Book: The Magicians of Caprona

"The Magicians of Caprona" by Diana Wynne JonesCasa Montana and Casa Petrocchi look after the magical business in the Dukedom of Caprona, where music is enchantment and spells are as slippery as spaghetti. The families have been feuding for years, so when all the spells start going wrong, each naturally blames the other.

When Chrestomanci turns up, it confirms all their suspicions–something is terribly wrong. Can the rumours of a White Devil who threatens Caprona be true after all?

I want to start this blog post by saying that I completely enjoyed reading The Magicians of Caprona. For a book written thirty years ago, it has held up very well–but this is hardly surprising. After all, it was written by the late Diana Wynne Jones, a fantastic weaver of words, and a genius in creating worlds.

Like with The Lives of Christopher Chant, our main protagonist is a child. I guess there’s something more magical about fantasy worlds when they are seen through a child’s eyes. And like The Lives…, The Magicians of Caprona is also a Chrestomanci story. Except, it really isn’t. Sure the Chrestomanci (a sort-of guardian of the use of magic) does appear in the story, but I feel like he is hardly important. I mean, the story could move forward even without his presence. Which is why I don’t get why he’s even needed in the story–why it’s even necessary for this to be part of the Chrestomanci collection.

In Miss Jones’ other saga, with the Wizard Howl, the stories are weaved in such a way that the wizard is actually integral to the events that will unfold in the story. And while such is also the case for the Chrestomanci here in The Magicians of Caprona, it could also be portrayed by any other characters. Heck, the part can even be written out!

This is only my second Chrestomanci story, so I don’t know if all the books in the series are like this. I hope they aren’t.

But, as I said earlier on, I did enjoy The Magicians of Caprona. I thought it was a brilliant story of how teamwork and communication are two very important things to employ in one’s life.

As the blurb says, we have two warring families that are blaming each other for the weakening of magic in Caprona. What they don’t realize is that there is an outside force that is doing its best to bring down the two magical families so Caprona will be left defenseless. And it’s because of the families’ prejudice against each other that they are further put in danger. And so it becomes up to four children from the two families, and a Romeo-and-Juliet-type lovers, to try to break the feud between the families and unite them against the White Devil.

I liked how the story brings up the values of teamwork and proper communication in the book, and I think it would be a great book to ask children to read. The values aren’t forced down their throats, and children will definitely enjoy the adventures our hero Tonino and his newfound friend goes through just to help save Caprona from the White Devil.

This is one book I’d actually like to see as a film, or TV-Movie. Miss Jones writes her scenes with such vision that you’re actually not just reading the book–you’re living the story in full color. But sometimes, even imagination isn’t enough. For a story this grand, I’d like to see actual people (or even animated people) going through the adventures she’s describing.

And now that I’ve finished reading The Magicians of Caprona, I’m on the lookout for the rest of the Chrestomanci books–hoping that the Chrestomanci will be playing a larger role–if not a more integral one.

Check out what other people have to say about the book:
Fantasy Book Review
A Garden Carried in the Pocket
Read in a Single Sitting

5 thoughts on “Book: The Magicians of Caprona

  1. I’ve only read two Chrestomanci books, the two included in Chrestomanci Volume I – Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant. Chrestomanci has a big role to play in the former so you’ll have something to look forward to. 🙂 Funny, I just featured a DWJ book in my most recent Want Books post.

    • Awesome! I guess I’m going to have to look for A Charmed Life now.
      I used to see a lot of copies of the Pinhoe Egg at Fully Booked; it’s the last Chrestomanci book Miss Jones wrote. But for some reason, I can’t seem to find one nowadays. =(

    • Indeed!

      It’s a bit selfish on my part, but I really wish Miss Jones could’ve stayed in this earth for a bit longer so she could write more great novels for children, and the children-at-heart.

      Wherever she may be now, I hope she is at peace. =)

  2. Pingback: Book: The Pinhoe Egg | taking a break

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