Book review: J is for Jones #atozchallenge


Okay, I am aware that I have totally failed at this challenge, but I had this entry already 90% completed, so I thought I might as well post it anyway!

Remember how I said I might change things up a bit of I didn’t have a book that fit the letter of the day?  Well, I have read several books that start with J but none of them are striking my fancy.  So instead I’m going to briefly review a few books by Diana Wynne Jones.  I’m going to limit myself to three because otherwise we might be here all day.  According to Goodreads, I’ve read 42 books by Diana Wynne Jones, because she is the best, yo.

Dark Lord of Derkholm is a hilarious and loving send-up of the epic fantasy genre.  It’s a fantastic novel in its own rights but it also pokes gentle fun at Tolkien, Lewis, Eddings, etc, etc.  It’s engaging and funny and clever and seriously, so much fun.  Read it now.

Hexwood is a mix of sci-fi (Other planets!  Robots!  Space travel!) and magic (Spelled swords!  Blasts of lightening!  Transformations!) and Arthurian legend (Spelled swords again!  Knights on quest!  A magic cup!).  It’s a bit more on the adult side of DWJ’s writing (see also Deep Secret) and deeply upsetting/sad in places (see any number of DWJ’s books because she knew kids could (and did) handle a lot more stuff that usually given credit for) but the characters are fantastic and it features one of my all time favorite romantic pairings.

I’m cheating a bit by writing about four books as one but it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want, dammit!  The Dalemark Quartet is a series that I accidentally read completely backwards.  I started with the last book and finished with the first.  Oops.  Still one of my favorite series of all time.  The series is set in the kingdom of Dalemark, a kingdom divided by both geography and political beliefs.  The books are about reluctant heroes, about the power of words, about not wanting to fight but recognizing that sometimes it is necessary.*

Overall, books my Diana Wynne Jones are wonderful.  Her characters are vibrant and relatable, she writes with great humor and emotional depth, her plots are diverse and interesting, just Diana Wynne Jones is the best, y’all.  Pick up a book by her today.

*Thanks to my lovely friend Zanna for helping me come up with that, the Dalemark quartet is really hard to sum up!

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