Saturday, February 10, 2007

Diana Wynne Jones, The Pinhoe Egg, 2006.

My mother the children’s librarian handed me this book, and said, do you have a moment to review it? I thought to myself a) It’s by Diana Wynne Jones! b) Its main character is Cat (Eric) Chant!

I’ve missed Cat since the last time I read Charmed Life. He really is one of my favourite creations of DWJ. The story itself revolves around a feud between two witching families who are hoping to avoid the attention of Chrestomanci and his staff. Complicating matters are woods that repel visitors from Chrestomanci Castle, a rambunctious horse, an eager young griffin, and the mechanical antics of Roger Chant and his new friend, Joe Pinhoe. Alternating between the perspectives of Cat and Marianne Pinhoe, the story tells how the village moves to a new understanding of what life is supposed to be. It is a worthy sequel, full of secrets from grown-ups, and the stark contrast between parents who know how to leave room for children to grow and those who believe that the way to raise a child is to exercise constant control.

I think what I like best about this world is how individual magic is, and this book begins to explore how Cat and Marianne think and do magic. At another level, it’s about growing up and learning where one’s gifts lie, and how to use those gifts. As I read the book, my wife kept coming into the room and ask my why I was smiling and laughing—the novel is a lot of fun.