Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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*****= An all-time favorite
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****Unexpected Magic

Collected Stories

by Diana Wynne Jones

Reviewed October 1, 2004.
Greenwillow Books, New York, 2004.  498 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF JON).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #16, Fantasy for Young Adults

Unexpected Magic is a collection of short fiction by Diana Wynne Jones.  Most of the stories had already been published in America (and all had already been published in Great Britain), so I had already read several of them.  However, having read them before didn’t make them any less delightful.

The title is appropriate, as Diana Wynne Jones doesn’t deal with predictable fantasy.  She’s never been one to write a Lord of the Rings imitation epic or have a character who’s a stereotypical wizard with a long robe and beard.  In these fifteen stories and one novella, we have a magical cat who goes flying around on a chicken coop, a path across a bay between worlds, a magical walking stick named Carruthers, and a plague of peacocks, among other surprising enchantments.

I don’t begrudge Diana Wynne Jones repackaging and selling old work, because it’s excellent work, as sure to delight as ever.  I enjoyed this book one story at a time, and then was eager for the novella at the end, which had a magical adventure full of intrigue and plot twists and a touch of romance.  You get more than your money’s worth in this extra-large collection.

Reviews of other books by Diana Wynne Jones:
Cart and Cwidder
Drowned Ammet
The Spellcoats
The Crown of Dalemark
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin
Conrad's Fate
The Merlin Conspiracy
Wild Robert
The Ogre Downstairs
Witch's Business

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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