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In this multiple parallel universes of the Twelve Related Worlds, only an enchanter with nine lives is powerful enough to control the rampant misuse of magic?and to hold the title Chrestomanci...
The Chants are a family strong in magic, but neither Christopher Chant nor Cat Chant can work even the simplest of spells. Who could have dreamed that both Christopher and Cat were born with nine lives?or that they could lose them so quickly?...
In this multiple parallel universes of the Twelve Related Worlds, only an enchanter with nine lives is powerful enough to control the rampant misuse of magic—and to hold the title Chrestomanci...
The Chants are a family strong in magic, but neither Christopher Chant nor Cat Chant can work even the simplest of spells. Who could have dreamed that both Christopher and Cat were born with nine lives—or that they could lose them so quickly?
CAT CHANT ADMIRED his elder sister Gwendolen. She was a witch. He admired her and he clung to her. Great changes came about in their lives and left him no one else to cling to.
The first great change came about when their parents took them out for a day trip down the river in a paddle steamer. They set out in great style, Gwendolen and her mother in white dresses with ribbons, Cat and his father in prickly blue-serge Sunday suits. It was a hot day. The steamer was crammed with other people in holiday clothes, talking, laughing, eating whelks with thin slices of white bread and butter, while the paddleboat steam organ wheezed out popular tunes so that no one could hear themselves talk.
In fact the steamer was too crowded and too old. Something went wrong with the steering. The whole laughing, whelk-eating, Sunday-dressed crowd was swept away in the current from the dam. They hit one of the posts which were supposed to stop people being swept away, and the paddle steamer, being old, simply broke into pieces. Cat remembered the organ playing and the paddles beating the blue sky. Clouds of steam screamed from broken pipes and drowned the screams from the crowd, as every single person aboard was swept away through the dam. It was a terrible accident. The papers called it the Saucy Nancy Disaster. The ladies in their clinging skirts were quite unable to swim. The men in tight blue serge were very little better off. But Gwendolen was a witch, so she could not drown. And Cat, who flung his arms around Gwendolen when the boat hit the post, survived too. There were very few other survivors.
The whole country was shocked by it. The paddleboat company andthe town of Wolvercote between them paid for the funerals. Gwendolen and Cat were given heavy black clothes at public expense, and rode behind the procession of hearses in a carriage pulled by black horses with black plumes on their heads. The other survivors rode with them. Cat looked at them and wondered if they were witches and warlocks, but he never found out. The Mayor of Wolvercote had set up a Fund for the survivors. Money poured in from all over the country. All the other survivors took their share and went away to start new lives elsewhere. Only Cat and Gwendolen were left and, since nobody could discover any of their relations, they stayed in Wolvercote.
They became celebrities for a time. Everyone was very kind. Everyone said what beautiful little orphans they were. It was true. They were both fair and pale, with blue eyes, and looked good in black. Gwendolen was very pretty, and tall for her age. Cat was small for his age. Gwendolen was very motherly to Cat, and people were touched. Cat did not mind. It made up a little for the empty, lost way he was feeling. Ladies gave him cake and toys. Town Councillors came and asked how he was getting on; and the Mayor called and patted him on the head. The Mayor explained that the money from the Fund was being put into a Trust for them until they were grown up. Meanwhile, the town would pay for their education and upbringing.
" And where would you little people like to live?" he asked kindly.
Gwendolen at once said that old Mrs. Sharp downstairs had offered to take them in. "She's been ever so kind to us," she explained. "We'd love to live with her."
Mrs. Sharp had been very kind. She was a witch too--the printed sign in her parlor window said Certified Witch-and interested in Gwendolen. The Mayor was a little dubious. Like all people who had no talent for witchcraft, he did not approve of those who had. He asked Cat how he felt about Gwendolen's plan. Cat did not mind. He preferred living in the house he was used to, even if it was downstairs. Since the Mayor felt that the two orphans ought to be made as happy as possible, he agreed. Gwendolen and Cat moved in with Mrs. Sharp.
Looking back on it, Cat supposed that it was from this time on that he was certain Gwendolen was a witch. He had not been sure before. When he had asked his parents, they had shaken their heads, sighed, and looked unhappy. Cat had been puzzled, because he remembered the terrible trouble there had been when Gwendolen gave him cramps. He could not see how his parents could blame Gwendolen for it unless she truly was a witch. But all that was changed now. Mrs. Sharp made no secret of it.
"You've a real talent for magic, dearie," she said, beaming at Gwendolen, "and I wouldn't be doing my duty by you if I let it go to waste. We must see about a teacher for you right away. You could do worse than go to Mr. Nostrum next door for a start. He may be the worst necromancer in town, but he knows how to teach. He'll give you a good grounding, my love."
Mr. Nostrum's charges for teaching magic turned out to be one puond an hour for the Elementary Grades, and a guinea an hour for the Advanced Grades beyond. Rather expensive, as Mrs. Sharp said. She put on her best hat with black beads and ran around to the Town Hall to see if the Fund would pay for Gwendolen's lessons.
