I recently read The Pinhoe Egg, by Diana Wynne Jones, so true to my usual pattern that means I’m going to natter about Charmed Life, which IMHO is the best starting place for her Chrestomanci series, or at any rate, it comes directly before (internal timeline-wise) The Pinhoe Egg.
When my sister first brought Charmed Life home, she read it about six or seven times herself before letting me read it, and then when I was done she practically snatched it out of my hands so that she could read it another three times or so. (I used to let my sister provide most of my reading material. This anecdote shows why perhaps I shouldn’t have, but I guess I never did learn my lesson. More recently, I have been letting my husband provide most of my reading material, but he’s gotten so picky about what he’ll bring home thats not working out for me either.)
Diana Wynne Jones is one of my very favorite authors, and this particular book, although perhaps not my favorite of all time, is a wonderful example of why. In most of her stories (maybe all?) everything is not quite as it seems, which is one of the things I like best about them, but it makes me reluctant to try describe them — I’m never sure how much, or what, to say. But I can say that Charmed Life is the Chrestomanci book with the most, and best appearances of Chrestomanci himself, vague manner and elegant dressing gowns and all, and that is worth the price of admission in and of itself.