Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Good, but not the best

Title: House of Many Ways
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 416
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
Series #: 3 of 3
Date Started: September 22, 2009
Date Finished: September 24, 2009

Rating: B+

Description (from Barnes & Noble): Charmain Baker is in over her head. Looking after Great-Uncle William's tiny cottage while he's ill should have been easy. But Great-Uncle William is better known as the Royal Wizard Norland, and his house bends space and time. Its single door leads to any number of places—the bedrooms, the kitchen, the caves under the mountains, the past, and the Royal Mansion, to name just a few.

By opening that door, Charmain has become responsible for not only the house, but for an extremely magical stray dog, a muddled young apprentice wizard, and a box of the king's most treasured documents. She has encountered a terrifying beast called a lubbock, irritated a clan of small blue creatures, and wound up smack in the middle of an urgent search. The king and his daughter are desperate to find the lost, fabled Elfgift—so desperate that they've even called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, can the Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer be far behind?

Of course, with that magical family involved, there's bound to be chaos—and unexpected revelations.

No one will be more surprised than Charmain by what Howl and Sophie discover.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lucky for me, the description from Barnes & Noble pretty much says it all. The only problem with the last book in the Howl series is Charmain. I really had a hard time liking her. Spoiled, selfish, and ignorant, Charmain is a royal pain. She does improve as the story continues, learning lessons in humility and selflessness, but it takes a while, which makes it hard to get through the beginning of the book. Once she does start learning not to be so self-centered, the book's pace picks up, and it's a much easier read from then on.

It was a good book overall, but it didn't live up to the other two Howl books. B+

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