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The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci Books) Hardcover – April 10, 2001


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (April 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060298774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060298777
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,631,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Young Christopher Chant has very unusual dreams: he gets out of bed, walks to the corner of the nursery and enters a lush, green valley that can lead him to any one of the hundreds of worlds that comprise what he calls the "Almost Anywheres." Christopher doesn't tell anyone about his dreams because he thinks everyone has them. When his father loses all of his money, Christopher and his mother must go live with Uncle Ralph; he is ecstatic to learn that Christopher can bring solid objects back from the worlds he visits, and so uses him to perform some experiments. Then Christopher's father forces him to go live at Chrestomanci Castle, where Christopher is told he must become the next governing magician. Jones has written a mesmerizing account of the boyhood adventure of the famous magician who starred in Charmed Life. Her ability to mesh magic and realism results in an enthralling story about a boy just discovering his powers. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A cracking good story." -- --ALA Booklist (starred review)

"A cracking good story."(--ALA Booklist (starred review)) -- Booklist

"Wonderfully entertaining. A born storyteller weaves her own brand of magic." -- --The Horn Book (starred review)

"Wonderfully entertaining. A born storyteller weaves her own brand of magic." -- --The Horn Book (starred review)

"Wonderfully entertaining. A born storyteller weaves her own brand of magic." -- --The Horn Book (starred review)

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

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I hope you don't lose your nine lives as quickly as Christopher Chant!
M. Jackson
I greatly enjoyed this book, which I read in one sitting, and look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Asha Sahni
I loved this story, and felt it to be one of the best books in Diana Wyne Jones's Chrestomanci series.
"kayill"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By W. B. Bach on November 26, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Diana Wynne Jones wrote the archetype that the Harry Potter series seems to be derived from in every aspect. These are funnier, constructed more carefully, and slightly more challenging. Though I haven't read these books in a while, they are the perfect foundation for cultivating a dry British wit in any 10-15 year old.
I would recommend all of DW Jones' books, but this series, Tale of Time City, and Witch week are probably her best.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Lives of Christopher Chant is the first book I read by Diana Wynne Jones. After a few chapters, I couldn't put it down. It inspired me to read her other books.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 26, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first of the Chrestomanci books I read, and it's still my favorite. Everything about it -- from the fantastic worlds that Christopher explores, to the final battle with The Wraith -- I don't know. It just sums up everything I like about Jones' books. ps. why does the cover art of this edition show Christopher as blond and the Chrestomanci as black haired? Was this early art for Charmed Life or did the artist not read the book?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 13, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Lives of Christopher Chant" is set twenty-five years before the events told in "Charmed Life", but was published after it in 1988. Although many would avidly insist that you must read such books in publishing rather than chronological order (just look at the debate that rages over how you're supposed to read the "Chronicles of Narnia") I would suggest reading this before "Charmed Life." It will not ruin any of the surprises in that book, and instead drops little hints throughout (such as Chrestomanci's aversion to silver, and the name of his future wife) that will become that much more enjoyable when you read of them in "Charmed Life".

Set in a parallel world where magic is an everyday occurrence young Christopher Chant lives a rather dull life, caught between his neglectful and feuding parents. Thank goodness for his dreams, which allow him to wander about in secret worlds - and are so vivid he often brings back objects with him into waking life! But after he meets his Uncle Ralph things begin to get more interesting. Organising his young nephew to meet a man named Tacroy in his dreams, Ralph instructs Christopher on removing other, larger things from his dreams into the real world. Seeing it as a fun game, as well as liking both his uncle and Tacroy very much, Christopher plays along.

Between these exertions and visits to the young girl known as the Living Goddess, Christopher finds that life is not entirely what he wants it to be. With a longing only to become a professional cricketer, Christopher is horrified to find that he is destined to be the next Chrestomanci - the nine-lived enchanter in charge of governing magic in the worlds.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Natalie on January 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Lives of Christopher Chant, is humour at its very best! Wynne Jones is one of the best children's fantasy writers, she pioneered techniques still being used today. This is one of three books (Witch Week and Charmed Life) and gives us an understanding of the person behing the lofty and mysterious Chrestomanci. Its a very funny and tongue in cheek look at Christopher Chant's childhood, as he walks between "Anywheres" and gets caught up in illegal activities unknowingly. Wynne Jones puts plenty of laughs into it, from Christopher reading the Unabridged Arabian Nights, to the interesting Goddess who freezes Christopher in a wall until he agrees to her demands....and all the while, Christopher is losing lives.....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 31, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book of Diana Wynne Jones' that I've read and it got me completely hooked.I re-read it at least twice a year. She's still one of my favourite authors though i'm slightly out of the 9-12 range.(okay, by a few years.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alaria on July 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Despite his connections with the world of enchantment, Christopher Chant is more interested in cricket that magic. Blessed, or cursed, with nine lives and the ability to travel to spirit worlds in his dreams, Christopher isn't too thrilled to discover that he is destined to become the next Chrestomanci. Quite content with his dream worlds and performing tasks for his Uncle Ralph, Christopher is horrified when he is made to leave school and friends behind and travel to Chrestomanci Castle. Here he will learn the skills necessary for his future role, a role that Christopher definitely does not want. Soon the future Chrestomanci is battling a group of smugglers attempting to steal from the dream worlds....
"The Lives of Christopher Chant" is young adult fantasy at its best. The plot is magical and will keep you reading right up until the end. A little slow to get going, the action soon picks up and never stops. Anyone who likes adventure or fantasy should love this. I can't wait to read the remaining books in the Chrestomanci series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kat,Kat on February 15, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Even though he doesn't know it Christopher spirit travels every night. This happens in his dreams he goes to what Christopher calls the Place Between and the Anywheres. When his uncle finds out there are experiments that his uncle wants to do. But are they such honest experiments?
Of all of Diana Wynne Jones' books that I have read so far this has to be my favorite. I couldn't stop reading. A really well written masterpiece.
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