The Reluctant Listener: Charmed Life

reluctantlistenerIt’s mostly a coincidence that my next audiobook to talk about is Charmed Life, the first in the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones. However, some of my impetus for beginning the Reading Notes series was a desire to re-read books by favorite authors. And I listened to this audiobook for much the same reason.

In terms of the audiobook itself, this is a nice one. Gerard Doyle does a great job of providing the narration and doing the voices for different characters; I can’t remember any that I felt he had gotten wrong and he does an especially nice job with Chrestomanci. This is also a nice length book, long enough to be satisfying, but not so long that details start to fade. (I listen to audiobooks in the car, which means I listen in 35-minute chunks.)

In terms of the actual story, I found that this is one I expected to enjoy more than I actually did. I forgot, I think, that I like Chrestomanci in the abstract, but find him slightly insufferable in reality. And this one has a higher-than-usual Awfulness quotient, or at least that’s how it seemed to me this time. Poor Cat clearly is looking at things all wrong, but the central issue really isn’t fixed for almost the entire book.

That being said, I do really enjoy Cat and Janet, and Chrestomanci’s castle too. So all in all, this was a somewhat mixed bag–excellent in terms of technical execution, but perhaps not the book I really wanted it to be.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Reluctant Listener: Charmed Life

  1. Charmed Life was my first DWJ and I’ll always be fond of it for that reason. You’re right about the awfulness quotient, but somehow that never bothered me over much. I think it might be different when actually hearing it read out loud.

    • Maureen Eichner

      You may have a point there! I was trying to figure out why I was so much more bothered with Charmed Life than with Dark Lord of Derkholm, which is probably more Awful. And I am fond of it, because I do like several of the characters, but I seem to be fonder in memory than I am in reality.

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