To her annoyance, the Mayor refused. He told Mrs. Sharp that witchcraft was not part of an ordinary education. Mrs. Sharp came back rattling the beads on her hat with irritation, and carrying a flat cardboard box the Mayor had given her, full of the odds and ends the kind ladies had cleared out of Gwendolen's parents' bedroom.
"Blind prejudice!" Mrs. Sharp said, dumping the box on the kitchen table. "If a person has a gift, they have a right to have it developed-and so I told him I But don't worry, dearie," she said, seeing that Gwendolen was looking decidedly stormy. "There's a way around everything. Mr. Nostrum would teach you for nothing, if we found the right thing to tempt him with. Let's have a look in this box. Your poor ma and pa may have left something that might be just the thing."
Posted January 30, 2010
The Chronicles of Chrestomanchi in an unforgettably well-written book that will thrill the 35th reading as it did the first. The characters are people that anyone could relate to, as well as well-developed and full-fleshed. The plot, if a little straightforward, is delightful, and the story is a well-woven web that will enthrall the reader until the very last page.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 23, 2009
I Also Recommend:
I am completely in love with this book, and the rest of the books in The Chronicles of Chrestomanci as well. The idea of all the different worlds and how they came to be is so creative. I've read this book about a million times and it hasn't gotten old. My favorite stories (not just in this book, but in the other ones too) are Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant, and Conrad's Fate.
The only problem is, I love all of the stories so much that I feel like they're all too short, and I want to hear more!
Posted August 8, 2007
I really loved these 2 books. They are my 2 favorite of the Chrestomanci books. The first one is about Cat and his sister Gwendolen and how they eventually adjust to life at Chrestomanci castle, despite Gwendolen's bad behavior. The second one is about Christopher and how he struggles and eventually comes to accept his fate at the Chrestomanci castle.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 29, 2006
Posted August 26, 2004
This was a great book about different worlds and magic! I personally liked it better then Harry Potter. Its kinda like a 2 for 1 deal, you get 2 different books in 1 book. The second book in The Chronicles of Chrestomanci (The Lives of Christopher Chant) is not a sequel to the first book (Charmed Life) which was at first a dissapointment to me but after I read it I found that I liked T.L.O.C.C. better. This is definetly a must-read for anyone who likes Harry Potter books!! I could read this book over and over again and not get tired of it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 6, 2004
Posted April 19, 2004
I bought this through the Science Fiction Book Club as a four book collection. It had Magicians, Charmed Lives, Christopher Chant, and Witch Week. I'm always picking it up and reading it again and again, and now that I know Cat and Tonino are back in Mixed Magics, I'll have to get that one too.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 6, 2003
Posted June 11, 2003
a very good book! Good for any one over the age of 12.. a little bit of violence and may be hard for younger children to understand and keep up with! one of my altime favorite books! everyone should read.. if you liked Harry Potter or anything like that, you will love this! go buy it today!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 26, 2003
I NEVER READ A BETTER BOOK!! COMPARED TO HARRY POTTER THIS BOOK BLEW ME AWAY. I HIGHLY SUGGEST TO PEOPLE THAT LOVE READING TO GET THIS BOOK AND ENJOY ITS WONDERS.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2003
I had my doubts when I bought it on a whim, but this charming book has become one of my very favorites. It is one of those rare books that you can't put down for anything, I highly recomend it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 14, 2002
This is my introduction to Diana Wynne Jones, and I am "charmed." Her plot is as swift and fast-moving as a turbulent river, and her characters are as lovable and endearing as real people--(at least, the protagonists are.) This book is as compelling as if it were spell-bound.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2002
this is one of the best books I've ever read! nine lives is so cool! big castles and magic. The characters in this book were interesting people. I really liked that the book had a humorus touch!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2002
These two book were some of the greatest fantasy books i have read. You love Cat and all his funny personalities.You laugh and worry about all the trouble he gets in. This book is amazingly well written. Chrestomanci character is written so well you are almost afraid of him yourself. The lives of Christopher Chant was also an amazing book. The are both fantastic but i prefered Charmed Life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 26, 2002
this book was a good book for me to read it would be a wunderful present for a kid who likes to read but please note it is long.the book is about a kid facing the difacults of soon being a ruler of worlds with a sister that does not help at all.like harry potter just riten by a more skilled arther.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2002
Posted March 18, 2002
I'm a 15-year-old just started high school. I finished this book in 2 days. I love it! I can't wait to get the second one. All the magic that is going on inside is interesting!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 22, 2002
This is a must read! 'Like Harry? Try Diana!' (Times) Sure, it may be 598 pages long , but it is a great book to read and add to your collection. You can't keep this book down with its on going action! So QUICK press that 'buy me' button!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 9, 2001
Posted July 20, 2001