A Charmed Life

  • by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Narrated by Gerard Doyle
  • 7 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Cat doesn't mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Delightful Read!

I grew up reading the books of Diana Wynne Jones as a pre-teen and teenager and it was most wonderful to be able to return to her work as an adult.

The story has twists and turns, secrets and spells. Here is the story of Cat Chant and his sister Gwendolyn. After barely surviving death by drowning and losing their parents, they are sent to live with the dashing (and remarkably well-dressed) Chrestomanci at Chrestomanci Castle. Gwendolyn sees an avenue to really show off her witchcraft, but Cat is somewhat disappointed to leave Mrs. Sharp on Coven street. At the castle, Cat has to learn the secrets of what his sister has been plotting, discover the true nature of Chrestomanci, and learn who he really is. There are many suprises in store for the reader and most will enjoy the well-developed characters and interesting plot.

The story is well read by a very talented narrator. The inflection for each character is very well defined and the pace keeps the reader (or listener) interested. I would recommend this to adults and children alike. Originally published in print in 1977 followed in 1988 by its prequel The Lives of Christopher Chant (about Chrestomanci's childhood) is likely to become a classic, especially as most of the author's works are being re-released.

If you like J.K. Rowling, you'll love Diana Wynne Jones. This is a most remarkable read.
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- Amazon Customer

Good book, bad reading

Though a little dated and a little simple, <u>Charmed Life</u> is an engaging intermediate-level fantasy, a good introduction to children's speculative fiction, well written, with a nice balance of wonder, humor, and tension. Diana Wynne Jones is an experienced hand in this genre, one of the best, and in this story her problematic depictions of women and gender are more balanced than in some of her others. This is the first of the Chrestomanci books, and a fine place to start reading Jones's work.

It's a pity, therefore, that Gerard Doyle is such an extremely bad reader. He flattens the humor and the personalities like a steamroller, distorting the entire story in the wake of his artificial-sounding dialogue and uninspired narration. Although <u>Charmed Life</u> is one of my favorite pieces of children's literature, dating back to my discovery of it when I was 10 years old, myself, I found this performance something to be endured rather than relished.
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- Ambagious

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-20-2005
  • Publisher: Recorded Books