Hey! An On Topic Post

Neil Ward neilward at dircon.co.uk
Sat Jul 7 03:22:31 EDT 2001

Hi everyone

Unlurking once more, I've been educated by this thread, and danced around
the comments to avoid spoiling the DWJ books I haven't read.

I'm still on first readings of all the books, and I would agree that a high
re-readability quotient is a useful factor in assessment.  On the other
hand, with some books (moving away from DWJ), I've kept and treasured a
'first impression' reading and not thought to read them more than once.
Either that, or I didn't have time to read them again ;-)

Some of the DWJ books I haven't read are popping up as least popular in some
eyes:  I'm still ignorant of Dogsbody and A Sudden Wild Magic, for example.
Also on my unread list are Power of Three, Dark Lord of Derkholm, Year of
the Griffin, Deep Secret and The Ogre Downstairs.

It's very hard to dislike any of DWJ's books.  I've enjoyed just about
everything I've read, so far. I suppose I did find A Tale of Time City
slightly less engaging at first, as it was the first sci-fi oriented one I
read, and I felt that it was aimed at a slightly younger reader.  Hexwood
was intriguing, but confusing, as a first read of it is bound to be, I

Among the first few DWJ books I read were the Chrestomanci novels and Fire
and Hemlock.  I'm not sure I liked The Magicians of Caprona hugely, but I
think I will enjoy that more when I read it again, armed with my new,
Jonesified brain (it does help to be able to recognise the tricks and
foibles of an author). Although Charmed Life and Christopher Chant hooked
me, Fire and Hemlock is the book that landed me in the net.  It's a
masterpiece.  I also loved The Time of the Ghost and I think I liked Black
Maria better than some here.  DWJ is a superb suspense writer.

Howl's Moving Castle was not what I was expecting (was I expecting
something?? Hmmmm), but I was very attached to the characters by the time I
got to the last page.  Castle In The Air would not work as well on its own,
I imagine, but read after HMC, it is funny.  Archer's Goon struck me as very
much a book for the 9-12 age group.  I liked it, but it's one of those books
that can never be the same after the first time.  Once you know the secret
of the Goon, the element of surprise is gone.

I've just finished The Dalemark Quartet and I declare Drowned Ammet the one
that least appealed to me, by a paper-thin margin.  I adored Cart and
Cwidder; it's now one of my favourites.  I also liked The Crown of Dalemark
and appreciated the daftness of the time jumps and other plot devices
(B-movie logic rather than hard sci fi, but in a created universe, anything

The only DWJs I've read that I really didn't like are some of the short
stories, as I've mentioned here before.  I found some in Minor Arcana to be
rather tedious, although it was interesting spotting the birth of ideas the
author explored more fully later on.


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