M Elizabeth Parks
meparks at mtholyoke.edu
Mon Feb 12 10:35:18 EST 2001
I was in Barnes and Noble last night when I rounded a corner and came face
to face with the new Chrestomanci Chronicles. It was a very bad moment
for me: I came hugely close to buying them, despite the fact that I had no
money and at least two copies of every book in them already. I did, of
course, pick them up and look at them, and wanted to ask what you guys
thought of the order. The first one had Charmed Life and then Lives, and
the second had Magicians and then Witch Week--for some odd reason the back
of the second one didn't say anything about Witch Week--it was just a
teaser for Magicians. And the back of the first one made it quite obvious
that Cat and Christopher were related in some way, which I suppose might
be obvious since they have the same last name, but I read LoCC after CL
and I seem to remember that it took me a while to figure out that the two
books were at all related, and I think that was a good thing. I know that
reading order has been discussed quite a bit before, but I was just
wondering if anyone would have placed the books differently. . . or
what. All I know is, there is now a great gift item on the market.
Also, since I mentioned the backs of books, I was wondering if anyone felt
as strongly about those as some of us do about covers (which by the way
aren't awful, but nor are they awe-inspiring: they simply have a rather
fluffy cat that doesn't really make me think of Throgmorten though it
could be Fiddle or even Bethei--I should have looked closer and seen if
they'd adjusted it to look slightly violin-ish :^). I'll start by saying
that I really like the back of the Ace version of Howl:
In which a witch bewitched the hatter's daughter. . . and then some.
Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in Ingary, which
was land where invisible cloaks and seven-league boots really did
exist. Which meant that nothing was quite as it seemed and anything could
happen--especially when the Witch of the Waste got her dander up. Which
As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes, Sophie stayed in
her father's hat shop. Which proved most unadventurious, until the Witch
of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which was why
she turned Sophie into an old lady. Which was spiteful witchery.
Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with
the lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle,
taming a blue fire demon, grappling with green slime. . . and meeting the
Witch of the Waste head-on. Which was more than Sophie bargained for.
I like it because: a, it sets up the story very nicely. b, it doesn't
give anything away. c, it's funny to read after you've read the book--the
green slime bit, i.e. d, it's written in a style that is sort of like the
book. e, it seems to have been written by someone who read the book.
All right then. Thoughts?
"Children are our hope for the future."
THERE IS NO HOPE FOR THE FUTURE, said Death.
"What does it contain then?"
"Besides you, I mean!"
Death gave him a puzzled look. I'M SORRY?
The storm reached its howling peak overhead. A seagull went past
"I meant," said Ipslore, bitterly, "what is there in this world
that makes living worthwhile?"
Death thought about it.
CATS, he said eventually. CATS ARE NICE.
--Terry Pratchett in "Sourcery"
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