Book IDs (a longish delurk)

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Wed Feb 23 12:45:14 EST 2000

Anita on Paula Volsky (whom I've never encountered before):

> And to wrench this back to DWJ:
> The Luck of Relian Kru pulled me into its story with some charming
> imaginative gimmicks. It starts in a land where colour is not just
> significant but very significant. The hero's clothes choices (green, grey,
> black and white?) signify a startling and unusual insult to his host. (Darn,
> haven't got the book here to quote from).

Sounds like the Durdane trilogy by Jack Vance.  This has extensive "colour lore"
in the background.  (Example: Red is the colour of invisibility.  Things
intended to be ignored are painted red...  well weird!)

> The book continues with other interesting events, characters and ideas,
> including some DWJish slants (Relian Kru's lifelong bad luck is attributed
> to his supernatural talents never being recognised, and hence twisting
> themselves).
> It occurred to me that in the debate over Harry Potter vs. Witch Week (for
> example) that HP wins because the book is stuffed to the gills with
> charming, attractive gimmickry (the jellybeans, quidditch) - and it is this
> which the young readers are hooked on. The plot and storyline get them
> later.
> In contrast, Witch Week is far more grey and everyday in the atmosphere
> surrounding its characters. They lack pleasant excitements...

Notwithstanding Elise's excellent comments, I think there is a fundamental
difference in that the school in Witch Week is not intended for educating magic
users...  Perhaps the other Chrestomanci books would be a more appropriate

To me the concept of a school for magically gifted children is inextricably
linked with "The Little Broomstick" by Mary Stewart - a copy of which I still
haven't got, and I haven't read it for years, so I can't say much more, except
that I seem to recall a similarity in plot of the protagonist, not previously
aware of the magical community, finding herself enrolled at this school...

I agree about the gimmicry.  I get the impression that JKR has sacrificed some
of the inegrity of the fantasy world in order to make it attractive to the mass
market - something that DWJ would never do.

On the other hand, gimmicry would have been so out of place in Witch Week - it's
not an approach that would have worked for that story.


This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and
intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they
are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify
the system manager.

This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept 
for the presence of computer viruses.

Power Technology Centre, Ratcliffe-on-Soar,
Nottingham, NG11 0EE, UK
Tel: +44 (0)115 936 2000
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list