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His father and uncles are enchanters, his mother a powerful sorceress, yet nothing seems magical about Christopher Chant except his dreams. Night after night, he climbs through the formless Place Between and visits marvelous lands he calls the Almost Anywheres. Then Christopher discovers that he can bring real, solid things back from his dreams. Others begin to recognize the extent of his powers, and they issue an order that turns Christopher's life upside down: Go to Chrestomanci Castle to train to be the controller of all the world's magic.

The Lives of Christopher Chant is the adventure-filled story of the boyhood of Chretomanci, the famous magician who also appears in Charmed Life, Witch Week, and The Magicians of Caprona.

Topics: Witches

Published: HarperCollins on Mar 17, 2009
ISBN: 9780061756818
List price: $6.99
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The author's pleasure in this book is almost tangible. Her idiosyncratic hero gets a back story that is of the same flavour as the books about the adult Chrestomanci. There is nothing complex here but the book is not mere fluff.read more
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A thoroughly enjoyable book! I am reading them in the order that Diana Wynne Jones recommended which is: Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant, Conrad's Fate, Witch Week, The Magicians of Caprona and the Pinhoe Egg. I liked this one better than Charmed Life. Somehow it held together better. The characters fit together and played off each other in a more believable way. It makes me want to read more in the series.read more
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I never read the Chrestomanci books as a child, having been put off them by Witch Week - I'm not saying that it's not a good book, either, just that its depiction of a child who doesn't fit in at school was too on the nose to read for pleasure.This book, though, explores the world of Chrestomanci beautifully, and I really really enjoyed the parallel-world set-up, the imagination of it all, and also the character arcs are nicely done. It's an odd theme for a children's book, the idea that people use each other, and sometimes this is a terrible thing, and sometimes people need to allow themselves to be used - that is to say, Christopher's powers as a nine-lived enchanter give him a duty to help - and it gives a distinctly adult tinge to the book, which may be why I enjoyed so much, even if I never did read it at seven or whenever it was that I didn't read Witch Week. I really throughly enjoyed it.read more
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The author's pleasure in this book is almost tangible. Her idiosyncratic hero gets a back story that is of the same flavour as the books about the adult Chrestomanci. There is nothing complex here but the book is not mere fluff.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A thoroughly enjoyable book! I am reading them in the order that Diana Wynne Jones recommended which is: Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant, Conrad's Fate, Witch Week, The Magicians of Caprona and the Pinhoe Egg. I liked this one better than Charmed Life. Somehow it held together better. The characters fit together and played off each other in a more believable way. It makes me want to read more in the series.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I never read the Chrestomanci books as a child, having been put off them by Witch Week - I'm not saying that it's not a good book, either, just that its depiction of a child who doesn't fit in at school was too on the nose to read for pleasure.This book, though, explores the world of Chrestomanci beautifully, and I really really enjoyed the parallel-world set-up, the imagination of it all, and also the character arcs are nicely done. It's an odd theme for a children's book, the idea that people use each other, and sometimes this is a terrible thing, and sometimes people need to allow themselves to be used - that is to say, Christopher's powers as a nine-lived enchanter give him a duty to help - and it gives a distinctly adult tinge to the book, which may be why I enjoyed so much, even if I never did read it at seven or whenever it was that I didn't read Witch Week. I really throughly enjoyed it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wow, this was an excellent book. Christopher Chant is a little boy with nine lives. Because of his nine lives he can travel effortlessly between the Related (and many unrelated) Worlds, and he also happens to be a powerful sorcerer. In spite of his power, however, Christopher's life is constrained by the people around him, all of whom seem to want to manipulate him to some purpose. There's his mother, who wants him to enter Society, his father, who seeks to live vicariously by making Christopher the next Chrestomanci, and his uncle, who manipulates Christopher into smuggling rare artifacts between the Worlds. As Christopher's choices are made for him, the only ones who understand are the Living Asheth, the girl vessel of a vengeful Goddess, and Throgmorton, an extremely grumpy temple cat. There's plenty of straightforward adventure in this book, as well as good coming of age story. Christopher and the people around him could sometimes be annoyingly dense about each other, but the thing that set this book apart was that, dense as he could be, everything about Christopher was explained. We see his development from the beginning and it's clear that, really, things couldn't have happened differently. And in spite of that, the book ends with an affirmation of choice over fate. And it works. This is definitely the best fantasy I've read in a long time, and I will definitely be following the rest of the series. Highly recommended!
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This Diana Wynne Jones book has an intriguing title: we are used to The Lives of the Caesars (where more than one person is involved) or, on the other extreme, The Life of Brian (which is about just one person). The Lives of Christopher Chant reflects the notion that one person can have, like a cat, more than one life. This notion is an old one, from the transmigration of the soul to the Russian folk-villain Koshchei, whose external soul is hidden away in one object enclosed within another, and so on; most recently the concept has become familiar from the Horcruxes within which Harry Potter's nemesis hides pieces of his soul, but The Lives of Christopher Chant just predates Rowling's series.Christopher Chant's ownership of nine lives makes him something special in the world into which he is born, but it is a destiny which he is reluctant to inherit. He discovers he is a nine-lifed enchanter, with the ability to move between parallel universes (Related Worlds in the terminology of the book). Like many another Chosen One he finds he is a de facto orphan (his parents show little interest in or care for him, rather like Diana's own parents) but also that the fate of the established order is threatened unless he can assume his responsibilities (when all he wants to do is to have friends of his own age and to play cricket). What child really wants to have responsibilities, let alone their world's future fate, resting on their shoulders?Christopher's response is, of course, to eventually respond appropriately, though his sudden maturity and ability to command after a long period of petulance is the only weak point in the plotting. Other than that this is a wonderfully engrossing read, shot through with humour, memorable characters and, yes, intimations of mortality, set in a period with a late Victorian feel but which is obviously contemporary with our own world in the late 20th century (when Christopher briefly visits it and finds himself caught up in the horror of modern traffic). Concepts, puns, childish whimsies, fairy-tales, observations on the absurdities of social conventions, these and other archetypal Jones motifs appear in their usual profusion to make this simultaneously an easy read but one which remains in the memory.
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I thought this book was great. I read it in about a day and a half. This book is about a boy who feels that everyone seems to be trying to dicide what he is going to be. You can guess what is going to happen but it is still a great book.
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