The Pinhoe Egg, by Diana Wynne Jones

I was thrilled to learn that Diana Wynne Jones was writing another book for her Worlds of Chrestomanci series. Her previous effort, 2005’s Conrad’s Fate, was funny and surreal, a tongue-in-cheek Upstairs/Downstairs farce with some dreamlike fantasy thrown in. It was wonderful, but her new book, The Pinhoe Egg, is closer in tone to the first two books in the series, Charmed Life and The Nine Lives of Christopher Chant. It’s just as entertaining as Conrad’s Fate, but much more accessible to younger readers.

The Pinhoe Egg is set after the events of Charmed Life, and introduces readers to two extended families, the Pinhoes and the Farleighs. The Pinhoe and Farleigh clans have been quietly working unapproved magic for as long as anybody can remember, and they’ve gotten awfully paranoid about the government turning up to put a stop to things. However, when the matriarch of the Pinhoe family goes mad and starts a fight with her Farleigh equivalent, caution is thrown to the wind, and the families begin a no-holds-barred magical war.

Meanwhile, at nearby Chrestomanci Castle, Cat Chant is keeping his head down and doing his best to learn the business of monitoring the improper use of magic. The people at the Castle are unaware of the Pinhoe/Farleigh rumble brewing just a few miles away, but when Eric meets young Miranda Pinhoe (the Pinhoe-matriarch-in-training) and she gives him one of her grandmother’s cast-off magical oddities, people begin to notice that there’s something seriously weird happening in the small village of Ulverscote.

I think any new Diana Wynne Jones book is a cause for rejoicing in the streets, but I was particularly excited about this one—not that it’s noticeably better than her other books, but because it’s the first book she has written in years that seems to be truly aimed at a child audience, which means that a new generation of kids will have a chance to grow up with her work. Get ‘em while they’re young, Ms. Jones! It’s your ticket to literary immortality!
Posted by: Julia, Last edit by: Julianka


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