Charmed Life when I was in fourth or fifth grade, and immediately bought a copy of my own to read again and again. I loved all Diana Jones's books, but this one was my first and my favorite. Fifteen years later I still feel fond of Cat and resentful of his hellion sister Gwendolyn, and I still wince at the hilarious atrocities she perpetrted at Chrestomanci castle. A children's book that doesn't patronize children, but instead indulges their sophisticated sense of humor and appreciation of the travails of a bildungsroman hero is a rare treat indeed. I still keep my old copy so that some day my children can learn to love Jones's wonderful books too.
Comment 13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I remember when I was 20 years old and discovered The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time. Now, 23 years later, I can look back at hours and hours of great fun. First reading the books myself, then reading them over and over for my four kids. A little later I discovered The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, but for about 20 years those were to only fantasy books I had read.
Then, three years ago the Harry Potter era started in our family. And now we live in a Harry Potter world here. But, in spite of all the pages a Harry Potter book doesn't last forever. It was with great pleasure that we some time ago opened my daughter's birthday gift and found the series The Worlds of Chrestomanci. They are perfect while waiting for the next Harry Potter to come, and perfect when you want something to read :-)
The first book in the series is Charmed life. It tells the story of Eric Chant, known as Cat, and his older sister Gwendolen. Cat and Gwendolen's parents dies in a boat accident, and all Cat have is his older sister. She is a witch, and Cat adores her. They first live with an old woman in the town, but it soon shows that Gwendolen has a very special talent for witchcraft, and to their joy they are asked for to come and live with the great Chrestomanci in his castle. Their life in his castle is not like the two kids expected, and Gwendolen, the witch, takes the easy way out and runs off to another world, Cat has to stay and fight his way through the days.
The novel is filled with fantasy and unexpected events. And it never let you get bored. The book is meant for young readers, and any booklover between 9-12 will love it. I even think any book lover between 9 and 99 will. Try the book, and you will be so charmed by it you just need the others in the series as well.
Is it magic? Who knows......
Britt Arnhild Lindland
Comment 9 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews