“Discovering that he has nine lives and is destined to be the next ‘Chrestomanci’ is not part of Christopher’s plans for the future: he’d much rather play cricket and wander around his secret dream worlds. But he soon finds that destiny is difficult to avoid, and that having more than the usual number of lives is pretty inconvenient–especially when you them as easily as he does!
Then an evil smuggler, known only as The Wraith, threatens the ways of the worlds and forces Christopher to take action…”
This was one of the books I bought when I was just starting out with this blog. Who knew that it would take a year for me to get around to reading it? Needless to say, I loved taking a break from work with the book–though it did take me a few days to actually finish it as life got a little bit busy in the work front. But that’s beside the point of this post. I am here to share that I loved reading the book; it was exactly what I needed to get my mind off work during those few minutes I had to myself prior to sleeping.
Too much information?
Anyway, onto the book itself–
I loved how Miss Jones, may she rest in peace, wrote the character of Christopher Chant that you couldn’t help but empathize with him. Here was a young boy, all set for the great adventure of school and cricket–and suddenly he gets transplanted into a private tutorship with a high-ranking official. Trust me, it’s less creepy than it currently sounds.
When we follow Christopher’s life (or lives, as it were) as they take the numerous twists and turns provided by the people surrounding him, we see things through his eyes–and this, I think, makes the book really absorbing. Christopher has this wide-eyed innocence about him that you feel as if you’re discovering these magical world with him–even though he’s lived there all his life, and we’re just visitors. But what really amazed me in Miss Jones’s writing is how she was able to twist it around in the end to make Christopher seem like the unlikeable person in the eyes of the other characters. And then you look back to the chapters when you’ve seen him interact with the characters who don’t like him, and you understand where they’re coming from.
Miss Jones writes Christopher with such childlike glee, that Christopher really does come out as a child.
Considering that the book was published way back in 1988, I’m not going to comment much on the twist. I’m sure back then it was very shocking to have a friend turn out to be not so friendly–but it’s become a bit of a trope nowadays. Admittedly, it is very well-plotted out though–which is why, I guess, it was so easy to see where the story was heading with that particular story thread.
I do love how Miss Jones explains parallel worlds though–which I won’t elaborate on, as they play a part in this book’s story.
The Lives of Christopher Chant is an amazing children’s book that would be perfect as a gift–especially to those who have read the Harry Potter series (and not much else) and are looking for new worlds to explore.
I read this as part of the Chrestomanci Volume I duology and it’s funny because I got my copy from Celina too! I really should read more of DWJ’s books, I have the volumes II and II of the Chrestomanci series as well as The Dark Lord of Derkholm in my TBR pile.
Do read more of DWJ’s books! She was a great writer, a fantastic weaver of worlds. =)
I’m still looking for copies of the other Chrestomanci books, which I’ll tear into as soon as I find them. =)
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